With Minneapolis being the closest, bigger city in the region, it offers some of the best and most adventurous food that can be found (without traveling more than 500 miles). This summer I had the pleasure to hit Butcher and the Boar and found some really tasty, if very expensive, food and drink.
We had reservations for 10:30 on a Saturday night, figuring that would be late enough to easily get a table. But the place was completely packed so we went out back to the “beer garden” that was actually bigger than the entire interior of the restaurant. It was nice, with beautiful views of the skyline and a fully stocked bar.
A few old fashions ($12) were ordered and we found them to be very well-made.
The dining room is airy and adorned with dark wood. The kitchen is open, allowing a view of the numerous chefs as they work quickly. There is a single row of booth seating near a long bar that is the first thing you see as you walk in.
The Butcher’s food philosophy is “seasonal, regional American cooking,” with entrees like smoke-grilled oysters, a double cut Berkshire pork chop, wild boar head cheese, rabbit terrine and a 30 oz. cowboy steak for two ($85).
I thought the pickled veggies weren’t bad, but the pickling was pretty intense and soon became overwhelming. Think of the strongest pickle you’ve had and add a notch. If we were drinking beers, this would’ve been better.
The menu is sleek and easy to read. Check it out online here.
Up next was the lobster grilled cheese ($20). A seemingly simply-named dish is comforting and warm, with crisp, garlicky toast and a cheesy, lobster mix inside. Add an organic egg to the top and cut down through the sandwich, letting the yolk drip down, adding yet another layer of sumptuousness. This was one of the best things I’ve ever had.
Next was a sausage sampler plate listed on the menu as “for the table” ($30) that included beef, pork and wild boar sausages and garnish. Each was spiced and cooked perfectly.
While this picture doesn’t do the dish justice, this smoked beef long rib was gargantuan. Notice the size of the bone at the southern-most end of the rib? At $34, the rib comes sauced with a tabasco-molasess bbq sauce and “tortilla slaw.” It was crispy on the outside and tender and fatty nearer to the bone. It could very likely have been the best rib I’ve ever tasted and really blows all other iterations out of the water.
At this point my dinner mates and I were beyond stuffed with luscious, over-the-top food. As much as our stomachs were full, our wallets felt considerably lighter. But it was worth it.
If you’re in downtown Minneapolis and looking for an upscale yet casual place, check out Butcher and the Boar, especially the house-made sausages, lobster grilled cheese and any of the dozens and dozens of bourbons on offer.