The two-story space where M1NT and Republik once held court lay vacant for so long, we were worried that no one would ever bite. But then the folks behind Play and Brickhouse took a chance on it, and boy, are we glad they did. The descriptor “New York-style” has been thrown around a lot, but Blue Butcher might be the closest thing that actually feels like it.
There are many nooks for seating, from the little open-air area by the bar at ground level, to a little banquetted enclave partway up the stairs, to the large first-floor area. The design, of course, takes a backseat to the meat.
Of the five dishes we tried, the ones tailor-made for carnivores were standouts—the US tenderloin, and the kurobata pork belly atop a bed of lentils. The oxtail tortellini (we were surprised to find one big tortellino rather a bunch of linis when the plate arrived at the table) and the chocolate pudding were solid, while the beetroot salad was simply all right. Clearly, the veggies aren’t the focus here, and that’s okay, because what’s emphasized—animal parts of all kinds, such as a popular bone marrow appetizer—is executed basically to perfection.
The cocktail list deserves separate accolades—a Prohibition-themed drink of apple pie moonshine is authentically (and cheekily) served in a paper bag. The waitstaff were friendly, attentive—in short, Yardbird-level excellent; the food is a cut above similar fare at Bloom.
The soundtrack and décor are eclectic (think neon signs combined with antique knickknacks, and The Postal Service followed by Flo Rida), yet somehow Blue Butcher is good enough to not only get away with it, but make it feel totally natural and completely satisfying—sort of like a nice cut of meat.