Friday, September 14, 2007

The Butcher Shop

The Butcher Shop in Boston is one of Barbara Lynch's smaller project restaurants which features French and Italian styles of cookery. For those of you unfamiliar with Barbara Lynch, she is of No. 9 Park fame. In addition to these restaurants she also owns B&G Oysters LTD., Plum Produce, as-well-as a specialty bookstore named Stir. The chef de cuisine for The Butcher Shop is Greg Reeves, a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts..

The Butcher Shop is located at 552 Tremont st. in Boston in the historic South End of Boston. The restaurant accepts reservations, but the reservations are limited only to groups of six or more. Much of the reason behind this limited reservation policy is the size of the restaurant. Seating is limited to a handful of high-top table, perhaps six or maybe a couple more, that seat four or more when pushed together. The black soap-stone bar is a great place to sit as well, extremely comfortable and service is just as comfortable at a table or at the bar. Late night drinkers can also stand around the large butcher table with their drinks. There is no dress code as the restaurant is very informal, with the feeling of a small brassarie.

The dining room is decorated to feel like an actual butcher shop, which it actually is during the day toward the back of the dining room. The room is somewhat narrow, but spacious enough for people to walk back and forth as needed. The outside wall is a wall of windows which traverse the length of the wall as-well-as its height which matches the high ceiling of the room. The other walls are chalk-boards which are used for the butcher in back and behind the bar which illustrates new wine specials. The far back wall is a bank of reach-in coolers that hold the wares of the on-site butcher. Service is impeccable no matter where you sit or what time of day you go. The servers all know the menu well and know the wine list just as well. They can help with suggestions and are more than happy to assist the diner with any questions without making you feel inferior.

The menu which changes daily features many classical French items such as charcuterie, steak tartare, Antipasti della Casa, home-made hot dog and other traditional items. The rest of the menu changes often and features seasonal ingredients. One of the many nights I have dined there they featured an heirloom tomato salad with shaved onions and parmigiano reggiano which is hard to go wrong with, I have also had a salad of thin white French asparagus dressed with truffle oil and spring onions which was wonderful. I have probably had their charcuterie at least half a dozen times and each time it is completely different and each time it is one of the best I have ever had.

The steak tartare is made very traditionally and served with some of the best toasted brioche I have ever had. The only dish I have had here that I was not one hundred percent satisfied with was the cassoulet. I was excited to see that it was made with the traditional Tarbais beans and the items added to it were appropriate, but the flavors were not melded from the meats and beans and the beans were a bit under-done. Someday I'll find a restaurant who gets that dish correct. I would have to say that any choice off the menu normally is without a doubt made close to perfection.

The wine list is extremely eclectic with many choices that you won't find at other restaurants or even in your local wine shop. Buying power from the multiple restaurants surely helps the wine directors for Barbaba Lynch's restaurants. In addition the restaurant's cheese program is increadible. They feature a large selection of cheeses to choose from and the selection changes often as to what is available. Most of their cheese comes from Formaggio Kitchen which is one of the top purveyors of cheese in the country.

During the day there is a full-service butcher available on premise. Meats that I have observed have been strip loin, rib-eye, hanger steak, foie gras, rabbit and others. In addition they sell many different in-house made charcuterie items such as mortadella, soppresatta, rillettes, terrine and many other items by the lb. or less or even more if desired. They also offer some pre-cooked items, depending on the season. In addition they sell many specialty items such as quail eggs and other items. You can also pick up fresh baked bread here daily in addition to many pickled items, oils and vinegars. The butcher is very knowledgeable and can help you make any decisions on your purchases and can also make suggestions on what to do with items.

Lunch is available 11am - 3:30pm each day with a slightly smaller menu than at night.
Dinner is available sunday & monday from 4:30 pm - 10 pm. and available tuesday - saturday from 4:30 pm - 11 pm.
Brunch is available on Saturday & Sunday from 11am - 3:30pm
The Butcher
is available Monday-Saturday from 11am - 8pm / Sunday until 5 pm.
Wine Bar
open daily until 12am / Sunday and Monday until 11 pm.

Average meal price $40.00+/person including glass of wine

Address: 552 Tremont St. Boston, MA

tel: 617.423.4800 arrow


Valet parking available after 5pm for $16 per car.

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