IT’S GOTTEN A LOT OF HYPE
Every day in Denver, a new restaurant opens and an old restaurant closes. If you quit your day job and dedicated all your waking hours to visiting every restaurant in this city, you’d never finish your list before a quarter of them had been replaced.
Last night, a handful of work colleagues went to try the new Hop Alley, whose concept is traditional, regional Chinese food served family style.
The most well-versed foodie at the table was heard saying, “I might be partial because I love Asian food, but this might be the best food in Denver.”
Brace yourself for all the food & drink photos.
I left work a little early to get my run in before this delicious culinary excursion, and rightly so. After a quick 3 miles and a shower, I arrived perfectly hungry.
The staff was gracious and our servings well-timed. The decor was simple, cozy, and understated. The Lazy Susan on our corner table was extraordinarily convenient for the family-style servings ahead.
THE MIXED DRINKS
First, we ordered and tasted various cocktails, named after the Chinese Zodiac:
Absolut vodka, blood orange, ginger, red rooibos
Kina L’aero D’or, Hayman’s Old Tom gin, salted grapefruit, melon (my personal favorite)
Remy V white cognac, dried mandarin, lemon, sparkling rose
Tequila ocho plata, mezcal, grapefruit & cherry, Amaro Montenegro
Daily selection of pickled and preserved vegetables
Delicious and vinegary and the perfect starter.
SHANGHAI RICE CAKES
Ground pork, carrots, oyster sauce, and a fried egg
My personal favorite, these rice cakes were a doughy-chewy consistency that I thoroughly enjoyed.
LA ZI JI
Fried chicken, dried chilis, sichuan pepper
Tasty albeit mouth-numbingly spicy, but not enough sauce for my taste.
CHAR SIU PORK BELLY
Braised mustard greens, Hop Ally mop sauce
I am not a big pork fan, but these were good—crispy as if they were fried, and the sauce was sweet and rich.
BEEF & BROCCOLI LARB
Ground shoulder, shrimp chips
The beef was great; the chips were weird.
CUMIN LAMB ROU JIA MO
S.E.B.s, pickled cucumbers, koji mustard
These were bomb, and the bread was freshly made!
BEIJING DUCK ROLL
Scallion pancake, five spice, cabbage, crispy skin
These were devoured so fast (approximately 3.5 seconds) that I wasn’t even able to get a picture! Crispy and tasty; they fell apart when you tried to bite into them.
HUSBAND & WIFE SALAD
Lengua, duck gizzards, Macanese chorizo, greens
This one was so not my style that I didn’t even try it! Whoops. I heard people raving about the sausage, though.
Bang bang sauce, peanuts, smashed cucumbers
This was also a personal favorite! The sauce was incredible, and the tofu was cooked perfectly.
Put a bunch of magazine staff in front of some Instagram-worthy food presentation, and this is what you get!
All in all, I left extremely full and impressed. I’m already planning my next visit!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FOOD IN THE MILE-HIGH CITY?