Monday, January 9, 2012

Butcher Bar now serving lunch

(The 50/50--smoked brisket & pulled pork--topped with the house blend of sharp & mild cheddar and muenster) 

Butcher Bar (37-08 30th Ave, Astoria)

The very first week it opened, Butcher Bar was such an overwhelming hit that lunch service had to be suspended simply to accommodate the massive catering orders that came soaring in.  One visit to the pristine space that promises to outshine even some of the best smokehouses in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and it doesn’t take a cowboy to realize that something extraordinary is going on here. Luckily for patrons, lunch service resumed last week.

The decor is part museum, part general store, part library--all homage to great butchers who served as inspiration.

“There are so many important issues sourcing meats,” explains co-owner Matthew Katakis, “we decided doing it ourselves is the best way to ensure the highest quality.”  A tour of the entire facility reveals not a single freezer.  “I won’t even get a freezer for ice cream for the apple pie,” laughs Katakis.  The always-fresh rotating boutique selection of meats changes daily.  The unused portions are cooked off and donated to City Harvest.

The setup is part boutique butcher, part restaurant.  At the meat counter, stocked daily with a selection of fresh meats and homemade sausages, customers can choose cuts and patties to take home, or opt to dine in at one of the tables in the front restaurant portion.  Takeout and dine-in customers may also choose to order from the carver by the 1/4 pound from a selection of 12-hour slow smoked brisket, pulled pork, house-roasted turkey, pork belly, and daily sausage specials.

Regardless your decision, it would be a sin not to order at least 1/4 pound of their double-smoked burnt ends--the delicacy of excellent barbecue. The crispy smokey coating gives way to cubes of brisket rendered unbelievably tender and sweet.

Bob's burger is a 1/2-lb patty blended with brisket and smoked bacon, offering a saltiness and moisture that I found to be an absolutely superior combination, drizzled with BBQ (we added mild cheddar--though it would be fantastic without).  All sandwiches are served with classic cole slaw and a pickle.

Perfectly rectangular racks of St. Louis -style ribs are like a culinary BBQ playground--excessively sticky, sweet, and ridiculously tender, with a lot of meat on the bone... some of the most superior ribs I have ever enjoyed.

The food is refreshingly straightforward, with no gimmicks.  An extremely enthusiastic staff eagerly answers questions, and provides exceptional service (a complimentary slice of apple pie arrives at the end of the meal on some evenings).  Ask to see the backyard area (where summer barbecues will commence in the warm season) or to take a peak at the Combi oven--a combination cooker that allows the control of humidity with dry or steam cooking--ideal for meats, as well as baking.

Sides are served picnic style in cardboard boats, offering a country touch.  Mac & cheese is creamy and delicious (the imported organic noodles are available for sale).  Green beans have a kiss of smoked bacon.  Baked beans are sweet and tangy.  Potato wedges arrive golden or sweet.  Mini corn cakes are served with warm honey butter.

Everything sold both at the counter and in the dining room is aimed to be local, fresh, and organic.  “Our number one priority, however, is on really knowing the farms where we purchase,” explains Katakis.  The products are all free of any growth hormones or prophylactic antibiotics, and strictly avoid all contained animal feedlot operations.  The dining room décor, part museum, part general store, part library pays homage to other great butchers who served as inspiration.  But it probably won’t be long at all before patrons start heralding Butcher Bar as one of those greats.

Click the menu to enlarge

The menu also offers catering options that include 3-ft. and 6-ft. natural heroes, as well as catered BBQ parties with whole spit-roasted lamb or pig.

Butcher Bar on Urbanspoon


Ramzi said...

I always have to choose between brisket and pulled pork when I go to bbq places..that 50/50 looks amazing!

Vantage Properties said...

Astoria has some of the best food around! With so many delicious options on the menu, how do you possibly choose?

Burgerac said...

Pray tell, where is this awesome establishment? I have just made it my life's goal to get there - address please!

amuse*bouche said...

LOL... yikes, major oversight! I added the address and website at the heading!

Burgerac said...

Ah, the crucial address - thanks for adding that. Great photos, great write up, great blog. Keep up the good work!

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