First Look: Cho77 Will Wok South Broadway Starting Monday

Thai coconut curry with chicken breast is Cho77's version of khao soi, a dish from northern Thailand that contains soft-cooked noodles in the broth and crispy noodles as garnish. The dish is served in a stackable tiffin lunch box and includes lime, cilantro and pickled mustard greens.EXPAND
Thai coconut curry with chicken breast is Cho77's version of khao soi, a dish from northern Thailand that contains soft-cooked noodles in the broth and crispy noodles as garnish. The dish is served in a stackable tiffin lunch box and includes lime, cilantro and pickled mustard greens.
Mark Antonation

The wok has been fired up and the kitchen is ready to go for next Monday's highly anticipated opening of Cho77, chef and restaurateur Lon Symensma's tribute to Southeast Asian street food located in a long and narrow space on South Broadway.

Roaming across Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia (with side trips to China, Japan and the Philippines thrown in for good measure), Cho77's menu presents fluent translations of traditional dishes without burdening diners with unfamiliar names or ingredients. And rather than becoming bogged down in slavish mimicry, Cho77's kitchen pokes fun at foodie pretense by stuffing buffalo chicken and blue cheese into bao buns and slyly undermining ramen fanaticism by presenting the sole Japanese-inspired noodle bowl on the menu with a thoroughly American bacon, egg and cheese motif. Although intended as a playful joke aimed at early reports that Cho77 would be a ramen house, Symensma follows through with miso bacon, poached eggs and Parmesan broth.

Divided into sections of sharable plates and decidedly un-sharable noodle soups and wok dishes, the menu features both dainty sesame cups holding bite-sized portions of scallop ceviche at one end and a whole, roasted pig knuckle — intended for parties of three or more— with lettuce cup trappings (Asian slaw and Korean chili sauce) on the other. The kitchen confits whole chickens and uses the dark meat and skin in the bao buns and white meat in the Thai coconut curry, which chef de cuisine Ryan Gorby explains is an interpretation of a northern Thai and Burmese dish called khao soi, which he encountered at almost every food market on a fact-finding trip through Thailand.

A short list of "Happy Ending" desserts includes chocolate sticky rice pudding and Vietnamese coffee "affogato," while beverages draw from Southeast Asian tradition in the form of sweet pulled tea, Trung Nguyen brand Vietnamese coffee and boba tea. House cocktails are given Asian twists with tamarind, coconut, charred pineapple and lychee.

Among Symensma's biggest influences for the style and sensibilities of Cho77 is chef and cookbook author Robert Danhi, one of his former instructors at the Culinary Institute of America and now a close friend. Danhi's book, Southeast Asian Flavors, was a James Beard finalist for international cookbooks and Danhi was just in Cho77's kitchen for five days, helping dial in flavors and cooking techniques. 

Cho77's dining room is decked out in art and trinkets gathered during Symensma and Gorby's tour of Southeast Asia last fall. They also shipped home a bicycle food cart (which they bought from a street vendor) that's now mounted above the front door of the restaurant. Other touches include bathroom sinks made from steel woks, light strands similar to those above Vietnamese food markets and graffitied phrases on the walls in Thai and Vietnamese, one of which encourages guests to toast with "Mot hai ba, yo!"  — Vietnamese for "One, two, three, cheers!"

Cho77 will be open daily from 4 p.m. beginning Monday, March 30, with closing hours yet to be determined. Later summer hours are almost a certainty on weekends, with the possibility of takeout service from the window counter at the front of the restaurant. 

House-made steamed buns with buffalo chicken and Maytag blue cheese. Symensma says he's an Iowa boy, so he had to find room for the cheese on the menu.EXPAND
House-made steamed buns with buffalo chicken and Maytag blue cheese. Symensma says he's an Iowa boy, so he had to find room for the cheese on the menu.
Mark Antonation
Singapore-style red chile pork dumplings are topped with crispy challots and doused in a Chinese black vinegar and soy sauce dressing.EXPAND
Singapore-style red chile pork dumplings are topped with crispy challots and doused in a Chinese black vinegar and soy sauce dressing.
Mark Antonation
The crispy sesame cups are filled with Filipino-style scallop ceviche flavored with kaffir lime and topped with coconut cream.EXPAND
The crispy sesame cups are filled with Filipino-style scallop ceviche flavored with kaffir lime and topped with coconut cream.
Mark Antonation
Copper molds are dipped in rice-flour batter and then into hot oil to make the kratong tong cups for Cho77's scallop ceviche in sesame cups.EXPAND
Copper molds are dipped in rice-flour batter and then into hot oil to make the kratong tong cups for Cho77's scallop ceviche in sesame cups.
Mark Antonation
Vegetable samosas with cilantro yogurt sauce are Cho77's take on Thai curry puffs that migrated to Thailand from India.EXPAND
Vegetable samosas with cilantro yogurt sauce are Cho77's take on Thai curry puffs that migrated to Thailand from India.
Mark Antonation
Symensma's green papaya salad utilizes a house-made vegan "fish" sauce made with dried mushrooms for umami and seaweed for ocean-y flavor.EXPAND
Symensma's green papaya salad utilizes a house-made vegan "fish" sauce made with dried mushrooms for umami and seaweed for ocean-y flavor.
Mark Antonation
Symensma wanted a dish that captured South Broadway bar food sensibility. The result: bao buns stuffed with buffalo chicken that reflect the Asian theme of the restaurant without taking itself too seriously.EXPAND
Symensma wanted a dish that captured South Broadway bar food sensibility. The result: bao buns stuffed with buffalo chicken that reflect the Asian theme of the restaurant without taking itself too seriously.
Mark Antonation
Vietnamese "affogato." What looks like a glass of milk is actually frozen Greek yogurt, onto which Vietnamese coffee, complete with caramelized sweetened-condensed milk, is poured. Fried rice-flour lotus blossoms are traditional street fare.EXPAND
Vietnamese "affogato." What looks like a glass of milk is actually frozen Greek yogurt, onto which Vietnamese coffee, complete with caramelized sweetened-condensed milk, is poured. Fried rice-flour lotus blossoms are traditional street fare.
Mark Antonation
This mortar and pestle was shipped from Thailand for the express purpose of making green papaya salad.EXPAND
This mortar and pestle was shipped from Thailand for the express purpose of making green papaya salad.
Mark Antonation
Ryan Gorby is crushing it at Cho77.EXPAND
Ryan Gorby is crushing it at Cho77.
Mark Antonation
Symensma demonstrates the technique used to build a frothy head on teh terik, or pulled tea, a traditional beverage in Singapore and Malaysia.EXPAND
Symensma demonstrates the technique used to build a frothy head on teh terik, or pulled tea, a traditional beverage in Singapore and Malaysia.
Mark Antonation
Art that Symensma and chef de cuisine Ryan Gorby selected on their travels through Southeast Asia now adorns the walls at Cho77. Yokes that originally toted food products through busy markets now serve as plant hangers.EXPAND
Art that Symensma and chef de cuisine Ryan Gorby selected on their travels through Southeast Asia now adorns the walls at Cho77. Yokes that originally toted food products through busy markets now serve as plant hangers.
Mark Antonation
Red chairs in the dining room represent the red market stools many food peddlers provide for customers in Vietnam.EXPAND
Red chairs in the dining room represent the red market stools many food peddlers provide for customers in Vietnam.
Mark Antonation
The mural on the wall reads "mai pen rai," a Thai phrase that loosely translates to "relax" or "don't worry."EXPAND
The mural on the wall reads "mai pen rai," a Thai phrase that loosely translates to "relax" or "don't worry."
Mark Antonation
The long, narrow space is intended to evoke street hawker stalls.EXPAND
The long, narrow space is intended to evoke street hawker stalls.
Mark Antonation
Instead of the twenty or more glass styles that hold different beverages at ChoLon, Symensma says Cho77 only has three, a conscious choice to help convey a casual atmosphere.EXPAND
Instead of the twenty or more glass styles that hold different beverages at ChoLon, Symensma says Cho77 only has three, a conscious choice to help convey a casual atmosphere.
Mark Antonation
Tabletop napkin and chopstick caddies were shipped from Vietnam.EXPAND
Tabletop napkin and chopstick caddies were shipped from Vietnam.
Mark Antonation
Chef Lon Symensma's dad made this wooden Cho77 plaque.EXPAND
Chef Lon Symensma's dad made this wooden Cho77 plaque.
Mark Antonation
Symensma's father also built these wooden condiment caddies.EXPAND
Symensma's father also built these wooden condiment caddies.
Mark Antonation
Steamer baskets and kratong tong crackers are part of the Southeast Asian street-food theme.EXPAND
Steamer baskets and kratong tong crackers are part of the Southeast Asian street-food theme.
Mark Antonation
The steamer range oven has individual steam jets on which the baskets are seated.EXPAND
The steamer range oven has individual steam jets on which the baskets are seated.
Mark Antonation
Bathroom sinks are fashioned from repurposed steel woks.EXPAND
Bathroom sinks are fashioned from repurposed steel woks.
Mark Antonation
Use Current Location

Related Location

miles
Cho77

42 S. Broadway
Denver, CO 80209

720-638-8179

www.cho77.com


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >