For weeks, I’ve been seeing and hearing about Butcher and
the Boar. The Star Tribune named it their 2012 Restaurant of the Year. It’s in
the one-spot at Urbanspoon’s Talk of the Town list. I’ve had two people at the
office tell me how excited they are to try it, that they’ve heard it’s amazing,
that they can’t get there quickly enough.
You see one picture of the lobster grilled cheese sandwich and you’re pulled in immediately. If you don’t have your next man-date on the calendar, look at this and it basically schedules itself. I called up Ducky, locked in President’s Date, and spent a week being what my wife called “meta-excited:” I was excited to be excited to eat that sandwich.
Parking meters had turned off two hours ago.
I sauntered into the restaurant in my wool coat and scarf with my man-date hugging himself in a windbreaker fleece behind me while his feet pitter-pattered across the asphalt (The Weather Channel has a website, people, look at it once in a while). Our table was waiting for us.
Beers were first. Ducky ordered a Left Hand Milk Stout and I talked myself into Surly's new Pentagram beer. As the waiter described it to me, it sounded worse, and worse ... and worse ... and worse ... until he called it "almost the opposite of an IPA." That's it, I'm in! And then it came.
I should have stayed out.
Want a good service practice, check this out: The bartender heard my opinion of the beer ("It tastes like a bad decision") and insisted he bring me another beer for free. I traded up for a Left Hand of my own.
You already know what I ordered. For Ducky, Butcher's first impression rode on the crab spaghetti. The wait was short; and I was still snapping pictures of my sandwich when I heard the first "O-ho, duuuuude." I looked up and saw Ducky pointing at his dish with his fork. "Phenomenal."
I squished down a corner of my sandwich and took my first bite. It was a home run - no, it was 40 home runs. Every mouthful landed in the upper deck. It was cheesy, it was gooey, it got on my face everywhere and it was basic but marvelous. And they're doing this with a grilled cheese sandwich. When words fail, I tend to just nod. I'm surprised my neck didn't break.
During the course of our meal, Ducky only said two things: "Duuuude," and "Whoa-ho-ho-ho-ho." Every bite sounded like he was being shot out of a circus cannon. He would slump into his chair, his head would tilt back, and he would regain his composure for another bite. Put this sequence in a different setting and you've got another Exorcist movie.
Near the end of our meals, we traded bites. His spaghetti was minty, spicy, and noodly in all the right ways. It was everything you'd want spaghetti to be if you wanted spaghetti to be everything. The best tastes are the unexpected ones; and that dish had a handful of them. Back on our own plates, I cleaned the walls of my skillet with my finger while Ducky used his spoon to scoot every last molecule of spaghetti onto his fork. It's that real, people.
Of course we had dessert. Gingersnap Banana Pudding for Ducky, Grasshopper Semifreddo for me. The semifreddo was, at its heart, dressed-up mint chocolate chip ice cream - which I much enjoyed. We switched bites at the end, and we were both happy we had ordered what we ordered (I'm just not that into pudding).
Expect a two-bro tab to jump over $60 if you both dive into drinks and desserts. The portions sizes don't make you jump through the ceiling, but it's worth every penny. It left me the perfect amount of full, and left Ducky wanting to sit in his car overnight and bask in bloated glory. Today on Facebook, Ducky wrote: “I woke up this morning thinking about that spaghetti.”
All I can think about now is getting back on that trail.