To the Top, With a Bullet

In the Best of Denver 2007, Jason Sheehan named Ha Noi "The Best Taste of Hanoi," saying this: "If you're from Vietnam, this is comfort food. If you're not, it's a fantastic education in the less common flavors of Southeast Asia. Gelatinized duck's blood, fishscale mint, sawgrass and other, even less recognizable ingredients are pretty much par for the course at Ha Noi Pho, but you'll be amazed at how quickly a brave heart, a strong stomach and an adventurous palate can be made to feel right at home. Although service can be a bit standoffish, once you get the owners, cooks or servers talking, the place becomes as friendly as any other neighborhood joint -- whether in Denver or Hanoi."

This particular joint looked decidely less welcoming on November 14, however, when it became the site of a lunch-time shoot-out between a would-be robber and two plainclothes Denver police officers, who happened to be lunching there. Three diners were injured in the melee, and for a day, the restaurant was cordoned off by police tape.

But on Friday, it was business as usual at Ha Noi, which was back to serving up the town's Best Taste of Hanoi -- complete with gelatinized duck's blood. -- Patricia Calhoun

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