Restaurateur Troy Guard's second incarnation of Bubu opens tomorrow in the Hangar 2 development in Lowry, just a few months after the original opened in the former home of TAG| Raw Bar off Larimer Square. This newest member of the TAG restaurant group has a brighter, more lively dining room than the original; Guard's flair for Pacific Rim flavors and healthy ingredients is on display with a menu that's expanded considerably from the older Bubu's lunch-friendly rice and noodle bowls.
The new menu captures some of Guard's TAG| Raw Bar lineup, including three styles of ramen -- pork shoulder, chicken thigh and veggie -- as well as an assortment of sashimi, small plates, Chinese-style buns, salads and a daily white fish option, which could comprise catfish, halibut or other market-fresh seafood. "I cook the pork broth for the ramen for eighteen hours with neck and knuckle bones, miso, sake and mirin," notes Guard.
Guard's penchant for fusion means playful embellishments on traditional dishes: steamed buns come stuffed with duck confit or house-made, "Bubu-style" corned beef with pickled shallots and mustard grains. Shrimp potstickers get an extra dose of texture and color from the quinoa inside and a smooth carrot puree to go along with Korean chile sauce. Adventurous diners will thrill to the chicken-fried duck tongue with Korean spices and smoked honey.
"The 'Big Stuff' is also something new on the menu," Guard points out. The variety of proteins by the pound -- pork shoulder, whole teriyaki-glazed chicken, steak, salmon, shrimp, tofu or duck -- are great for big parties or family take-out orders, he says.
While Guard will oversee the opening, the new Bubu will be run day-to-day by executive sous chef Diane Snider, sous chef Sharif Villa-Cruz and general manager Joel Rubenstein, who's fresh from the Green Valley Ranch Beer Garden and has a Denver resume that includes lengthy stays at Chipotle and Old Chicago.
Dinner service begins tomorrow at 4 p.m. and Bubu will be open until 10 p.m. daily, with lunch service, beginning at 11 a.m., expected to start on March 1. In conjunction with the opening at Lowry, Guard is shortening the hours at the Larimer Square Bubu to 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with no dinner or weekend service (except for special events).
Surrounded by gyms and fitness centers, Bubu caters to those coming and going from workout sessions. Once lunch service begins, the mid-day menu will be identical to that of the downtown location, with fresh produce, lean meats and healthy noodles and grains that customers can mix and match or choose from a list of preset options that capture the flavors of Hawaii (Guard's home state), Japan and California. There's a yoga-mat parking stand at the entrance and even an electric-car plug-in station outside for the environmental avante garde.
The dining room will seat fifty guests at booths, tables a chef's counter and a bar-height community table. Come spring, an additional forty seats will be available on the patio.
Keep reading for more photos of Bubu.