In the Twin Cities for a whirlwind couple of days, I found myself at Butcher and the Boar in Minneapolis. As a James Beard Semi-Finalist last year, I was expecting some good things. After seeing they had Take the Back on tap, I knew I was in for something good. Since I was with a couple of other people that supported my unvegan needs and the menu seemed made for sharing, we decided to go in on a few things together.
It began with their Stuffed Jalapenos. Unlike normal jalapeno poppers, these things were fresh and stuffed with a peanut butter cream cheese and some golden raisins. To make them look fancy, there was a sprinkling of cotija cheese and some sprouts. I found it easy to avoid the sprouts and pushed them on my friends. These turned out to be incredibly delicious and a sort of spicy grown-up version of that delicious childhood snack known as ants on a log.
We went with their Sausage Sampler as our main course, which was three brats (yes, because we were in the Northwoods) without any sort of bun, but with a mixture of sides. The sausages were a wild boar hotlink, a Texas beef link, and pork and cheddar. Each was cooked to a perfect char and ready to be chowed on. The Texas link was really great with the BBQ sauce that came with it. The boar had probably the best standalone flavor and nice kick to go with it. As for the pork and cheddar, it was obviously delicious, but I couldn’t help but think that it was only great because of the cheese. Meanwhile, had either of the other two brats been stuffed with cheese, I have to believe they would have been better. The sides were mostly cole slaw-ish so I allowed my friends to take them down while I went to work on a real side.
That side was their Taleggio Pancetta Mac & Cheese. It was spiral noodles topped with a sort of cheese sauce, pancetta and bread crumbs. It was good, but really nothing too special compared to the brats and jalapenos.
Butcher and the Boar was definitely worth the stop. It was also clutch having a couple people to split with because had I only been able to eat one thing, I think I would have left wanting more. As it was, I could see myself paying more visits if I lived in the Twin Cities.