One might not think it wise to mesh a fine dining establishment and bar with a butcher shop, let alone name a restaurant “The Butcher Shop”. Images of blood-tinged cleavers, fat-marbled bovine flesh and a chop-happy butcher who is all too eager to discuss his favorite parts of a cow flood the mind. It’s enough to send children and vegans* running. Fortunately, there are no signs of squeamishness anywhere in the South End’s carnivore-catering mecca of meat that is The Butcher Shop. Believe me, I checked.
Using a master-list of restaurants and the scientific method of “Shut-Eyes & Point Finger”, The Butcher Shop is deemed my first Restaurant Week Boston spot to experience. I opt for a weekday lunch and take my chances with a walk-in. There’s a light scattering of patrons which makes the mood relaxed and allows for a more personable experience. Black slate walls have handwritten chalk descriptions of their wines-The Butcher Shop’s wine list boasts over 100 different types. There is an actual butcher shop with an impressive assortment of game, meat, poultry, prepared foods, cured meat, and provisions, as well as a full-time butcher ready to assist you.
Here are the edible choices my lunch date and I happily made from their prix fixe lunch menu:
The Tomato Soup with smoked to-die-for croutons. Normally croutons aren’t my thing. I find them boring and rough on my tongue, but these are soft and soaked in flavor. My lunch date ordered the Panzanella Salad which looked pretty as a picture, and, judging from his empty plate, tasted even better.
Behold, the Hangar Steak with romesco and potatoes all drizzled with aioli, a perfect collaboration of savory taste and texture. Nothing beats the comfort of meat ‘n potatoes. I do wish, however, I was in the comfort of my own home so I could lick my plate clean without the scrutiny and judgement of strangers.
Chocolate Mousse, ’nuff said.
Experiencing The Butcher Shop for the first time during Restaurant Week was a dangerous venture because now I’ve had a taste, can confirm the integrity and deliciousness of their food and must return to conquer their regular menu. It also didn’t help bringing home a quarter pound of their spicy sopressata because I typically hoard Costco-sized portions of cured meat. I’d have to return in a few hours for my fix or viciously undergo meat withdrawal. This is the risk we all face partaking in Restaurant Week and is, of course, the strategy behind every participating restaurant. If you haven’t already, take advantage of Restaurant Week in Boston. The prix fixe menus are designed to provide a culinary summary of that restaurant and impress your taste buds in hopes of forging a symbiotic relationship. And what a tasty one it would be.
*Vegans, and people with all types of dietary beliefs, will be surprised and delighted to find a variety of meat-less menu items, just make sure you speak to your server so they can inform you exactly how a certain dish is prepared!