Uptown Denver Restaurants: Go Now
Ace Eat and Serve is an Asian inspired eatery that is inside a ping-pong hall. Yes. Inside a ping-pong hall. That is cool. Located at 501 E. 17th St, Ace also has an indoor/outdoor bar that gives patrons a lot of variety as to what kind of hang out they want. Their menu features soups, ramen, table sauces, dim sum, salads, Asian sliders “bao buns”, and larger entrée plates. Their dessert menu looks pretty fantastic, as well. A vanilla glazed donut with lemongrass ice cream and bourbon aged maple syrup? I’ll take two.
Ace has a walk-up juice bar PLUS a Bar Bus! Their website says that in Bangkok, mobile bars are popular, made from converted VW buses. They wanted to bring that tradition here, so they went out and found a cow-printed bus and, voila, the Ace Bar Bus was born. They made a few improvements, such as installing a removable roof and adding a fully functional bar (with all the fixin’s) and a sound system. The bus stays on the patio at the restaurant, but it can be rented out for events.
As far as the ping-pong hall goes (this is what I know you’re most interested in), you will need to reserve a table in one-hour slots. You also need to abide by the house rules, which Ace has so smartly posted on large signs in the restaurant. Nothing spoils your dim sum like a pong disagreement.
Another super cool place in Uptown is beast + bottle. Rustic American seems to be a new common theme for restaurants, and beast + bottle is no exception. Located at 719 E. 17th St (just down the street from Ace), beast + bottle focuses on “sustainability, versatility, creativity, and comfort”. They work directly with farmers and pride themselves on serving ethically raised and responsibly harvested ingredients. They are very transparent with their purveyors, and have specific farms and shops for produce, meat and eggs, and specialty ingredients (cheese, honey, goat dairy, etc). They work with farms as close as Lakewood and as far as Atwood, KS.
beast + bottle’s menus look incredible. They have separate food and drink menus and an extensive wine list (NOT all from Colorado – that would be a feat all on its own). From the red kuri squash waffle with pear butter and pecan pralines for brunch to the porcini rigatoni with rabbit-garlic sausage, chicory, beechwood mushroom and a 12 year balsamic for dinner, to the chocolate dacquoise with peanut vacherin (don’t know what either of those words mean) with peanut butter mousse and sea salt caramel for dessert, I would say I’m intrigued.
What’s even more awesome about beast + bottle is that they invite guest chefs to come cook in their restaurant. They make their own menus and you can buy a pre fixe meal for $75 for 5 courses. On July 10th, they had Brandon Bierderman from Steuben’s, on August 14th Andrea Frizi from Il Posto, on September 11th Matt Selby from Central Bistro & Bar, and on October 9th Jeff Osaka from Twelve/Osaka Ramen. How cool is that? I love when restaurants and chefs get a chance to do something different and step out of their normal cuisine.
Uptown’s Restaurant Row is a pretty serious culinary experience. Along 17th St. you’ll find both of these restaurants, as well as many, many more. I invite you to come explore the yumminess that is just a minute north of downtown. You will not be disappointed. Or hungry, any longer.