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“Great Little Italian Restaurant”
Review of The Butcher Block Restaurant - CLOSED

The Butcher Block Restaurant
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $20 - $30
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: University
Description: Welcome to the Butcher Block, where meat is our passion; organic, grass-fed, and sustainable are our principles; and serving great-tasting food – with or without meat – is our priority.We’re inspired by the cozy neighborhood trattorias you find in Rome and throughout Italy, but we're located right here in Northeast Minneapolis.We chose the name "Butcher Block" in honor of Filippo Caffari, our butcher, who was a skilled master-butcher in Rome for almost two decades, before moving to Minneapolis to become head chef at I Nonni in Mendota Heights. Chef Caffari is one of the finest Italian chefs in the Twin Cities.To accompany our remarkable Italian meals, we offer an extensive Italian and international wine list, as well as many fine domestic wines and beers. Our goal is to fuse the best of Italian culinary skills with the freshest ingredients, so you can experience authentic Italian dining.The only passport required is your love of great Italian food.
Reviewed November 16, 2013

Just got back from my 2nd time enjoying this restaurant.
This time I had the fettucini with pancetta and mushrooms and my husband had the spaghetti with pork and ricotta meatballs. Both were very tasty and just the right portion so did not feel stuffed upon leaving. We also had the fried calamari, was a little disappointed in this dish as it was slightly too salty. The first time visiting here, I had the rigatoni alla norcina with pork sausage and truffle cream sauce and my husband had the new York strip with roasted potato and pancetta. Both dishes were delicious. We also started with the antipasto misto which is a chef's selection of meat, cheeses, and olives, this was a totally fabulous selection, I went out and bought one of the cheeses at Surdyk's next door after we left. The wait staff is very attentive without being overzealous, and are very knowledgable about the menu. I highly recommend this independently owned restaurant either as a date night or just a nice night out.
Oh, and you MUST try their lemoncello, it is Totally delicious

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Thank medtech2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (142)
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87 - 91 of 142 reviews

Reviewed November 13, 2013

I heard about this place and the menu looked great, so I decided to try it. We walked in and there were no windows in the main dining area, which is a little weird. The lighting was terrible - way too bright and felt very cafeteria-like. Also, the structure of the tables was really awkward and the waitress kept tripping over our chair. It was weird.

The service was also subpar. Our waitress was really awkward, and I'm saying this as a really awkward person myself. But I don't work in customer service for a reason, and she shouldn't either. My friend and I realized that we actually dreaded her coming to check on us because every interaction we had was uncomfortable. Secondly, I ordered a bottle of Pellegrino for us. The waitress informed me that the Pellegrino would not be cold due to some kind of refrigerator problems, so she could get us a bottle of frizzante instead. So I asked her what brand the frizzante was out of curiosity, and she just repeated that it was frizzante. I mean I get not being aware of the brand and that's fine, but if I just wanted bubbly water I would have ordered club soda, and Pellegrino is not the same thing. A tiny concern, I know, but she should be a little more knowledgable about what they're offering.

The food was eh. We each had a salad and a pasta, which were average at best. The salads were pretty standard, but the pasta dishes fell short of our expectations. My friend had fettucine porcini with smoked pancetta, and I don't know if it's just my personal experience, but whenever I was served pancetta it is smaller pieces of meat that are a little crispy on the outside and kind of integrated into the dish. In this dish, my friend was served fettucine with a few huge pieces of meat and mushroom, and she didn't even want to finish it. I ordered the mezze lune butternut squash ravioli, and they were okay. There was nothing wrong with them, but they were not the typical foodgasm-inducing butternut squash ravioli that I've had at other restaurants.

We were actually planning on sticking around for dessert but we decided to leave after the pasta because of the weird experience we had had up until that point.

So the atmosphere gets a complete thumbs down, waitstaff gets an awkward thumbs down, and food gets a hesitant "okay," but I would definitely not recommend this place to anyone in the Twin Cities. There are far better places to spend your money.

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Thank MarissaRyan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2013

Perhaps I had set myself up for disappointment by being overly optimistic about dinner at the Butcher Block or perhaps I should have chosen the chef's special but realistically it wasn't simply about the choice of entree but my disappointment extends to the 'dining experience' in total. The Butcher Block's website is beautiful and full of promising culinary delights. I decided beforehand that I would probably order a cut of beef seeing as a restaurant with the name Butcher Block would most likely know a thing or two about excellent meat, especially beef, and eating red meat is something I do only rarely. But I get ahead of myself. Firstly the restaurant itself is at the back of a larger building, no windows and decorated in dark browns with contrasting dark beige walls...somber in tone. I don't know Italy, I've only been there twice, but I guess I had hoped for a friendlier group of waitstaff, a cheerier environment, not unsophisticated mind you but something more beautiful. Our waiter was a nice polite guy but completely unknowledgeable about the wines, or much of anything else we asked, and it seemed we must have been his very first customers because he had to keep checking with other waitstaff about items we were interested in on the menu. The wine list was impressive in that it was long and I don't pretend to be knowledgeable myself about wines except for the basics but it turned out they didn't have the wine my husband ordered, we waited over 20 minutes before the waiter informed him of this, and finally we each were served a glass of wine. Along with the wine was a bread basket, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Now, I don't know about you, but the only bread that really stands up to olive oil is a chewy, glutenous, crunchy-crusted bread, instead we found a soft, wonder-breadesque substitute in the basket. This was unbelievable to me but we ate it nonetheless because we were hungry and also we wanted something with the wine. It was OK. We ordered an antipasto of peppers and sausage in a tomato sauce. This was quite good, especially the tomato sauce and I used the bread to sop it up. Little did I know that would turn out to be the best part of my meal. The sausage was a little too salty for me. For me a good restaurant (and certainly this is true of very good and excellent restaurants) has the timing of the service down to a science with the customer having enough time to enjoy the food in from of him/her before the next course is presented etc. First we waited entirely too long for anything to be presented to us and then whilst we are still eating our antipasto another waitperson arrives with our main entree. Not only did she not realize that her timing was off but there was no apology, no attempt to make the customer happy by perhaps returning to the kitchen with our entrees so as to keep them warm but again unbelievably she attempted to set these three large plates down on top of the plates we were using for the antipasto! I have no idea what she was thinking -- nothing apparently. I had to strongly suggest that she remove the antipasto plates FIRST, my husband was hurriedly taking his last bite, before she try to put the others down! OK, now we have our entrees. I had ordered the strip steak which looked delicious, it certainly was big, but it was tough. Not so tough as to return it to the kitchen but definitely not a fine cut of beef. The flavor was better than average but just. There were some unremarkable potatoes as well. My husband chose the braised short ribs, again he said the meat under the fatty exterior was very good; however, he had to cut away much of the fat before he could eat the meat. Also the accompanying broth was very salty. He ordered fried leeks. I love leeks but these were breaded, like onion rings and not worthy of consumption. After all of this we decided to share a dessert as many of these sounded quite interesting by their descriptions. We choose the cannoli because, again, thinking in an Italian restaurant we will get authentic cannoli. What a disappointment! No cannoli present on the plate but instead some triangular shaped "crackers" with 3 tiny scoops of a ricotta ice cream and a tiny dollop of cream on top. When the waitperson asked how I liked the dessert I said, 'this isn't cannoli'. We got the bill and I do not mind paying a substantial amount of money if the 'experience' is worthy but it made me very unhappy to pay last night's bill. I will not recommend this restaurant to anyone and in fact if necessary I will give out a warning to anyone who mentions their intent on dining there.

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Thank Janlett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 23, 2013

I've been meaning to try the Butcher Block for a while, but a Groupon got me in the door. I will absolutely be back. We went on a quiet Tuesday, though business was picking up as we were leaving. Our server was knowledgeable and attentive without being pushy, exactly what we like. I found the atmosphere to be warm and relaxing. Since a view of the Mediterranean isn't going to happen on Hennepin Ave, I didn't miss the windows. My husband and I shared the calamari appetizer, porcini fettucine, and short ribs with an asparagus side. Everything was flavorful and well prepared. I especially loved the fettucine. The pasta had the perfect toothiness and the pancetta didn't overwhelm the mushrooms. The dish looked a bit small for dinner but it was very filling. For dolce, I had the limoncello tiramisu and my husband tried the souffle with ice cream. We agreed they were both a perfect finish. I need to come back with more friends, so we can try a larger range of dishes.

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Thank Muirenn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 19, 2013

Filippo is a master, in the kitchen of his restaurant as well as host. He always surprises me with new culinary discoveries and rare but yet affordable wines, perfect combinations. My advice: look at the menu, enjoy but let him guide you into his great world of taste and flavors. Ideal for a romantic evening as well as business and fiends/families. BUON APPETITO.

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1  Thank Nicola61Ita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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