It’s difficult to say which is better at the ViewHouse restaurant: the vistas or the lunch deals — and the food that comes with them — since all are equally impressive.
The only distractions are the numerous TVs, what one friend called “surround visuals.” Once you’re able to ignore the overhead screens, it’s easier to appreciate the city’s westerly landscape — even when the scene includes the interstate.
Thankfully, the large windows almost overshadow the number of televisions.
ViewHouse offers a lunch menu with a choice of two items for $10; some have upcharges. The choices are many, and the variety exceeds expectations. Further, these are not small portions. Among the numerous possibilities are salads, soups, burgers, fish and chips, and pasta. It’s difficult deciding because of the multiple combinations you can put together.
After much deliberation, I initially decided on the nuts and berries salad along with corn chowder. However, my eye kept wandering toward the pork bahn mi sandwich, and when it was time to order that’s ultimately what I ordered.
I expected a small salad with half a sandwich. Wrong! The full-size sweet chili pork bahn mi is a baguette bursting with sliced roasted pork, thinly sliced pickled carrots and red onion, red pepper, jalapeno peppers and green apples.
The bread did not live up to its promise as a “French baguette.” It was soaked by the cilantro-lime vinaigrette, which otherwise provided tangy sweet flavors. Ideally, the bread should have splintered with each bite. Although it didn’t, the combination of the other ingredients overcame its shortcomings.
The salad is a large bowl of peppery arugula with dried cherries, candied pecans, figs, dates, fresh blueberries and strawberries, all enhanced by a creamy strawberry vinaigrette with just the right amount of sweetness. I nixed the goat cheese, which is usually part of the salad.
My artist friend commented on the colorful appeal of everything we ordered.
Her blackened chicken was an array of hues, textures and tastes. Topped with crispy corn tortilla strips, the grilled chicken was on a bed of lettuce over rice with black bean and corn salsa, an ice cream scoop serving of guacamole and the same cilantro-lime vinaigrette as the bahn mi. The $2 upcharge on the chicken is well worth it for such a hearty serving.
The Sriracha salmon fried rice bowl ($3 upcharge) is orange-glazed and grilled with the marks to prove it. It almost pales in comparison to the vibrant forest green broccoli served with it.
The fried rice gets lost amid the colors and flavors. The sweet and spicy flakey fish, though, outshines the veggie when it comes to taste.
The kale and butternut squash not only shines on the color palette, but also on the palate. Kale can often be bitter if not correctly prepared. Here it’s lightly sauteed with cubes of roasted, tender squash.
Kudos to ViewHouse for the many gluten-free and vegan options; most are one or the other and several are both.
The “$10 Lunch Choose 2” menu is offered Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The regular menu is also available.
Description: A range of cuisines
Location: 7114 Campus Drive
Contact: 719-394-4137; viewhouse.com
Prices: Two for $10 lunch menu; $8 to $27 regular menu
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m.–2 a.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday.
Details: Credit cards accepted. Alcohol. Wi-Fi. Outdoor dining. Carryout.
Favorite dishes: Pork bahn mi and nuts and berries salad
Other: Gluten-free and vegan options available