Monday, February 27, 2012
Butcher Bar Goes All in with Meat
It's been quite a while that I've been longing to visit Butcher Bar, and last week after Queens Swap, I finally got the chance. I'm a serious meat lover as you know, and learning about a new eatery/shop, boasting organic, local and natural meat really piqued my interest. Meg has tried it a few times and raved about it, which is just good enough for me, being that she's the arbiter of responsible food.
As I hinted above, Butcher Bar isn't just a restaurant, but also a butcher shop where you can buy your meat by the pound. It's a great local option, allowing you to get quality meat right in your neck of the woods, and it seemed like quite a lot of folks were taking advantage of that, as there was a line at the butcher counter when we came in.
The restaurant portion is small but really endearing with a cheery red and brown decor. There's a few small tables for the most part, and a couple of 4 tops along the left wall. I like that the overall vibe is casual and fun, and reminds me of a down-home BBQ restaurant. We happened to score one of the larger tables, which gave us prime (pun intended) access to the meat display, which is a thing of beauty.
Dan, Kimberly and I couldn't wait for the meat extravaganza to begin and we each chose a different type of sandwich to enjoy, as well as one side. All three of us loved our sandwiches, and of course swapped little bites with each other, creating some serious food envy.
Pulled Pork & Pulled Chicken Sandwich - The reason I'm grouping these together is because they looked exactly the same, and apparently were very similar in taste too. It's sort of a running joke at this point, as I ended up eating Kimberly's pulled pork sandwich instead of my pulled chicken. Honest mistake...I promise.
Both options were yummy and it really was difficult to tell one apart from the other. The texture was just awesome, chunky bits smoked pulled pork (and chicken) that were dressed with Butcher Bar's signature sweet and smoky BBQ sauce. Even though the bun was substantial, I pulled the top off and ate it as an open faced sandwich, putting extra bbq sauce on top.
Beef Burnt Ends Sandwich - Wow! Dan's burnt ends sandwich was a show-stopper, and I may just have to get it next time. Topped with double smoked brisket deckel that Butcher Bar refers to as "meat candy," it was just that, with slightly burned edges and really tender smoky meat that reminds you of deep South cuisine. Each piece was a treat, and just like the pork and chicken, the bbq sauce further brought out its deliciousness. Hard core meat lovers take note, this is a serious looking (and tasting!) sandwich.
Sweet Potato Wedges - Even though our sandwiches came with a side of cole slaw and pickles, we still wanted to try a side dish and ordered the sweet potato wedges. I liked how simple and meaty they were, cut into large chunks, boasting a nice golden crust as well as that signature smoky flavor. You guessed it...we dipped them into more bbq sauce and enjoyed pairing them with our various meats. Even though the portion wasn't too large, it was just enough to share between 2-3 people.
Service and Cost:
I'm happy to say that just like the food, the service was also wonderful. We were happily accommodated with a larger table, despite the place being crowded and never felt rushed to leave. The waitstaff has a friendly, casual attitude and they represent Butcher Bar's values quite well, promoting a collaborative, approachable atmosphere.
Costs are on the high side but actually quite fair when you consider the high quality:
Smoked Ribs - $16.99/half rack, $29.99/full rack
Butcher's Platters - $12.49 - $27.99
Sandwiches - $9.99 - $12.99
Sides - $3.99 - $4.99
Dessert - $3.99
Butcher Bar - 37-08 30th Avenue, Astoria NY 11103
N/Q Train to 30th Avenue