MexiPHO: An Individual Fusion Of Mexican, Vietnamese Cuisine

In every "Hell's Kitchen" season there seems to be an episode in which pairs of contestants spin two game show-style wheels with different cuisines to select a random fusion they'll see who can execute better. MexiPHO's mishmash of Mexican and Vietnamese fare in Glastonbury has plenty to recommend it.

MexiPHO is organized in the customizable, build-your-own-meal style said to have originated with Subway and perfected by Chipotle. Every order is special at MexiPHO. Diners decide whether they want to create a pho soup ($9.25/$10.75), salad bowl ($8.50), tacos ($8.50) or "phorrito" ($8.95). Pho lovers chose a beef, chicken or vegan broth and a steak, chicken, shrimp, tofu or vegan filling, which comes with gluten-free rice noodles, cilantro, basil, onion, bean sprouts, scallion and lime. If they're not interested in a fusion, they simply can avoid adding any Mexican accompaniments. We used jalapeños to kick our pho with chicken broth and shrimp up a notch.

The salad bowl, tacos and phorrito tilt Mexican, all coming with a filling choice of pork pastor, carnitas, chicken, steak or grilled vegetables. But any one of them can become fused with the addition of Vietnamese ingredients, which we found combine surprisingly well. Fresh local vegetables form the salad base, which is dressed with an agave nectar vinaigrette. Tacos can be made with a hard shell or soft corn or flour tortillas. The phorrito, a burrito with Vietnamese stylings, can be stuffed with pho noodles or Mexican rice, plus a kitchen sink list of accoutrements from both sides of the ethnic shopping aisle.

The essence of the fusion may be found in the housemade phorrito sauce, which seemed to go well with just about everything. Made with beef broth, hoisin, sriracha and lime, it's obviously not vegetarian. Vegetarians have numerous flavoring options however, including a mango pico de gallo ($1), a red hot sauce ($1) and a green tomatillo hot sauce ($1), not to mention great housemade guacamole ($1 extra, or $2.25 for a side) and tortilla chips to enjoy it with. The lone dessert, for those who still have room, is churros with caramel sauce.

MexiPHO offers Barefoot wine ($4.75), domestic ($3.50) and imported ($3.75) beer, and even Patron Margaritas ($7) and vodka-infused green teas ($7). It even makes its own lemonade. A daily happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. is being contemplated. There are also plans to offer specials like menudo (the soup, not the group).

Manager Darvin Estrada says the owners chose Glastonbury to be a "place of new beginnings." They're thrilled to have received a very warm reception.

MexiPHO, 2872 Main St., Glastonbury, is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; 860-633-2198 AND mexipho.com

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