Trendspotting: Meatballs

March 7 2011, 11:30 AM

Perhaps the meatball trend that took root in New York City last year is making its way to Denver after all. While the dish isn't ubiquitous yet, I have noticed it on a handful of menus.

Olivéa's duck meatballs with polenta have been an entrée staple since the Uptown restaurant opened two years ago, but now other spots are getting in on the act: Aria offers a lamb version as an appetizer for lunch and dinner; Pizzeria Locale serves mini veal meatballs tossed in a lusty walnut pesto; and just last week I tried the polpetta panino at Spuntino, the month-old casual Italian cafe from Simone Parisi (you already know him from Parisi and Firenze a Tavola) and Dorina Miller.

While it's hard to call out a favorite, I can't stop thinking about Spuntino's sandwich, which arrives toasted on hunks of ciabatta turned on its side, stuffed with lamb meatballs and marinara, and topped with melted mozzarella.

Bonus: If you're planning a trip to NYC, check out the meatballs at these spots.

Olivéa, 719 E. 17th Ave., 303-861-5050

Aria, 250 Josephine St., 303-377-4012

Pizzeria Locale, 1730 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-442-3003

Spuntino, 2639 W. 32nd Ave., 303-433-0949