Tucked into an east Boulder shopping center in an old building that was once the cafeteria for Ball Aerospace, Blackbelly doesn’t look like much from the outside, but step inside and two features immediately stand out: the gleaming stainless-steel and white-tile butcher shop up front, and the wide-open chef’s counter where Blackbelly mastermind Hosea Rosenberg and his crew ply their trade. Chef’s counters were definitely a trend in 2014, but how many of them feature a celebrity chef who burst onto the scene after a come-from-behind win on Bravo’s Top Chef? Despite his early fame, Rosenberg chose to lie low for several years while building a catering business and Boulder County farmstead that supplies meat and produce for his solid menu packed full of quiet surprises. But now he’s back in the limelight, at least for those lucky enough to snag a seat at the counter, where steak tartare is diced by hand with meticulous and deliberate knife strokes and hangar steaks are seared to a perfect medium-rare. While guests may show up to get cozy with the affable Rosenberg, it quickly becomes clear that the food is the real star.
Readers' choice: Mercantile Dining & Provision