Photo Courtesy of Jessica Nguyen
Where: Parallel Seventeen in Northeast Denver, 1600 E 17th Ave
When: Every day of the week, 9am-3pm
You’ve got to try: Inventive dishes like the Ginger + Coconut Encrusted Calamari with bottomless cocktails like the Lychee Bellini and a variety of mimosas from a shady table on their large, covered patio
The word “brunch” immediately brings to mind weekend indulgences, but at Parallel Seventeen, Chef Mary Nguyen’s Vietnamese-French fusion bistro, you can enjoy a brunch filled with crisp veggies, imaginative flavor combinations and all the sweet, spicy and salty flavors of Asian cuisine any day of the week. From spring rolls and pho to beignets and stuffed French toast, this brunch is an eclectic collection of unexpected dishes that push brunch beyond just a weekend treat and transforms it into a global culinary adventure.
If you’re feeling intimidated by the prospect of Asian fusion, opt for the 3 Course Menu available during brunch to get acquainted with this restaurant’s unique offerings. For $20, you can choose one small plate, one large plate and one dessert from a selection of dishes.
Though many menu items change seasonally, one dish that is a Parallel Seventeen customer favorite and is available on the 3 course menu is the Ginger + Coconut Encrusted Calamari. A stand out among the calamari I’ve had around town for both its flavor and combination of textures, this dish comes with battered and fried calamari over peppery arugula and crisp pieces of fresh pear along with tempura-fried jalapenos for a spicy bite and my favorite component, thin slices of tempura-fried orange and lemon (peel intact) for an unexpectedly savory-citrus effect. The dish is topped with a sweet chili sauce and toasted coconut which adds another layer of crunch. Though this dish has a lot going on, each element brings something special to your taste buds and the ingredients balance each other nicely.
If you are a pho addict (I am!), Parallel Seventeen offers their Northern Style Pho in three size options for brunch including a bottomless version ($17) if you just can’t get enough of the fragrant broth and tender noodles. Available with vegetable, chicken, or beef (as well as the option to add oxtail), the pho here comes with all of the expected accoutrements as well as bok choy, Chinese broccoli and carrots. While there are plenty of pho places packing seemingly every corner of Denver, it’s a treat to get a tasty version of this crave-able dish alongside your favorite brunch cocktails like a Bacon Bloody Mary, Mimosas with mango, cranberry, guava or strawberry, or the sweet and bubbly Lychee Bellini.
Parallel Seventeen also offers plenty of more traditional brunch items with a twist like the Stuffed French Toast with blueberries, walnuts and ricotta tucked inside slices of French bread and served with a five spice creme anglaise. For a healthy yet flavorful meal, try the Vermicelli Noodle Salad. Thin noodles are served under a bed of field greens, cucumbers, carrots, and mung bean sprouts and topped with crunchy toasted peanuts and sesame seeds along with your choice of chicken or crispy tofu as well as the option to add pork or vegetable Spring Rolls. The Nuoc Cham served alongside is a salty and addictive blend of fish sauce, chili sauce, garlic and green onion. The
P17 Chilaquiles, crispy corn tortillas layered with cannellini beans and cotija cheese and topped with crème friache, pickled red onions and sunny side eggs is a great example of the many Gluten-Free and Vegetarian options available at this eclectic eatery.
The selections here are plentiful and the portion size options are quite customizable, catering to both those who prefer smaller plates as well as the hungriest of brunchers. With menu items that inventively combine sweet, salty, spicy and savory flavors along with an attention to creating interesting textures, Parallel Seventeen’s brunch will challenge your taste buds’ expectations.