As I ferreted out Chinese restaurants for this week's story about authentic Chinese eats in Denver, I was most excited to drop into Hasu Asian Bistro, a restaurant that once served an amalgamation of Asian dishes in a subterranean space in Cherry Creek North. Hasu focused on sushi, but from afar I'd followed reports that touted the spot's Chinese food, and I was most excited about the spicy ma po tofu, one of my favorite Sichuan dishes, and crossing-the-bridge noodles, a dish so integral to Yunnan that there are shops in that region that serve it and nothing else.
But when I dropped by a week and a half ago to taste the shop's regional specialties, I was greeted by a new sign — Hasu Sushi and Grill — and the unwelcome news that the Chinese menu had been discontinued.
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"It was a lot of ingredients and we could not afford it anymore," owner Hui Ma told me. "Before, people came in for Chinese, but now everyone comes in for sushi." And so the kitchen decided to focus on that, plus other Japanese specialties, like gyoza dumplings and tempura.
Before crossing over to Japanese food, Ma, a transplant from northeastern China, owned East Asia Garden, a now-defunct Chinese restaurant on Broadway. And she concedes that someday, maybe she'll dabble in Chinese food again. But for now, she's sticking to this.