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Side dish: "Sushi badass" comes to town 

Re-enter the dragon

You may recall a certain "sushi badass" I wrote about in early 2011 who goes by Mr. Lee. (See "The madness of Mr. Lee," Jan. 20.) At the time, the South Korean native, who's worked everywhere from San Francisco to Denver, was slinging fish at Pueblo's Sushi Garden.

Good news for Colorado Springs residents: He's now at the helm of Sushi O Sushi (3643 Star Ranch Road, 576-9830), which opened in late July in a former Quiznos location. Manager Keith May says Lee is serving an Asian fusion menu that includes Korean plates as well as traditional Japanese entrées and, of course, loads of sushi.

May describes "rare fish flown in from Japan overnight," and I think of the black porgy he introduced me to at Sushi Garden. Don't be surprised when this man slides you a fish with its head still on — this is not your average sashimi stop.

Pho: get about it

When 22-year-old Linh Thach and her 26-year-old husband Hieu Luu decided to open a Vietnamese restaurant, helped by Thach's father, they opted to narrow their competition. That meant commuting from Denver to open Pho Luu (548-8909) in the former Shanghai Chinese Restaurant space at 4488 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., in late July.

Thach is Cambodian and Luu half-Cambodian and half-Vietnamese, but their menu sticks largely to Vietnamese classics: bun bowls, pho, etc. Thach says "we put our own flavor into our food," with homemade chili paste and other accents potentially distinguishing them from competition. They're currently open for lunch and dinner, daily but for Thursdays.

Rosie to Diggy

What's are "spuddies," you ask?

"They're like breakfast potatoes, our version — we soak and brine them, blanch them and cook them again to make them nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside," explains manager Bobby Hendrix at week-old Diggy's Diner (11550 Ridgeline Drive, #128, 488-4753). "Then we add our special seasonings."

Diggy's is in the space formerly occupied by Rosie's Diner, which Ron and Catherine Mast bought a year after it expanded here from Monument. (In late 2011, Rosie's owners told the Indy they were aiming for eventual buy-out, but not before more Front Range and Houston locations.)

Into this stand-alone reboot, the Masts have brought their own recipes, including the spuddies. A glance at menus on Diggy's Facebook page shows diner classics like Benedict plates and skillets at breakfast, and burgers, sandwiches and pizzas at lunch and dinner. Aside from a pretzel-roll Reuben and some beignet-lookin' donuts, nothing's out of the ordinary.

But many items are made in-house, says Hendrix, including the Hollandaise, chips and fries. Also, some of the produce and baked goods are purchased locally.


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