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9 Meatballs to Celebrate National Meatball Day

Posted March 09, 2015

Photo of9 Meatballs to Celebrate National Meatball Dayby Tender Belly
By Elizabeth Woessner, Dining Out Denver & Boulder Whether tiny or boulder-sized; as an appetizer or a main course; on spaghetti, on pizza, in a sandwich, or on top of polenta, these orbs of seasoned meat can be found in almost every cuisine on the planet. We searched far and wide to find 9 meatballs to celebrate National Meatball Day. meatball1 1. Lamb Meatballs: Named for Frank Bonanno’s youngest son, Osteria Marco {1453 Larimer Street, Denver; 303.534.5855} is Bonanno’s modern interpretation of a classic Italian osteria. The lowly meatball is somehow elevated here, made from 100-percent local Colorado lamb and served over creamy polenta with goat ricotta and a warm smoky tomato brodo. Meatball2 2. Meatball Sliders: Known for its authentic New York and Napolitano pizza, Marco’s Coal Fired Pizzeria {2129 Larimer Street, Denver; 303.296.7000} has also developed a base of devoted meatball fans. Marco’s makes its sliders with a beef-pork blend meatball, smothered in a San Marzano tomato sauce, and topped with caciocavallo and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses. As a bonus, during happy hour, meatball sliders are only $5. Meatball3 3. Pork Meatballs: Miniature ping pong-sized pork meatballs can be devoured at Pizzeria Locale{1730 Pearl Street, Boulder; 303.442.3003}. The polpettine appetizers are topped with romesco sauce and smoked ricotta. These same miniature meatballs can be ordered as a pizza topping at all three Pizzeria Locale locations. Meatball4 4. Swedish Meatballs: Not to be confused with the Swedish meatballs at IKEA, the meatballs from Executive Chef Patrik Landberg at Charcoal Restaurant {43 West 9th Avenue, Denver; 303.454.0000} are the real deal. The Scandivanian-inspired new American restaurant features lightly-spiced miniature meatballs on top of a purée of potatoes, covered in a sour cream gravy with traditional pickles and lingonberries. meatball5 5. Albondigas: The Albondigas de Pato (duck meatballs) dished out at Leña {24 Broadway, Denver; 720.550.7267} have quickly become a fan favorite. This vibrant Latin American eatery, which opened last summer, tops its meatballs with crispy chicharrón in a bowl of slightly spicy duck broth. meatball6 6. Meatball Panini: Last fall, husband-and-wife team, Cindhura Reddy and Elliot Strathmann, took over the Highland restaurant Spuntino {2369 West 32nd Avenue; 303-433-0949}. Since then, Executive Chef Reddy has changed some of the menu items completely, while tweaking others, giving them the “Cindhura touch.” One such dish is the Meatball Panini–Tender Belly pork meatballs lightly spiced with fennel and cumin with San Marzano tomato sauce and pecorino cheese on a Grateful Bread ciabatta roll. Meatball7 7. Meatballs and Grits: This a match made in heaven. On Acorn’s {3350 Brighton Boulevard, Denver; 720.542.3721} menu since it opened its doors at The Source in 2013, the Tomato-Braised Meatballs are now considered one of Chef Steve Redzikowski’s signature dishes. Served an individual cast iron skillet over Anson Mills stone-ground grits with Burrata and basil, the meatballs are available on the lunch, midday, and dinner menus. meatball8 8. Gluten-Free Meatballs: Ryan DiFranco’s fast-casual Italian eatery DiFranco’s {955 Lincoln Street, Denver; 720.2523.1244} focuses on housemade dishes using locally-sourced, organic ingredients. Like many things on the menu, the meatballs are gluten-free and served with housemade red sauce, local basil, local tomatoes, and Pecorino Romano. But it’s not just about the meatballs … whether you want them in a sandwich or on pasta, DiFranco’s can make sure your entire meal is gluten-free. meatball9 9. Meatballs Any Way You Like Them: The Slotted Spoon {2730 South Colorado Boulevard, Denver; 303.756.3072}  is Denver’s only meatball-centric restaurant and here, you can get your meatballs anyway you want them. First choose beef, chicken, pork, salmon, or veggie as the base for your dish. Then select from 10 different sauces such as Honey-Jalapeño Barbecue, Basil Pesto ,or Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette. Finally choose your vessel–sandwich, pasta, or salad–and whatever toppings pique your fancy and you are good to go.

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