A wise restaurant critic once wrote that Hop Alley’s version of Chinese fusion is preferable to that of New York City darling Mission Chinese. To wit: Mission’s famous kung pao pastrami pales against the spectacular Mongolian pastrami dreamed up by Hop Alley’s executive chef, Geoff Cox. To make it, Cox brines tri-tip for four days, then smokes it, then cooks it sous vide for 36 hours—no more and no less. This past spring, the silky meat—served with braised turnips, spring onions, and miso mustard—wowed. No other chef could easily outdo Cox’s citrus-and-soy-adorned steamed snapper either, except possibly author and television personality Samin Nosrat, who inspired Cox to import aged Yamaroku soy sauce from Japan after he watched her Netflix series, Salt Fat Acid Heat. I’d bet that even Hop Alley owner Tommy Lee bows down to Cox’s crunchy shrimp toast and spicy dan dan mian (pictured) garnished with a garden’s worth of local vegetables. Three-year-old Hop Alley is about as expert as fusion gets. $$$, 3500 Larimer St., 720-379-8340

(MORE: Read our 2016 restaurant review of Hop Alley)

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Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.