The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
As you’re escorted to your table at Hop Alley, owner Tommy Lee’s outside-the-box Chinese restaurant in RiNo, you’ll pass by the almost-certain-to-be-packed bar. There, patrons sip seductive cocktails or sparkling drinks meant to cut through the spicy, salty onslaught of chef de cuisine Geoff Cox’s cooking. You may also walk by the corner table with its built-in lazy Susan, perfect for passing plates of tongue-tingling steamed eggplant and fried chicken. You’ll notice pictures of the Wu-Tang Clan and likely hear the New Yorkers coming at you full blast through Hop Alley’s speakers. But that’s OK; no one comes here for a quiet bite. You go for juicy fried soft-shell crabs wrapped in butter lettuce with lime mayo. You go for chilled tofu with nutty bang bang sauce, which cools the flames brought on by the aggressive black pepper in the garlic shrimp noodles. You can also now go for dessert, which Hop Alley started serving in July; the banana bread pudding with fish sauce caramel is fantastic. And when you go, be Zen about waiting in line. Hop Alley is more than worth it. 3500 Larimer St., 720-379-8340