Karen and I are in Cleveland, OH this weekend. I feel a kindred spirit with Cleveland because Cleveland and Detroit have been on the wrong side of so many lists for so long. It is refreshing and inspiring to see a city like Cleveland alive and well. It speaks good things to the potential of Detroit.
Butcher and the Brewer is located on East 4th Street, Cleveland. It almost has a feel of Printer’s Alley in Nashville – a street where cars are not allowed and people jam the sidewalk moving from place to place, restaurant to bar to bar back to a restaurant. Everyone we talked to about restaurants automatically said East 4th Street and that there is this place or that place. If you haven’t been here, you better come. Especially on a summer night when the Tribe is playing. The block is simply charged with energy. Music, noise, people talking and a nice breeze all come together to make for a great summer evening downtown.
Brittany is our server tonight. And with the calm, cool demeanor of a Midwesterner, she winked, smiled, and said “I got this” as we asked her to Bring Us Dinner.
First up, Brittany picked out a sampler plate called Charcuterie Board. This plate included a sample of their own Smoked Knackwurst, a Duck Prosciutto, and the Prairie Breeze Cheddar. Served on the side was a Whole Grain Mustard and a Jalapeno Marmalade. Oh my…
Now this first plate strikes me that it changes seasonally, if not daily, depending on what the chef has prepared. Brittany picked some amazing entries. The duck prosciutto was served paper thin. The cheddar, a white cheddar, had a firm texture with a sweet finish – a hint of pineapple according to their menu. And the whole grain mustard, clearly homemade, had a nice finish that left you knowing it was mustard.
For me, however, the jalapeno marmalade simply stole the show of this dish. It was just fantastic. There was enough sweet to know it was a marmalade, and enough heat to let you know with certainty that it was jalapenos. The sweet and heat were balanced perfectly and to the point that I would be happy eating it by itself. Just ADDICTING…
Next up were Bacon-Wrapped Dates. Again, because who could go wrong with bacon. The dates themselves are stuffed with a ground chorizo and manchego cheese and the whole thing with a Piquillo Pepper sauce. Gluten free for sure and off the chain delicious.
Did I mention that we were eating outside on East 4th Street, enjoying our meal and people watching. Seriously, I love big city downtown areas. I never grow tired of them. And Karen and I felt right at home.
Moving through our experience of Butcher and the Brewer, Brittany brought us the Diver Scallops. The scallops are seared on both sides and served on a blanket of whipped celery root. Served on the side is a chutney of golden raisins, pistachios, capers, and apples. The combination is out of this world. I’m ready to lick the plate.
For the main course, Brittany (and maybe several others) picked the Crispy Pork Shank (a pork blade steak) with Charred Broccolini. My compliments because they took their menu offering and made it Gluten-free. The pork was served with a Kimchi and a Korean bbq sauce as opposed to their Buttermilk dressing and Naan bread. Simply delicious. The broccolini, on the other hand, was stunning. It had a nice smoky flavor which is enhanced by the feta cheese and the almonds. I love broccoli anyway, but this simple preparation was delicious. The timing of the char was perfect and not overdone.
Brittany’s choices were perfect. And more importantly, her portion control was spot on. What she served us left us satiated and not stuffed. One final note, if you happen to find yourself at Butcher and the Brewer, please check out the architecture and the bathrooms. They make a big point of paying homage to Cleveland’s industrial heritage. Probably one of the reasons I enjoyed this place so much is that it makes me think of my own heritage growing up with a family that was part of the auto industry from the 40’s through the 1970s. Never forget where you are from and what makes you who you are.