Ace now has two weeks under its belt, quickly gaining attention for its creative mesh of ping pong and Asian-inspired food/drinks. With chef duo Matt Selby and Brandon Biederman behind the restaurant's kitchen menu, and barman Randy Layman's innovative bar program, restaurateur Josh Wolkon seems to have created another hotter than hot concept for Denver's Uptown area. Word on the street is that waits are long and last call is busy, but what do Denver's outspoken reviewers say? Some are quick to pledge their admiration, while others seem to need some convincing. Here now, the early word.
The Good News: Blogger Ruth Tobias is a fan of Ace, down to the condiments: "I’ll regale you with the full tale later, but all the aiolis, chutneys, dips, dressings & jams that make condiments my favorite food group have just met their match in this stuff from the ping-pong & small-plates parlor that is Steuben’s already jumping new sibling. Filling 1 of the 2 jars that sit on every table (the other holds classic fermented black-bean paste), black & white sesame seeds, dried red chilis, sesame oil, sugar, salt & a little textured soy protein for crunch are all it contains—but boy, is it more than the sum of its parts." [Denveater]
The Great News: An Ace Facebook fan welcomes the neighborhood addition: "We stopped in last Monday afternoon, what a great addition to our neighborhood! Congratulations to Josh and everyone involved, including the Randy & Ryan duo, we're big fans!" [FB]
The Super News: An Ace supporter via Facebook: "Thank you for a great first impression! The food is ridiculous, the atmosphere is delicious and the service outstanding...as expected. Love it!!!"
More Fantastic News: Some love on Twitter: "Highballs and Big Trouble in Little China. Ace ping pong hall in Denver nails it. @AceEatServe rocks" [Twitter]
The Lukewarm News: A Foursquare user has jokes: "It's like a hipster and Dave & Busters had a kid that liked ping pong. Enjoy!" [Foursquare]
The Bad News: A disappointed Yelper: "I'm going to come back here for a spirited game of ping pong and if my mind is changed, then I'll update my review. As it stands right now, I feel the same way about Ace as I do about Steubens: It's overpriced, moderate food. What this company (Ace, Steubens, Vesta) does well is design and reputation. I haven't been to Vesta yet (And I really want to go), but how Steuben's still gets people so excited is beyond me and I feel the same way about Ace now." [Yelp]
More Bad News: A Yelper who's not fond of the food: "As for food. Skip it. The jungle nuts were sticky and not super flavorful (although our waitress recommended adding some hot sauce), the mango really just tasted like sliced mango and the Pork Sticky Bun was decent. I wish they served pretzels and pigs in a blanket and tiny meatballs on skewers, you know, snacky quick bite things. Regardless, I will 100% be back to play." [Yelp]
The Really Bad News: A grumpy Yelper: "What a ridiculously lackluster letdown. Like most people, I think the ping ping tables are awesome and don't really have a problem with the price point. But OH MY GOD, the food is just blasphemy. Horrible. Terrible. Monumentally atrocious. And, there, I have a BIG problem with the price point. " [Yelp]
· All Ace Coverage [-EDen]