Sj and I have season tickets to the Broadway Series downtown and end up there for shows every month or two during theater season. This has been much more entertaining than I originally expected and also gives us a great excuse to try out new restaurants and watering holes that are far from our usual stomping grounds. Most recently we went to the incredibly glitter filled and over the top production of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert. Not totally my style, but well acted and quite the spectacle. After the show we briefly stopped into Mackenzie for a pint and to kill time before our dinner reservation. I really like that place and will do a proper write up soon.
Our dinner reservations were at Butcher & The Boar, a fairly new gastropub that is just a few blocks from Orpheum and State theaters. Since parking can be a little difficult we figured we could make the walk. Minnesota winter is for sucks. Even a couple of blocks in 9 degree windy weather is a bone-chilling prospect. I had take my hands out of my gloves for the incredibly brief and shaky picture of the Adam Turman mural on the side of the restaurant. I hear that one must bleed for their art, and maybe frostbite counts...
Even the shadiest place would have been a welcome after the cold, but one walks into this restaurant and feels warm and comfortable. The decor is somewhat fancy: a very cool floor that looks like copper coins in epoxy; marble top tables; deep copper textured stucco walls; giant Victorian era mirrors. Despite the upscale look the place does not seem stuffy. It is crowded and bustling and the staff are knowledgeable and attentive.
The beer list is not huge but has a large range of craft beers from Minnesota and beyond as well as some great bottled beers. They have a lot of wines and cocktails, and even do Bourbon tasters for those who like the hard stuff. I had one of my favorite beers the Surly Abrasive and Sj had the La Folie.
This is a restaurant first and foremost so let us talk of the food. The menu is filled with smaller plates to share as appetizers or as sides. Lightly wood grilled oysters on the half shell were the best I have had (except maybe for the fresh oysters at the Porterhouse in Dublin paired with Oyster Stout.) I am a sucker for freaky meats, so any time I come across a charcuterie plate I have to get it. I was not disappointed in the least. Rabbit terrine; turkey braunsweiger; wild boar prosciutto; and Boar head cheese (not really cheese) all spread on a board with house made pickled vegetables and condiments. Yum! Only the Happy Gnome has a better one. For main courses they have several types of house made sausage, (including a sampler for the table,) or various steaks and a few other dishes. The sides are great too ranging from spicy Brussels sprouts to corn bread to smothered greens. Everything we had to eat here was spot on and perfectly presented.
When it comes to food and drink these guys get it! I highly recommend a visit to this place, especially if you are a big fan of craft beers and meat! Not the best place to take your vegan spouse or date unless you want a short relationship. Make sure to get your reservations long in advance though. We made ours over a week out and had our choice of 5:15 or 8:30, and when we came in at 5:15 walk-in people were already being turned away.