Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Butcher & Bull

Chef Richard Miller's newest venture into the culinary world is a knockout. Located inside the Marriott in Downtown Winston-Salem, Butcher & Bull is doing so many things right. From their ample bar, to prompt and courteous service, and from the excellent cooking techniques all the way to the plates and glassware - I could not have been more thrilled by the meal and experience I had there last week. Chef Miller stays true to his passion for local ingredients, and many NC farms and butchers are found on his menu. Throughout the month of January and February, they're participating in downtown Winston-Salem's "The Big Eat," so you can try a featured dish for half the price! That should be enough to lure you there, but the experience itself will have you returning. I can't wait to go back.

My dining partner and I were there for "The Big Eat" special, but we wanted to try a handful of other dishes, so we opted to start with the Spanish Octopus. When done correctly, octopus is phenomenal. And at Butcher & Bull, it's done to perfection. The octopus is charred, and not rubbery at all. It reminded me of a thick slab of bacon. It's served with a Roasted Red Pepper sauce, Red Island Sea Beans that reminded us of Crowder Peas, thinly sliced Celery and thickly cubed Chorizo. This might seem like a risky dish, but I promise you - if you're an adventurous eater and haven't tried Octopus, try it here. It's outstanding!
Charred Octopus
The Big Eat special is something I definitely would have selected on my own. Perfectly cooked, melt in your mouth Scallops sit atop buttery, velvety Parsnip Puree, and are topped with crispy, salty fried parsnip strips. Chef adds in a few local mushrooms for meatiness, and drizzles some Smoked Shoyu Butter on top for good measure, and to give it a boost of umami flavor. One of the most outstanding scallop dishes I've ever had. The parsnips are more exciting than mashed potatoes, and the addition of mushrooms and fried parsnips for chew and crunch is imperative, since the scallops and puree have a similar texture. Brilliant dish.
Scallops with Parsnips
Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork Tenderloin is cooked absolutely perfectly. There's a slightly salty crust on the outside, and the meat itself is unbelievably tender. It's tea-brined, but don't let that deter you. If anything, it just adds another layer of flavor, but doesn't alter the beautiful taste of the meat. It's served with slightly sweet Mushroom Spoonbread (I'm a fan of any sort of spoonbread or corn pudding) and a Walnut Apple Chutney because apple and pork are a match made in heaven. Thankfully, the Red Eye Gravy isn't too coffee-forward, it's more of a nice, salty jus.
Pork Tenderloin with Apple Chutney
We lost our minds for the Creme Caramel, a flan-like, custardy mound that is rich beyond words. It's served with a Honey Bourbon Drizzle, Walnuts and garnished with what should be Marigolds, but my companion remarked that they were more like purple pansies. We could not get enough of this decadent dessert. We both scraped the plate so hard, I thought we would permanently scratch it.
Creme Caramel
If the food is any indication of whether or not a restaurant will succeed (hint, it is), I am very confident in Butcher & Bull's success. I hope people will realize that parking in downtown Winston is not difficult (the Cherry Marshall Deck is always a great option!) and they should come support local spots. Great food is great food, and I promise you'll find something you like here. We didn't even dive into the steak menu, which is their specialty! They have something for everyone and you're sure to enjoy it too.

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