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The Bite

Feeling Sheepish

Looking for lamb Italian-style? When it's on the menu, the braised lamb shank with Tuscan black cabbage at Aubergine Cafe (225 East Seventh Avenue) is a dream dish; the shank at Bruno's Italian Bistro (2223 South Monaco Parkway) comes soaked in red wine and the essences of kalamatas, tomatoes and garlic; it is so tender you almost have to eat it with a spoon. You can also do ewe Mexican at Don Quijote (35 Federal Boulevard), where the leg is charcoal-broiled, or Ethiopian at Arada Restaurant (3504 East Colfax Avenue), which takes the meat off the shank and stews it with ginger, garlic and Arada's own blend of berbere that includes red pepper, cardamom, coriander and fenugreek. For the best Vietnamese lamb in town, head to Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant (5115 Federal Boulevard), which delivers a plate bearing five broiled chops that have been marinated in white wine that's pumped up with garlic, ginger, lemongrass, chiles and a house-blended curry powder.

Of course, there are plenty of New American and fusion places that do lamb well, even if the meat isn't always on the seasonally changing menus. But the juice-dripping, spit-roasted whole lamb periodically doled out to diners at The Fort (19192 Highway 8, Morrison) is worth waiting for, as is the rosemary-strewn hunk that comes atop spinach and an intense red-wine reduction at Zenith(815 17th Street). And I can't forget the drop-dead delicious chops done Provençal-style at The Swan at the Inverness Hotel(200 Inverness Drive West, Englewood), the super-rich lamb shank risotto at Q's (2115 13th Street, Boulder), a peppercorn-aioli-enhanced lamb shin at Dazzle (930 Lincoln), the grilled rack sauced with a soy demi-glace at 1515 Market Grille (1515 Market Street), the lamb burger on the Col-Mar bar menu at janleone (1509 Marion Street), or the butter-soft medallions in the lamb-loin salad at Bistro Adde Brewster (250 Steele Street).

Colorado lamb: It's what should be for dinner.

Culinary Calendar October 24: Rhône Varietal wine dinner at Tante Louise comparing Australian, Californian, French Syrah and Grenache grapes. Five-course meal paired with six wines for $80 per person; reservations required. Tante Louise, 4900 East Colfax Avenue, 303-355-4488.

October 25: "Big Reds" wine dinner to celebrate Q's third anniversary. Nine-course meal paired with eleven wines from California, Australia, Bordeaux and Italy for $200 per person; reservations required. Q's Restaurant, 2115 13th Street, Boulder, 303-442-4880.

November 8:Deadline to enter 2001 Beerdrinker of the Year competition sponsored by the Wynkoop Brewing Company. Winner receives free beer for life at Wynkoop, along with other prizes. Details: Wynkoop Brewing Company, 1634 18th Street, 303-297-2700.

Ongoing: "Hooked on Books" book drive at McCormick's Fish House & Bar. Bring in a new book through the month of October for Volunteers of America Brandon Center, a temporary residence for homeless women and their children, and receive a $10 gift certificate for the restaurant. Books accepted from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. McCormick's, 1659 Wazee Street, 303-825-1107.

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