With an already vast collection of Vietnamese restaurants in Colorado, anyone new to the Southeastern Asian food scene may struggle standing out. At One Vietnamese Restaurant in Westminster, its modern spin on traditionally prepared Vietnamese cuisine puts this spot on the map.
On August 1, this updated Vietnamese eatery half encased with floor to ceiling windows, crisp white walls and a modern aesthetic opened in the shopping center right off US 36. One Vietnamese is owned by husband and wife duo, Oanh and Thanh Do. Since Oanh’s name is pronounced like one, they cleverly used that as inspiration for their new restaurant. Although this may be their first spot with a namesake, Oanh and Thanh are no stranger to serving Vietnamese comfort food in the Northern Denver area.
Having previously owned the Vietnamese Café in Thornton from 1999 to 2017, they decided to open a new spot that would cater to the younger generation. Oanh’s son, who is one of three, mentioned that all the other Vietnamese restaurants in the area serve the same food they can get at home. This led her to think outside the box when crafting the new menu for One Vietnamese. Oanh and her sister, who has been a chef for the past 40 years, chose to put a modern twist on traditional Southeastern Asian cuisine. They both wanted to have a place that serves more than just hot bowls of pho.
Oanh’s 30 years of preparing and serving food was put to the test when revamping a classic menu. The Traditional Vietnamese Egg Rolls ($9) and Lotus Stem Salads ($12) are usually found on similar Asian inspired menus but it’s the Mango Calamari Salad ($11) and Westy Trio ($10)—equipped with crispy pork egg rolls, fried dumplings and fried wontons that shake up the appetizer section.
According to Oanh, Vietnamese food is classically prepared more on the salty side so in order to make this cuisine palatable to her new diners, she lightened the salt but kept it traditionally seasoned with flares of spice.
The four-page menu is quite hefty with a number of entrées and Asians flavored beverages to chose from. Making your way through this menu can be a daunting task luckily there are simple dishes for those diners that are unfamiliar with Vietnamese food. The Tenderloin Udon Noodles ($15) are unique to One Vietnamese Restaurant. You may find these traditional Japanese style beef cubes tossed in a black pepper garlic sauce but simply adding thick udon noodles provides a new flavor to the tender beef.
The rice paper wraps at One Vietnamese Restaurant are one of a kind— highlighting the marriage of salty and sweet in this fried dish. On the sweeter side, the Sugar Cane Shrimp Wrap ($17) has shrimp paste wrapped in sugar cane and fried. Sweet flavors like mango, honey and sugar cane are common when used to flavor shrimp dishes but because these sugar cane wraps are fried it adds a light caramelized crunch to the coating of the salty shrimp paste.
Along the same lines of sweeter dishes, the Pineapple Curry Fried Rice ($11) elevates the use of sweet pineapple and curry to create a sweet and savory fried rice that becomes the star of the menu. This sweetened fried rice is perfectly balanced by the cumin and turmeric from the curry— a combination that adds creativity to an otherwise typical fried rice dish.
If you aren’t too familiar with how to traditionally eat a Vietnamese egg roll, this restaurant is the place to learn. Oanh expressed that the popular egg roll dish is accompanied by fresh cilantro, bean sprouts, steamed white rice and homemade chili garlic fish sauce. The crispy egg roll should be eaten pig in a blanket style all wrapped up in fresh vegetables and add some chili garlic fish sauce just light enough to add a spicy bite to your roll.
The food menu is packed with over 60 different entrées and the drink list mirrors that with its extensive options. One Vietnamese offers a full bar, bubbly boba drinks, Vietnamese iced coffee, fresh Mangonadas and a citrusy kumquat coconut water to accompany each meal.
If the large portions happen to leave room for dessert, One Vietnamese offers a creamy Macadamia Cheesecake ($7). This dessert has macadamia cookie inspiration written all over it. Each thick bite of cream cheese is countered by crunchy macadamia nuts, soft graham cracker crust and drizzles of strawberry sauce.
Not only do the dishes go against the norm but so does the restaurant’s design with its twist on traditional Vietnamese restaurants in Colorado. The contemporary atmosphere is a nod to the modern menu. One Vietnamese is brightly lit with pops of bright green and teal colors, mini bamboo plants adorning every counter and soothing spa-like music.
Aside from the calming atmosphere, it is apparent that One Vietnamese’s guests are enjoying their pho by the sounds of loud slurps echoing from large steamy bowls and the long pauses between conversations to munch on crispy egg rolls. Each table has a Lucky Buddha soy sauce bottle that smiles back at you while you bite into the delicious buttery and crispy garlic calamari or shrimp.
If you’re in the neighborhood, opt-out of dining at a simple chain restaurant and spice up your palate with some delicious Vietnamese food.
One Vietnamese Restaurant is located at 8767 Sheridan Blvd., Westminster. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
All Photography by Brandon Johnson.
Editor’s note: a previous version of this article incorrectly stated the restaurant’s location. It is technically in Westminster not in Arvada. The article has been updated accordingly.