Browse the menu at Acorn, the three-week-old restaurant at the Source and, your heart might skip a beat when you discover the $85 pork shoulder (pictured) and the $90 rib-eye listed under the large plates. Let me just say this: If you have a party of five or more, don't let sticker shock deter you.
Chef Steven Redzikowki has designed his menu—a lovely, approachable collection of contemporary and seasonal flavors—to be communal. I love this style of dining where you order a bonanza of dishes and when they land on the table there's a flurry of hands passing plates and reaching for bites.
Such is the case when Acorn's 56-ounce, cumin-spiced pork shoulder—slow-roasted to a deep, crispy caramel—arrives. The dish is impressive to the point of momentarily squelching conversation. Designate someone to carve, and divvy up the sides of buttery Munson Farms corn and blistered shishito peppers. Add a spoonful of the accompanying cumin-ancho vinaigrette over top of the pork and begin to feast. You'll go back for seconds (maybe even thirds, as I did) and there will still be enough for leftovers the next day. Eighty-five dollars, generously split five ways, with enough pork for lunch tomorrow? Sticker shock dispelled.
Elsewhere: The movement toward large, family-style plates is likely something local diners are going to see more of. For proof, look to Acorn's sister restaurant Oak at Fourteenth, where a similarly minded $65 pork shoulder sits on the menu. And over at Old Major, a $60 24-ounce bone-in rib-eye is designed to share.
Bonus: Zagat cites Acorn as one of the most exciting restaurants to open in 2013.
Acorn, 3350 Brighton Blvd., 720-542-3721
Oak at Fourteenth, 1400 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-3622
Old Major, 3316 Tejon St., 720-420-0622