Monday, June 23, 2014

Restaurant review - Pho Fusion in NW Denver

I have never written a negative restaurant review. I began writing restaurant reviews about two years or so ago when I decided that I wanted to brag about the places we love where we live and the places we discovered while traveling. Last year I decided to expand and started going to restaurants that I perceived as vegan-friendly and reviewing them.

Just in case this is your first time reading my blog here is important information on my review process: I have to have dined at the restaurant at least three times (I haven't always stuck to this, especially when traveling, but I do believe it's important to not review a restaurant based on one visit) and my review is based on incredible vegan food and amazing service.

Pho Fusion is an Asian restaurant on the way home from my work. I have dropped in a few times over the years. I have never been impressed with the food but dropped by once again recently out of pure convenience. I was in charge of dinner and had no clue, so just dropped in.

I have learned that Pho Fusion is Vietnamese cuisine. I learned this because once again when asking for vegan options I ended up speaking with someone who should not be in customer service, or who should have an owner-approved, kind message that lets folks know that they do not wish to have vegan customers.

I get it. I don't expect that every restaurant wants our business.

I was told that Asian cuisine was not vegan friendly in general after making the statement that I wished their menu was more vegan friendly. After my reply, the gentleman clarified that perhaps it was just Vietnamese cuisine that was not vegan friendly.

I should add that this guy was done with me the second I said that I did not want to order the two choices he gave me: hot and sour soup and fried rice (done vegan for me). I wanted dinner!

After acknowledging that the tofu they serve is vegan, and conferring with someone in the kitchen, he told me I could order the pad Thai with tofu. Done. I paid, tipped him (crazy, but I live up to the gay stereotype of being good tippers and I know I need to work on that) and waited for my to go order.

You can see where this is going. Well maybe not. I got my order, left, arrived home, told Mike how infuriated I was with this gentleman at Pho Fusion, and then we ate.

The vegan version of their pad Thai was delicious. We both enjoyed it. As I finished mine I realized there was a piece of chicken it, and as much as I dislike that I know mistakes happen in busy kitchens.

The bottom line for me is that kindness rules. If you cannot be kind to a customer then reconsider your employment in a job that puts you in front of people all of the time. And from a restaurant owner/manager perspective, if you don't want to offer vegan cuisine that's fine. Just say so. Let folks know that.

I would recommend to the folks at Pho Fusion that they incorporate a couple of vegan dishes, entrees, to their menu. They obviously have people in the kitchen who rock at making delicious vegan food.

I'm sure at this point of the post you are ready for the review. Here it is.

I won't go back to Pho Fusion. If I ever hear that they have embraced the idea of serving vegan food with a hassle then I might try it again. The deal for me is that there are so many restaurants that gladly and enthusiastically serve delicious vegan food that with better planning on my part there is simply no need to go to Pho Fusion again.

Thanks for reading.


  1. You were much kinder than many would be! Did you see the story on Jezebel about the tapas bar in Chicago?

  2. Thanks for reading Kim. Unkindness doesn't go very far. I didn't see the story but will check it out.

  3. I'm sorry you were treated that way. I just posted about a place here in Portland called Pho Green Papaya, which is wonderful and has a small but varied vegan section on the menu. It can be done! Of course we know that! I like to ask new-to-me places if they have something for vegans, and if they make funny faces and seem uncomfortable with my request, I smile and leave politely. I might go back a few months later and try again. By leaving I've told them that they've lost my business. If a lot of us do that, maybe more places will decide we're worth considering when they come up with a new menu.