There is no greater pleasure in life than seeking out new spots and trying anything and everything that the kitchen puts in front of me. But there are also times when I want something cheap and quick -- something that I don't have to think about too much. And since I'm frequently stuffing my face with bacon and butter, I tend to gravitate toward healthy dishes that are delivered quickly and without pretense.
After this weekend, Pho Fusion makes that list.
Looking for a light dinner on Saturday night and unwilling to brave both the construction on Federal and the full experience of a sit-down meal, I headed up to 38th Avenue to give the fast-casual spot, which has a sibling restaurant that opened on Hampden Avenue in 2005, a shot.
A quirky, friendly counter attendant guided me through the Thai curries and Americanized Chinese specialties in addition to a handful of pho and noodle bowls. In the end, I made a meal of Vietnamese egg rolls -- which, delightfully, came with lettuce leaves and plenty of mint for wrapping -- lightly crisped (and not greasy) pot stickers and the Asian chicken salad.
My expectations for that salad weren't high -- they never are when I'm just eating raw vegetables -- but the melange of fresh cabbage, carrots, peanuts and tender shreds of chicken, doused in the same peppery and vinegary dressing that you'd dip your Vietnamese egg rolls in down on Federal, exceeded my expectations: The cheap, healthy and tasty meal admirably captured the Southeast Asian flavors I'd been after.
If it's real Vietnamese food (or real Thai curry) that I want, Pho Fusion is not where I'm going to head. But the restaurant's a good one to have in rotation when places like Chipotle and Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill just aren't doing it for me.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.