Butcher Block – Minneapolis


I find it quite difficult to get a decent bottle of affordable wine in a restaurant.

Much of the time, restaurant wines in the $30 – $40 range (or less) lack character. However, many of us (especially those of us who dine out often and love our wine!) can’t shell out much more than that.

This isn’t the case at Butcher Block Restaurant.

We’ve found a keeper!

Li Veli Passamante Negroamaro Salice Salentino, Italy

This was our fourth trip to Butcher Block in and our server informed us of their new wine list (not even online yet at the time of this writing) and encouraged us to take our time perusing the menu and to ask any questions.

While Butcher Block is known for high quality meat (employing a master-butcher who worked in Rome for twenty years), the new wine list had a more diverse selection of Italian wines to complement the Italian dishes and meats on the menu.

Oh how we love our Italian wines!

It wasn’t always this way. In fact, my husband didn’t care for Italian wine until his first trip to Italy. It was there where we decided that they send all the bad Chiantis to the U.S. and keep all the good stuff for themselves. (Okay, so maybe we just didn’t know what to buy and stuck with the cheap stuff). Now, quality Italian wines are some of our favorites and we know the good stuff is worth an extra couple of dollars!

Thank you, Butcher Block!

Li Veli Negroamaro, Puglia, Italy – $32

Negroamaro isn’t a well known grape here in the U.S., so my husband couldn’t remember having had it before. I tried to describe the bottle we’d loved (that is low in stock) from The Traveling Vineyard®Messapicus Salice Salentino.

It was a great price for a restaurant wine, so we inquired about it:

“Well, it’s on the drier side.(Great! We like our Italian wines dry, and what I call “dusty”). “And it’s actually become one of our chef’s new favorites…”

I don’t even know what she said after that, but knowing the chef loved it was all it took to say, “SOLD!” I knew it would likely go with well with a lot of the dishes on the menu.

And it was just as I had a imagined – dry and dusty with hints of fruit and earth. It got even better the longer it was opened. I couldn’t believe that we found an affordable wine in a restaurant of such exceptional quality.

After my salad, my Pork & Ricotta meatballs arrived as my main dish. We’d had this before… as an appetizer. But I loved them so much that I didn’t want to share this time.

Pork & Ricotta Meatballs

Okay, this picture doesn’t do these meatballs justice! They are tender, juicy, moist, flavorful. Almost perfect… this time they were lukewarm. I’m not good about sending things back that aren’t to my liking… but I’m working on it. (What happens back in the kitchen?) Nevertheless, I would have never screamed at this dish, “SEASON IT ALREADY!

Rob ordered the Rigatoni alla  Norcina – pasta with house ground sausage and truffle cream. I love when he orders dishes like this!  It’s because I love sausage – not the most healthy meat on the planet. So, I can have one or two bites without having to order it myself. And the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente. Can’t get much better than that.

Rigatoni alla Norcina

Butcher Block can get busy. So make reservations. Or go at 5pm on Sunday night. Sunday nights make great date nights. Hey, we’re non-traditional.


One response »

  1. Pingback: The Bulldog Northeast | Season It Already!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.