Cheers to the New Chinatown: Hop Alley

Cheers to the New Chinatown: Hop Alley Denver cocktails, named after the Chinese zodiac.

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.

IN-A-NUTSHELL

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.

Hop Alley Denver Chinese zodiac cocktails

THE MIXED DRINKS

First, we ordered and tasted various cocktails, named after the Chinese Zodiac:

RAT

Absolut vodka, blood orange, ginger, red rooibos 

OX

Kina L’aero D’or, Hayman’s Old Tom gin, salted grapefruit, melon (my personal favorite)

SHEEP

Remy V white cognac, dried mandarin, lemon, sparkling rose

ROOSTER

Tequila ocho plata, mezcal, grapefruit & cherry, Amaro Montenegro

Hop Alley Denver: The New Take on Chinatown. Traditional, regional Chinese cuisine served family-style

Yen Tsai

YEN TSAI

Daily selection of pickled and preserved vegetables

Delicious and vinegary and the perfect starter.

Hop Alley Denver: The New Take on Chinatown. Traditional, regional Chinese cuisine served family-style

Shanghai Rice Cakes

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.

Hop Alley Denver fried chicken

La Zi Ji

LA ZI JI

Fried chicken, dried chilis, sichuan pepper

Tasty albeit mouth-numbingly spicy, but not enough sauce for my taste.

Hop Alley Denver: The New Take on Chinatown. Traditional, regional Chinese cuisine served family-style

Char Siu Pork Belly

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.

Hop Alley Denver: The New Take on Chinatown. Traditional, regional Chinese cuisine served family-style

Beef & Broccoli Larb

BEEF & BROCCOLI LARB

Ground shoulder, shrimp chips

The beef was great; the chips were weird.

Hop Alley Denver: The New Take on Chinatown. Traditional, regional Chinese cuisine served family-style

Cumin Lamb Rou Jia Mo

CUMIN LAMB ROU JIA MO

S.E.B.s, pickled cucumbers, koji mustard

These were bomb, and the bread was freshly made!

Hop Alley Denver: The New Take on Chinatown. Traditional, regional Chinese cuisine served family-style

Beijing Duck Roll, Photo cred: Yelp

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.

Hop Alley Denver: The New Take on Chinatown. Traditional, regional Chinese cuisine served family-style

Husband & Wife Salad

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.

Hop Alley Denver: The New Take on Chinatown. Traditional, regional Chinese cuisine served family-style

Chilled Tofu Salad

CHILLED TOFU

Bang bang sauce, peanuts, smashed cucumbers

This was also a personal favorite! The sauce was incredible, and the tofu was cooked perfectly.

Hop Alley Denver: The New Take on Chinatown. Traditional, regional Chinese cuisine served family-style

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!

HEY DENVERITES,
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FOOD IN THE MILE-HIGH CITY?

 

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2 thoughts on “Cheers to the New Chinatown: Hop Alley

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