Butcher And The Boar
When the beef long rib comes to the table at Butcher and the Boar, it’s like the appearance of the Thanksgiving turkey: The table gets quiet and some people suppress the urge to clap. The rib is a foot long, smoked and wood-grilled until the Tabasco-glazed, deeply fatty meat starts to fall away, exposing a primal length of bone like Barney Rubble’s brontosaurus ribs.
Like that rib, the restaurant is geared up for a party. There are more six-tops than four-tops, most dishes are meant for sharing, the servers exude a warm conviviality, and the whole place glows with dark wood, soft lights, and slightly tarnished metal. In the open kitchen a bald and muscular Hephaestus—his face turning pink—then red, feeds logs into a fire that spits sparks toward the ceiling. With the other hand, he casually flips steaks.
The menu’s real showpieces are the platters of sausage and cured meats “for the table.” Chef Jack Riebel, now on his own after a long stint at the Dakota, has put an enormous amount of thought into both of these: wild boar ham with whipped butter, pickled beef heart (firm and full-flavored), and head cheese that could very well take head cheese mainstream. On the sausage platter, the smart knives will zero in on the carmine wild boar sausage.
With this meat-centric menu, Riebel could have slacked on the vegetable sides. Instead, he offers caramelized broccoli with toasted rye crackers; roasted cauliflower with Cajun blackening spices and—brilliant—capers; orange, yellow, and purple carrot coins in a silky, tangy bourbon sauce; and little pots of sorghum butter to top sweet, cakey cornbread.
Dessert is equally thoughtful and even more festive: Grasshopper pie is a chilled, minty mousse, banana pudding a gingery update of the classic, and a s’mores platter has all the marks of house-made.
From the long rib to the last playful marshmallow, dining at Butcher and the Boar is celebratory and communal, upscale but not formal, and utterly unique.