Best Bites: Luca D'Italia's Baby Octopus and Smoked Pig Trotter

June 2 2011, 11:30 AM

Pig trotters—a dressed-up (read: British) name for pig's feet—first popped up in Denver more than a year ago at Colt & Gray as a crispy-smoky bar snack. Since then, the nose-to-tail movement has gained traction and diners have become ever more adventurous, leading other local chefs to start playing with the ingredient, including Frank Bonanno of Luca D'Italia. The restaurant's antipasto offering is one of the most impressive presentations of trotter meat I've found.

In the dish, several crunchy, fried smoked trotter rounds—each about the size of a poker chip—are topped with tiny grilled baby octopus. Between each stack sits a ripe ball of sweet cantaloupe, all topped with chewy bits of fava bean, salsa verde, and celery greens.

Each ingredient carries a distinct flavor, be it sweet or smoky, as well as texture, from cool and smooth to warm and crispy—and the dish's magic lies in getting all that variety in one single, satisfying bite.

711 Grant St., 303-832-6600