Mouthing Off

Saigon Terrace (reviewed this issue) isn't Denver's only worthy Vietnamese restaurant, of course. New Saigon (650 South Federal Boulevard) continues to turn out literally hundreds of excellent dishes (including several variations on frog legs); even when the kitchen's hopping, the waitstaff keeps its cheerful cool. Other notable Vietnamese eateries include New Orient (10203 East Iliff Avenue in Aurora), which features some weird and wonderful twists on traditional Vietnamese fare; the even weirder Rose's (731 Quebec Street), which also offers Italian and American dishes (and good ones at that!); the fancy and sometimes snooty Little Saigon (201 Steele Street); T-Wa Inn (555 South Federal Boulevard), Denver's very first Vietnamese eatery; the cute, homey Saigon Palace (3495 South Broadway) and Cafe Saigon (9400 West Colfax Avenue in Lakewood), one of the best ethnic things to happen to this restaurant-challenged suburb.

Not as consistent but still worth checking out are Kim Ba (2495 South Havana in Aurora), Thai Hiep (333 South Federal and 2690 East County Line Road in Highlands Ranch) and Viet Nam Inn (6510 South Broadway).

Sadly, one of my personal favorites, Tay Do (2350 South Chambers Road in Aurora), is no more. Although the food was way above average, the location -- it was tucked behind a Pizza Hut in a meaningless plaza at the chaotic intersection of Iliff and Chambers -- was a loser. On a happier note, Thuy Hoa fans who don't think the Chez Thuy Hoa at 1600 California Street is as good as the one that closed two years ago at 1361 Court Place have another option: Thuy Hoa of Evergreen, at 28080 Douglas Park Road. It's not as convenient, but the food is worth the drive. While her son, Alan Wallace, handles the business end of things, Thuy Hoa herself does all of the cooking at the Evergreen outlet, hopping downtown periodically to check on things there.

Mark your calendars: LoDo doesn't have any Vietnamese restaurants -- the fusion-Asian at Restaurant 1515 Market (1515 Market Street) comes closest -- but food from there and sixteen other eateries will be on hand at the second annual Taste of LoDo on May 18. Tickets are $28 in advance ($30 that day) and buy you not only tastings, but a Hazel Miller performance at the Soiled Dove, 1849 Market Street. Proceeds go to the Lower Downtown District and the Hospitality Association of Lower Downtown; for information call 303-628-5428.

Another good cause is an incredibly good deal. The 23rd Annual Claws for a Cause, which benefits the Colorado SIDS Program, is selling steaks (eight-ounce filet mignons from Colorado's Maverick Ranch Natural Meats for $10 each) and lobsters (fresh 1 1/4-pound New England lobsters for an amazing $15 each). The deadline for orders is May 12; the goods will be available for pickup on May 20. Call 303-320-6065.