Q:I have a friend who just moved to Denver from San Francisco and is looking for a Cambodian restaurant. Can you point her in the right direction?
A:Sorry, Denver has yet to land its first Cambodian spot. Too bad, because the coastal country knows what to do with fish, and given Cambodias proximity to Vietnam and Laos, grilled meats and fresh vegetables are crucial to its cuisine. The only Cambodian restaurant Ive ever encountered was in San Francisco, and while I dont remember its name, I do remember what I ate there: a sweet, succulent, citrus-scented squid that had been poached in a mixture of vinegar, tamarind and lemongrass.
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The closest Denver comes to Cambodia would be at Vientiane Garden (7113 Sheridan Boulevard, Westminster, 303-429-4462), a Vietnamese and Thai eatery with Laotian leanings. Theres more seafood on this menu than youll find at many area Asian restaurants, and some dishes, such as the chilled salad of shrimp, squid and mussels in a dressing of raw onion, lime and spearmint leaves, carry the fresh focus of Cambodian food.