Though it just opened Friday, this unpretentious Cambodian sandwich joint is already packing 'em in, as evinced by lines ten-deep stretching out the door. (It seems the place is closed today as the owners figure out how to keep up.) We popped in last week before the rush and were immediately won over by their hearty-but-not-too-filling coconut tiger shrimp sandwich with toasted coconut flakes ($7.50). We also hear the peppercorn catfish sandwich ($7.25) and the grilled duroc honey glazed pork ($6.75) sandwiches are worth the wait.
The bi-level restaurant, a spinoff of Kampuchea Restaurant on the LES, features a small downstairs counter/open kitchen for placing orders and, up a spiral staircase, a casual upstairs dining room where you repair with your meal. The Num Pang, the Cambodian term for "bread" or "sandwich," are made with freshly toasted semolina flour baguette, with a signature chili mayo and house-made pickles on the side. (Note, the pickles have raw peppers and are extremely spicy.) 21 East 12th Street, between University Place and Fifth Avenue; (212) 529-3901.
La Carbonara: This new Italian restaurant near the Meatpacking District promises a return to sanity when it comes to price points; co-owner Enrico Malta tells Grub Street, "I’m serving food at prices I was doing fifteen years ago!" On the other hand, the portion sizes are modest because Malta doesn't "want to see a big portion of pasta coming out—it’s going to be like they do in Italy. They’re not half-portions but they’re not overly bastardized, overwhelming American portions." Oh well, according to the menu, at least you're not paying through the nose; Farfalle with Salmon and Peas in a Pink Cream Sauce runs $9.95, and Pork Scaloppine Saltimbocca with Prosciutto, Spinach and Roasted Potatoes costs $13.95. Located in the space formerly occupied by Primitivo, the space affects a clean, rustic look, with hardwood floors, antique light fixtures, and easygoing earth tones. (Photos here.) 202 West 14th Street, (212) 255-2060.
Tonda: The East Village gastropub E.U. has been reborn as the super-thin crust Neapolitan-style pizzeria Tonda. Starting tonight, over twenty varieties of individual pies will be churned out by Tonda's 8 foot wide wood-burning oven, which is equipped with a stone pivot, meaning "the pies will only need to rotate once to be perfectly cooked," according to oven builder Nobile Attie. And Tonda's website promises the "crusts will be consistently thin and crisp-charred given the 1000 degree temperature maintained within the oven... 'Maestro Pizzaiolo' Michele Sceral of Naples has been flown in to debut an authentic menu," which also includes small plates, salads, and dessert. 235 East 4th Street, at Avenue B; (212) 254-2900.