Dining Out at Blackbelly: Boulder Restaurant, Market, and Butcher

Indulging in the best ingredients Colorado has to offer.

Koji-cured heritage pork (center) and charred Mokum carrots
Koji-cured heritage pork (center) and charred Mokum carrots. Photo by Tom McCorkle.

At Blackbelly, a restaurant, market, and butcher in Boulder, the focus on local sourcing is about more than chasing industry buzzwords. Led by acclaimed chef and owner Hosea Rosenberg, there’s no better place to taste the best of what Colorado’s farmers and ranchers have to offer.

Here, ingredients often start fully intact. Head butcher Kelly Kawachi breaks down whole animals, like lamb from Buckner Family Farm in Longmont and pork from McDonald Family Farm in Brush. It’s Boulder’s only whole animal artisanal butcher shop, and the first licensed to make and sell its own cured and fermented meats. The vegetables, too, have a local focus.

“It’s not the most cost-effective way to run a business,” says Lauren Rosenberg, co-owner of Blackbelly, but it sure pays off in the flavors of each dish.

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Start with a rich crépinette that lets the quality of the meat take center stage, while delicately dressed greens and whole-seed mustard provide refreshing interludes of acidity. The Deliziosa Burrata is stacked in layers that could stand on their own, but shine when together: house-made, three-day fermented sourdough, Western Slope peaches, tomatoes that make you wish the season never ended, burrata, basil oil, and sherry vinegar pearls.

A charcuterie board offers the best taste of Blackbelly’s in-house cured and aged meats. On a recent visit, they sat next to cheeses from Durango, including an especially wonderful blue cheese dotted with crackly salt crystals. The labor-intensive approach to meat pays off throughout the menu. Koji-cured heritage pork draws the utmost savory notes and is unbelievably tender. Underneath, lightly charred spigarello, an Italian leafy green, breaks up bites alongside a lime marmalade, fennel, and Szechuan pepper jus. It’d be easy to get distracted by the lamb, pork, and beef on the menu, but to not fully explore the ever- changing vegetable dishes would be a mistake. Look no further than an order of French breakfast radishes served with cultured butter and a sprinkling of flaky salt to see why. Lightly cooked Mokum carrots—small, juicy, and sweet—are tossed with a salsa verde and topped with cheese. Grilled broccoli, a favorite through many months of the year, reaches the peak of what savory vegetables can be with an anchovy vinaigrette and red chile flakes.

At Blackbelly, Colorado’s finest ingredients never looked—or tasted—so good.