And before I discovered Pho Duy on South Federal, I stumbled upon one of its offspring when I was trolling neighborhoods around Boulder for a passable Vietnamese noodle joint, trying to scratch the very irritating itch left after eating pho a couple of times a week in the ethnic neighborhoods of Los Angeles and New York.
At some point in my quest, a friend directed me to Pho Duy 6 in Broomfield, 6600 West 120th Avenue, a high-ceilinged spot with gilded decor and loud Vietnamese pop music that occupies a sizable space in an Asian mini-mall in Broomfield. The restaurant shares a name with the original Pho Duy, but it doesn't share an owner: Duy Nguyen's brother oversees this suburban outpost, and he runs a very different kind of restaurant.
Sadly, the pho at Pho Duy 6 is inferior, with a broth that lacks the deep, savory essence of the original, trading in that complexity for a slightly sweet characteristic. Still, the rest of the mammoth menu makes up for the lackluster pho. I'm partial to the bun dac biet, a tuft of springy rice noodles, smoky strips of grilled pork, crispy egg rolls and plump shrimp atop cucumbers and greens, even if I need to add plenty of red chili paste and the entire cup of sour, savory nuoc cham that comes on the side.
A few weeks ago, I tried the bun bo Hue, a central Vietnamese dish that starts with beef broth enlivened with spicy red chiles and the citrusy, woody bite of lemongrass. That base is filled with thick rice noodles, meaty braised oxtail, strips of beef, chewy pig's knuckles -- and a generous quantity of gelatinous cubes of congealed pig's blood, which are earthy and tinged slightly with the taste of iron. While not for the faint of heart, that dish -- as complex as the pho is not -- is rib-stickingly satisfying, and well worth fighting the gag reflex to sample.