Scientists speculate that eating meat helped humans evolve larger brains, leading to such inventions as the wheel and corndog-on-a-stick. Satisfy both your grey matter and your taste buds with today's Groupon to The Butcher Block in Northeast Minneapolis. For $25, you'll get $50 worth of Italian cuisine, fine wine, chicken wings, and more.
The Butcher Block takes its name from Chef Filippo Caffari, a master butcher from Rome who previously shared his Italian culinary skills with Twin Cities residents at I Nonni. Caffari does his own meat cutting and grinding on-site, which allows the restaurant to offer affordable menu prices while ensuring the finest quality fresh meats. Caffari's Old World meat treats are prepared in-house, including dry-cured pancetta, guanciale (an unsmoked Italian bacon), lamb prosciutto, and coppa salami. Because The Butcher Block emphasizes organic, grass-fed, and sustainable sources, each succulent bite delivers the optimal, guilt-free nutrients that fuel curling champs and manic mail carriers.
The Butcher Block's menu features toothsome appetizers such as the lamb sausage and smoked mozzarella ($12) and carpaccio ($10), a raw beef tenderloin with arugula, Parmesan, lemon, and olive oil. Caffari’s skill with meat and Italian preparation comes through strongly on the lamb chops ($19), served with roasted potatoes and cannellini-bean puree. On Fridays and Saturdays after 9 p.m., you can graze on a collection of juicy chicken wings available in 14 signature flavors, including caramelized-onion balsamic, Thai peanut, coriander-cumin lime, and volcano.
Should your meat teeth be in the shop, or your date a vegetarian, The Butcher Block also whips up some seafood and veggie dishes, including a number of Italian pastas, like the handmade potato gnocchi ($16) with shrimp and zucchini, or a beet and arugula salad with gorgonzola and pine nuts ($9). The Butcher Block does seafood right, too, earning a best dish of 2009 award from TwinCities.com for the grilled octopus appetizer ($12). Amidst the dark and cozy atmosphere of a charming Italian trattoria, The Butcher Block naturally offers an extensive list of Italian and international libations, along with domestic wines and beers. You’ll find plenty of glasses for around $5 and bottles for around $15. The Butcher Block opens for dinner nightly at 5 p.m.
TwinCities.com lists The Butcher Block's grilled octopus as one of the best dishes of 2009:
- Good company, good wine and a plate of grilled octopus with mixed greens — that's my idea of a perfect light supper at the Butcher Block, chef Filippo Caffari's oh-so-Italian trattoria in Northeast Minneapolis. The octopus has an elusive smoky char on the outside yet is amazingly tender inside. – Kathie Jenkins
- As the name promises, the menu is mainly meat. They serve a lovely beef Carpaccio that’s as rosy as berries and pleasantly rich and glossy. An entrée of braised-beef short ribs cacciatore was nothing short of exquisite, the meat tender as jelly, the flavors as intense and finely honed as I’ve ever experienced. – Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, Minnesota Monthly
- ...pastas are toothy and richly flavored, salads are generous, a burger with a fried egg is monstrous, and the wings are pleasing and a great value. – Stephanie March, Mpls.St. Paul
The Butcher Block Restaurant
For nearly two decades, Chef Filippo Caffari mastered the skills of butchery in Rome. Since relocating to Minneapolis, the executive chef of The Butcher Block Restaurant draws upon that training to prepare a range of organic, grass-fed, and sustainable meats. On his authentic Italian menu, mashed potatoes and mushrooms accompany lamb scottadito, and house-ground pork sausage flavors a rigatoni in a truffle cream sauce.
Even without meat, Chef Filippo brings out Italy's flavors with items like butternut squash ravioli in a brown butter and sage sauce. He concludes meals with desserts such as tiramisu infused with housemade limoncello and zucchini cake. To complement these delicacies, guests can peruse a wine list that features bottles from around the world.