Q House will open its doors to the public this afternoon serving Chinese inspired dishes in a modern, polished casual space off of East Colfax in the Bluebird district. Chef Chris Lin — formerly of Old Major and the famed NYC giant Momofuku — partnered with Jen Mattioni and Jon Pinto — previously of Leña and Candela Latin Kitchen — to take a stab at opening their first restaurant concept together.

The Space

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Q House is the first of three concepts to open in the newly renovated building at 3421 East Colfax. The restaurant is an intimate 1500 square feet and sits up to 75 guests between the dining room and patio seating. Tabletops, chairs and bar tops are finished in matching blonde wood grain — each table is set with bright red chopsticks propped in bamboo boxes and white plating. Hanging light fixtures and a vaulted ceiling meet with a glass garage door and an open kitchen to create an atmosphere that feels clean, welcoming and honest.

A shining stainless steel kitchen showcases a two-burner wok stove that sends an occasional waterfall over the burners for chefs to rinse and dump woks between dishes. The chef’s counter — lined with leather bar stools – leads the way to a bar front that stands four shelves high and backed with mirrors.  The bar is stacked with a full range of spirits and is topped with three cheeky ceramic Chinese good luck sculptures each representing one of the three owners, Lin, Mattioni and Pinto.

In addition to hanging light fixtures, the walls of the restaurant showcase abstract oil paintings by New York artist Ray Sumser. Sumser has four pieces hanging in Q House, each brightly colored and emanating a light-hearted and playful modern personality.

The Food

The food is best described as a western twist on classic Chinese and Taiwanese dishes. Most items on the menu range between $9 – $28 and are designed for sharing as part of a multiple course experience. From noodles to fried rice and bang bang chicken, the menu at Q House offers a range of spice and protein that includes a selection of nuanced and personalized interpretations of  Chinese and Taiwanese dishes that you won’t find at any other restaurant in the Mile High.

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The menu includes classics like Dan Dan noodles ($7), pork belly buns ($10) and Fried Rice ($14)—  which all hit a home run — but Lin is cooking some out of the box interpretations that really make this concept stand out.

The pig ear salad ($9) makes a bold statement as a light and savory appetizer. The dish combines tender shaved pig ear with soy braised tofu, crunchy snap peas and chili oil for an appetizer that plays perfectly off of the gelatinous texture and fatty flavors of pigs’ ear. The Shacha BBQ spare ribs ($24) bring spice and umami to the table in a beautiful presentation. The ribs come stacked high in a pile of five and finished with toasted sesame, roasted garlic, chili pepper and chive to give the plate dimension that will have camera phones out on arrival. The fried smelt ($11) are bone-in freshwater fish that are served fried and coated in an ultra-crisp cornstarch and rice batter. These crunchy bites come served with a ginger dipping sauce that sweetens and lightens the deep-fried morsels.

The menu also includes Chinese eggplant ($9) served with a house made General Tso’s and coated in a crisp rice batter as well as stir-fried green beans ($13) served with mustard root, dried shrimp and topped with a runny slow-cooked egg.  

The Drinks

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Offerings from the bar include a range of reasonably priced wines by the glass, Japanese and Thai beers in the bottle and nine specialty cocktails. The cocktail list spins several classics, for example — the 5 spice old fashioned ($10) which combines Bourbon, a house made five spice syrup and orange bitters to make a cocktail reminiscent of an American classic but with an underlying eastern sweetness. The Lychee martini ($10) is a sweet and puckery vodka martini that beckons a pinky out when sipping. The sour zing of the lychee fruit is complemented nicely by the tart aromatics of cranberry bitters to make a martini that goes down dangerously quick.

The aloe spritz ($8) was designed to be crushed on the patio. This cocktail uses Chareau — an aloe liqueur — combined with ginger green tea and lemon to mix a cocktail that tastes as soothing and refreshing as aloe feels. The lemongrass sour ($12) is another frothy drink destined for the patio. Spring 44 gin, lemon juice and egg white get shaken hard and finished with bitters to make a floral cocktail that finishes velvet smooth and big on the nose.

Q House opens to the public today, May 3 and is located at 3421 E. Colfax Ave. Hours of service are 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. Tuesday – Thursday, 4 p.m. – 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. – close on Sunday. 

All Photography by Emma Pion-Berlin