Wednesday, December 11, 2013

First Take: Urban Butcher

Thanks to an invite from the proprietors to last night's soft opening, I was able to get a sneak peak of Urban Butcher, which I hereby dub "UrBu", as it sounds more sophisticated and less gruesome. (Though I hesitate to coin nicknames, as I may end up getting mocked in a public forum years later for even suggesting that I came up with a nickname after it is appropriated by the entity owning the thing to which the nickname was assigned. But I digress.)

When I first heard of the concept of Urban Butcher, I wondered if it would prove to be more of a butcher shop with a restaurant or a restaurant with a butcher shop. It was immediately evident upon entering the premises that this was indeed primarily a restaurant, though one that features a fully operational butcher shop. The first thing you see as you enter is a cozy lounge area surrounded by floor to ceiling windows (and a glass garage door) that look out onto the Georgia Avenue streetscape.

Industrial chic?
As soon as you pass the lounge, the focus of the restaurant is immediately clear. To your left are glass cases displaying a variety of animal parts, while immediately in front of you is a large wood-lined meat locker where sausages and additional animal parts hang. This place is clearly designed to exhibit the maximum amount of meat possible. Personally, I don't need to see my meal before it's cooked (or read a file on the animal I'm eating), but it doesn't bother me, either.

To your right, there is a long bar which sits in front of more glass garage doors. They could really open this place up to the street when weather permits.

While their initial menu does feature a variety of meats (and fish), most of the food initially served last night was pig-based, and as I just don't dig on swine, I can't really speak to the taste. The opinions I heard were positive, however. I did eventually try the lamb empanadas that were brought around, and they were quite delicious.

They had copies of their menus floating around, and a quick scan identified quite a number of items I'd be very interested in trying. While vegetarians and vegans might not find a whole lot to eat here, that's not really going to be their core customer base. It seems as pescatarians will fare a bit better, as there are a few seafood items available.

Overall, I think Urban Butcher/UrBu has quite a bit of promise, as they have constructed a nice atmosphere in their space and have developed an intriguing menu. Their take-out butcher service should also be an nice option for those who opt to cook at home.

Unrelated, but on my way home last night I passed by Fire Station 1 at about 8:30 and it was packed. Despite being frequently maligned in the comments section of this blog, it must be doing a good business if that's what it looks like on a Tuesday night.