Would we go back:
308 E Hennepin Ave
• radicchio balsamico $15 (shared)
• Tuna Special Starter (shared)
• spaghetti mediterranean $16
• chocolate torta $9 (shared)
Butcher Block was better than I expected. The space is not pretty, but is reminiscent of a larger city space, no natural light and kinda squeezed in. Also we were there at a very busy time and there was a lot of moving tables around over people etc, which is rarely seen in a restaurant that is trying to be high end. To be fair they did have two huge parties which threw the balance of the room off. One was a group off to the prom so that was fun to watch as usual. I will say there was plenty of entertainment in simply watching the surroundings so that was a plus.
The food was ok. The starter was nothing too great, but not terrible either. The salad was way too expensive for what it was. My pasta was actually quite nice and I really enjoyed it. The dessert was good, but nothing worth $9.
Overall I doubt we will be back, there are too many restaurants at their price point doing a much better job even in NE. Also they are right next to Pizza Nea which is always hard to walk past on our way to some place else.
• gnocchi al pasticciati $15
The evening at the Butcher Block was one of the more bizarre dining experiences in terms of overselling reservations that I can remember in the Twin Cities. The Butcher Block space seats about 50 people, and that night, there was a party of 20 prom-goers. On two occasions, the staff had to lift and move chairs over our heads to assemble tables. In some ways, I didn't mind because they have to make most of their money on Friday and Saturday nights. But in other ways, I did mind because they really oversold reservations. You get the definite impression that this group is passionate about their restaurant, but they struggled the night we were there.
The tuna special that we had was slightly overcooked and the tuna itself was not the best piece of tuna, perhaps past its prime (hence the special? at a not-so-special price?). The radicchio balsamico with grilled pear, walnut, and pecorino Romano was good, but they skimped on the toppings. The gnocchi was a little below average: on the dry side and not much flavor. The chocolate torta was okay, but overpriced. Overall, I would not recommend Butcher Block.
$20 and up
April 16, 2011