The other day, I wrote about Boulder’s NaRaYa, a Thai restaurant with a sushi bar along one wall. On that occasion, my husband and I ordered from the Thai menu. When visiting my son in Durango recently, we feasted (again) at East By Southwest. Along with the newer and adjacent Golden Triangle Restaurant, it also offers both Japanese and Thai cuisine. Japanese fare was on our minds.
The two are different in provenance. NaRaYa is owned by two Thai women, one of whom is the Thai chef. East By Southwest is owned by Sergio A Verduzco and Hydi Lyn Verduzco, alumni of William F. Harrah College of Hotel & Restaurant Administration at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. The couple left glitzy Las Vegas in 2001 to open East by Southwest to instant acclaim. I’m glad that it’s one of my son’s favorites, because we go there just about every time that I visit. We’ve been quickly, and we’ve had to wait. We’ve eaten at the sushi bar and at various tables. This time, he, I and our long-time friend Jim were directed to a table on the Thai side, but we ordered Japanese dishes.
Any Asian restaurant, other than standard Chinese-American, is unexpected in southwestern Colorado, a place where Tex-Mex, barbecue, “home cooking” and steaks would seem more likely. But Durango isn’t just any southwestern town. It is a college town, a ski town and a major tourist center with genuinely excellent dining options. East by Southwest, with fresh ingredients that are well prepared and attractively presented, has never disappointed.
Price check: Small dishes, $3-$12; salads, $7-$15; two soups, $2 & $9; vegetarian items, $4-$16; “sushi bar” specials, $12-$16 + sushi and sashmi by two- or five-piece orders; “steaks and entrees,” $17-$29; sushi and sashimi dinners $10-$39, including miso soup or salad. East by Southwest also serves threeomikase chef’s tasting menus, five courses, $60; six courses, $70, and seven courses, $80.