Most cuisines around the world have found ways to use cuts of meat that maybe aren't as popular or mainstream, but with some time and the right cooking method become quite the treat. One example is the mighty lamb shank, which is the meat (and bone) of the animal's shin.
Tough to some and gamey to others, though a properly braised lamb shank can change that opinion. It appears several restaurants in Denver and Boulder are looking to do just that, with great examples of lamb shank dishes on their latest menus waiting to provide hearty satisfaction.
A newcomer to the border of Berkeley and West Highland, Brazen mainly serves small plates, but a few larger-format dishes on the dinner menu are meant for two. One of these is the red wine-braised lamb shank, served with a minted pea risotto and hazelnut gremolata.
Top Chef Season 5 winner Hosea Rosenberg just opened his full-service restaurant—Blackbelly Market—in Boulder, following the success of his catering company and food truck. As one of the large plates on the menu, the lamb shank is smoked and paired with heirloom beans, braised fennel, and preserved lemon gremolata.
Chef Lon Symensma's Asian bistro ChoLon recently added a braised lamb shank to the dinner menu that features Indian-spiced green lentils, yogurt, and olive-raisin relish.
Gremolata, a chopped herb condiment, has proven to be a popular accompaniment to the cut of meat, with Barolo Grill also including it on the a la carte menu. Here, Colorado lamb shank is braised in Arneis, an Italian white wine, as well as San Marzano tomatoes. The dish is rounded out with crispy polenta, caramelized Brussels sprouts, and the aforementioned gremolata.
South Broadway's Leña puts a Latin spin on its cuisine, while utilizing wood-fire cooking. The result is dishes like the cordero adobo, an adobo lamb shank with hominy, fava beans, onion, and squash.
For supper at Devil's Food, look to the braised Colorado lamb shank, which comes with goat cheese polenta cake, sauteed garlic broccolini, red wine demi, and—what else—pine nut gremolata.