Cafe Society

Photos: Ace lobs up vegan bao buns and jungle curry for spring

We stopped by Ace recently to take a look at some of the new dishes on the restaurant's revamped menu. Continuing his foray into Asian cuisine, executive chef Brandon Biederman has added Vietnamese noodles, a dry curry and eggless bao buns to the mix -- lighter fare that won't leave you bogged down for your ping-pong match.

See also: - Photos: Sipping and sampling from Ace's 64 happy-hour cocktail combinations - Colorful Colorado: Ace juice bar starts pouring - Ace serves up a new menu today

Biederman's favorite is the jungle curry. A drier, coconut-free curry, it has roots in northern Thailand, where coconuts can't grow. Served over jasmine rice, the curry combines fresh and dried chiles, fermented fish paste, shallots, lemongrass, lime leaves and ginger. Wok-tossed with chicken, beef, pork belly, tofu or shrimp, it packs some heat. No Asian restaurant is complete without dim sum, and shrimp dumplings have been added to the menu to complement the vegetable potstickers and chive-and-pork shumai already there. For the dumplings, hand-chopped shrimp is mixed with ginger, garlic, lime juice and sliced shishito peppers and dressed with ponzu sauce. The seared-tuna salad is a light addition to the greens section. Smoked yellowtail tuna is served over greens tossed with cucumber, tomato, mung bean sprouts and yuzu vinaigrette; the salad is served cold.

Sous-chef Jesse Moore has crafted a vegan bao by losing the egg but not the flavor. Served with grilled tofu, the new bun is an appetizing vegan option. Another bun comes filled with non-vegan fried chicken -- boneless chicken thigh, along with tomato slices, Brussels sprouts slaw, carrot and jalapeno, lightly dressed with kewpie mayo and black vinegar.

Another noodle option: the Vietnamese noodle bowl. Chicken thigh, beef, tofu, pork belly or shrimp is wok-tossed with lemongrass, ginger, Thai bird chiles, lime leaves, hoisin and freeze-dried peas, corn and onions, then placed on cold bean thread noodles tossed with sesame oil, mint, basil and cilantro; pickled carrots and cucumber top that. The dish has a bit of a spicy kick, and the cold-hot-cold layers add interesting temperature changes.

The new menu is available for lunch and dinner.

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Kate Gibbons
Contact: Kate Gibbons

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