100 Favorite Dishes: Ca ri chay from New Saigon

100 Favorite Dishes: Ca ri chay from New Saigon
Lori Midson

As a countdown to the Best of Denver 2010, coming April 1, Cafe Society is serving up, in no particular order, a hundred of our favorite dishes in Denver. Send your own nominations to cafe@westword.com.

Number 33: Cà ri chay from New Saigon

We're not sure when New Saigon starting selling beef jerky out of bins, or, for that matter, to-go Vietnamese waffles in plastic containers, but there they are, in the back of the restaurant, right by the kitchen door that swings open and shut in rapid succession.

There's rarely ever a lull at this Vietnamese stalwart that's been slinging everything from pho to bun since 1987. The voluminous menu hustles more than 250 dishes, which means that it's all too easy spend far too much time in a tattered booth practicing your pronunciation of "cuu zao sa ot," while pissing off the sometimes surly servers who don't have the time or patience for your dalliance. They push, they prod, and they occasionally walk away shaking their heads in exasperation when you've exhausted your time limit.

But every so often, you get a friendly server who's anxious to chat about the weather and share his recommendations, like the ca ri chay, a metal fire pot bubbling with a mellow yellow coconut curry swamped with slices of tofu and vegetables -- sweet potatoes, broccoli, straw mushrooms, baby corn, squash and carrots -- and torpedoed with crushed peanuts, that turned out to be one of the most shockingly delicious vegetarian dishes you can imagine.

Hungry for more? The dishes in our countdown thus far are linked below:

No. 100 Chicken-fried steak from Lola No. 99 Alaskan reindeer sausage from Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs No. 98 Mac-and-cheese fries from Jonesy's EatBar No. 97 Soft egg ravioli from Prima No. 96 Pho - any pho -- from Pho 95 No. 95 Assiette de charcuterie maison from Z Cuisine À Côté No. 94: Cheeseburger from Larkburger No. 93: BBQ Masher from Cabin Creek Smokehouse No. 92: Apple pancake from the Original Pancake House No. 91: Burrata from Osteria Marco No. 90: Eggs Benedict from Devil's Food Bakery No. 89: Chile Relleno from La Fiesta No. 88: Deviled eggs from Steuben's No. 87: Corn-in-a-cup from Jack-n- Grill No. 86: Enchiladas from Taco House No. 85: Pupusas from Pupusas Sabor Hispano No. 84: Baklava from Ali Baba Grill No. 83: Masa-fried oyster shooters from Deluxe No. 82: Tacos al pastor from Los Carboncitos No. 81: Salsa bar from Tacos Y Salsas No. 80: Dim Sum from Star Kitchen No. 79: Green chile cheeseburger from Cherry Cricket No. 78: Fries from Encore No. 77: Shanghai-style dumplings from Chopsticks China Bistro No. 76: Chile relleno burrito from El Taco de Mexico No. 75: Fish fry from GB Fish and Chips No. 74: Posole from Tarasco's No. 73: Sausage, ham and egg biscuit from Table 6 No. 72: Bacon flight from the Berkshire No. 71: Tasty Treats from Gaetano's No. 70: French dip from Udi's No. 69: Panang curry from US Thai Cafe No. 68: Pineapple upside-down pancake from Snooze No. 67: Saag paneer from India's No. 66: Udon noodle bowl from Bones No. 65: Grilled corn soup from Lola No. 64: Sesame pockets from Lee's Garden No. 63: Whiskey-braised beef from Steuben's No. 62: House special from Viet's No. 61: Sultan Combo from Phoenician Kabob No. 60: Cake and a shake from D Bar Desserts No. 59: Caprese salad from Gaia Bistro No. 58: Fried chicken from Tom's Home Cookin' No. 57: Molcajete a la Mexicana from El Paraiso No. 56: Corned beef hash from Argyll Gastropub No. 55: Aye Conyo from Buchi Café Cubano No. 54: Fig n' pig flatbread pizza from Encore No. 53: Toro sashimi from Sushi Den No. 52: Spinach pinwheels from Virgilio's No. 51: Chicken-fried steak from the Breakfast King No. 50: Hot dog with hot sauce from from the Old Fashioned Italian Deli No. 49: Adobada gordita from Tacos Y Salsas No. 48: Curried Indian mussels from Argyll Gastropub No. 47. Pasta carbonara from Fruition No. 46: Amarena cherries and chocolate from Sketch No. 45: Aloo gosht salin from the British Bulldog No. 44: Head cheese from Olivea No. 43: Braised pork belly ramen noodle bowl from Den Deli No. 42: Lemon cheesecake from L'Atelier No. 41: Croissant with Asiago and prosciutto from Buffalo Doughboy Bakery No. 40: Prosciutto eggs Benedict from Panzano No. 39: Double cheeseburger from Bud's Bar No. 38: Calabacitas pupusas from Tambien No. 37: Lamb shank from Mecca Grill No. 36: Beignets from Lucile's Creole Cafe No. 35: Jaam-bong from Karma Asian No. 34: Beef cheeks from Squeaky Bean


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