Vietnamese Noodle & Grill.
47 E. Beaver Creek Blvd., Christie Lodge building, Avon.
AVON — Part of any dining experience is appreciating how the food comes to you, and how good it is when it arrives.
The story behind Pho 20 is an amazing tale. The food is just as amazing.
Pho 20 is in Avon’s Christie Lodge building and opened about a month ago by Phuc Hoang Read. Her family has been preparing this type of cuisine for at least three generations.
“My father cooked very well,” she said.
Her father passed away when she was young, “but I remember it all,” she said. Before her father, her grandfather prepared pho (pronounced “phah” or “phuh”).
Their trip to Avon is one of those unbelievable tales.
Read was a small child when her family migrated from northern Vietnam to the south and opened a noodle factory. But before long, the war began to rage and they lost everything. She was still just a girl when she escaped South Vietnam in 1972, landing in a refugee camp. Eventually she made her way to the United States and Colorado.
The details are a little sketchy, but she met her husband in the United States. His tale is just as amazing.
He had served in the South Vietnamese Navy during the war. It was 1975 and the Americans announced they were pulling out. In April they did.
As the country collapsed around him and several of his friends, they knew they had to leave or die.
He was a helicopter pilot, so he loaded it up with people and flew it toward freedom — out to sea. Freedom takes fuel, though, and they ran out while flying over the ocean.
He landed the helicopter in the ocean as best he could and they floated away from the wreckage. An American ship rescued him and brought him to the U.S. He has been with General Electric in Colorado for 35 years, and the Centennial State is where they raised their children.
Read opened Pho 20 in Avon because her nephew also opened a business in Avon, and family matters.
Pho was first developed in the early 20th century in northern Vietnam, and now, luckily for us, it’s in Avon.
Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of beef or chicken broth, linguine-shaped rice noodles, a few herbs and meat. It is a popular street food in Vietnam and the specialty of a number of restaurant chains around the world. Pho is primarily served with either beef or chicken.
You don’t have to know how to eat it, you just have to know that it’s good.
Simply ask the staff what’s what and how it goes together. They’re delightfully good natured about all that. We spun the noodles around a fork like you would pasta, and it worked just fine. But then, they also give chopstick lessons for the chopstick-impaired.
Because it’s an economically priced, healthy comfort food, it’s also becoming popular. Like all good restaurants, that means on some nights you might have a bit of a wait to get a table, as the restaurant is still working out its staffing kinks. It’s worth the wait. That’s when it’s also good to know that take-out is always an option.
The highlight, though, is the spring rolls. The rice paper rolls are made fresh (home-cooking style) and use marinated pork instead of cold tasteless slabs of meat. The shrimp are generous and fresh as well.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vail daily.com.