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Restaurant Peek: Vietnam Grill

admin | Restaurant Peek | Wednesday, 03 December 2008

1015 S. Federal Blvd. Denver, CO 80219
Tel: 303.936.5610

Open 7 days a week: 10am – 9pm, Lunch Specials Mon - Fri: 10am – 3pm

Vietnam Grill, a new restaurant nestled in a modest strip of tattered storefronts, is like a shiny beacon of culinary hope. Those familiar with the location may remember a Chinese restaurant that had inhabited the space for the past decade. Today, with the renovation and modern décor, the only remnants left is the layout of the cozy dining room, behind it the slightly exposed kitchen and curiously long hallway extending towards the back. Gone are the sticky floors and sullied walls; the room, now decorated in gorgeous hues and warm woods provides a clean urban feel.

Yen Lai, the owner, opened Vietnam Grill on October 11, 2008 with the help of her husband and dedicated family members, to fulfill her mother’s dream of running her own restaurant. Lai’s mother, Hanh, has been cooking in local Vietnamese restaurants for the past 16 years, and finally decided it was her time to shine. Lucky for us, because her massive menu of well-known favorites along with unfamiliar dishes is really good: tasty enough to draw Denver’s Vietnamese community, yet accessible enough to everyone else.

Menu items extend beyond the basic noodle bowls and spring rolls and include some traditional dishes, such as Bun Bo Hue, a spicy beef noodle soup with origins from the province of Hue. Another specialty is the Papaya Salad with Beef Jerky and Liver, the jerky of which is special ordered from Los Angeles.

For those seeking more mainstream options, try the house favorite Stuffed Chicken Wings. These mouth-watering wings are stuffed with a pork mixture of lemongrass, mushrooms and bean thread noodles, then fried to a golden crisp and served with fresh vegetables, soft vermicelli noodles and the signature Vietnamese fish sauce.

Another savory selection is the Hu tieu do bien, the seafood noodle soup. This steaming aromatic bowl is filled to the brim with a harmonizing mixture of rice noodles and egg noodles, complemented with a light broth. The seafood, consisting of mussels, shrimp, lump crab and squid is all delightfully fresh and cooked to a perfect consistency. The minimalistic approach of this dish allows patrons to adjust the flavor to their own palate with the condiments and spices available on the table in addition to the lime and fresh bean sprouts that accompany the soup.

And then you can’t go wrong with the Com dac biet, a combination plate with grilled shrimp, chicken, pork, beef and egg rolls, served with steamed or broken rice and topped off with a fried egg. The generous serving makes it ideal to share, which then lends room for dessert!

Highly recommended is the homemade Banh Flan, a crème-caramel-styled custard with just the right amount of sweetness to finish the meal. Also offered are many other Vietnamese dessert favorites such as grass jelly, 3-colored pudding and boba smoothies.

Vietnam Grill, a newcomer on the long list of Denver-area Vietnamese restaurants has really hit the sweet spot with their family-friendly prices, intimate atmosphere, pleasant service and unique menu.

Sample Menu
Vietnam Grill Appetizer Platter $16.95
Spring Rolls $3.50
Stuffed Chicken Wings
2 for $6.95
4 for $11.95

Grilled Pork Noodle Bowl $5.95
Spicy Beef Noodle Soup $6.95
Pho Noodle Soup
$5.50 regular
$6.50 large
Combination Plate $7.95
Seafood Hot Pot $10.95

By Perry Santanachote
Asian Avenue magazine

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