- SOME THINGS HAVE CHANGED: And one thing hasn't.
The Butcher Shop has come a long way — slowly — in its quarter-century-plus. It's moved from its gradually deteriorating neighborhood on Asher to a tucked-away spot on Hermitage, from a steak-and-sides-only approach in favor of a more fleshed-out menu and from the cook-your-own novelty of red-hot grill parties to the usual order-and-let-them-cook-it approach.
This gradual metamorphosis, while worth noting, doesn't matter that much. The Butcher Shop was, is and likely always will be all about steaks — hefty, expertly cooked, subtly spiced hunks of high-quality beef. Yes, there are other main-course options: chicken, fish, crab cakes, shrimp and pasta. And there are scads of bells and whistles. Sub a Caesar, opt for a twice-baked. Go for some sauteed mushrooms. Pile on a veggie. Get that steak blackened or pepper-encrusted.
But while some are compelled to eat something other than beef for dietary, moral or other persnickety reasons, and others are lured by a bell and/or a whistle, they should know this. Diners who choose the add-ons risk compromising their appetite and tastebuds they'll need to fully enjoy their ribeye, T-bone, bone-in Kansas City strip, filet, New York strip, porterhouse, bone-in ribeye or prime rib. And that would be a shame.
The 12-ounce top sirloin is the cheapest, least-appealing selection at $16.95; our advice is to step up to a better steak if you're going the beef route. The premium steaks run the gamut in size (8 to 25 ounces), price ($20.95 to $27.95) and variety. Some are choice in grade, others prime. They're billed as “seasoned,” but there's no heavy hand here. They emerge as simply flavorful and not overwhelming.
We knew the main courses would stuff us, but to better serve the reader we ordered two appetizers. The Cajun Sauteed Shrimp ($8.95 for six) features large, tail-on shrimp cooked in butter and spicy seasonings. Our cheerful but not overbearing waitress also touted an off-the-menu choice — cheese dip studded with chunks of the same shrimp. Creamy, subtle and delicious, the dip could double as a pasta sauce, but it still had enough oomph to stand up to the crisp, spice-dusted, homemade chips.
Our 12-ounce filet was near perfect, exactly medium-rare and tender. Our companion went whole cow and chose the 25-ounce porterhouse, a fabulous, multi-faceted cut. It was also pleasantly tender but not quite as flavorful as the filet.
Our baked potato was topped with a gooey mound of sour cream laced with chives, bacon and cheese. The twice-baked option is $1.50 extra and didn't offer much to distinguish it.
Both the Caesar ($1.50 additional) and standard salad were bounteous and fine, but nothing special. We did opt for a side of creamed spinach ($3.50) and were glad we did. It was at once silky and pungent. Sure, we couldn't help but munch on a roll or three, but again there's nothing exceptional about them, and who needs filler with steaks like these?
Who could believe we saved room for dessert? Actually, we didn't. There was no room at the end, but force it down we did. And glad we were. The chocolate creme brulee was as rich, creamy and decadent as any, and a bargain at $3.50. The Caramel Pecan Passion ($3.95) was a ramekin-shaped disc of pecan ice cream topped with a thick layer of caramel and chopped pecans. Sort of simple, sort of not, and more than simply good.
Don't forget the Butcher Shop when hankering for a slab o' beef. To do so would be a mistake. It's a long way from cook-your-own on Asher, and the 11-year “new” home features a lot more choices. But at the Butcher Shop it's still all about the steak — great steak.
The Butcher Shop
10825 Hermitage Road
Over its 27-plus years, the Butcher Shop has gradually expanded its menu to include seafood, chicken and pasta — as well as several appetizers, desserts and soup/salad options. That's all well — and for the most part good — but it's still all about the steaks: sizable, high-quality cuts cooked and spiced just right.
5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Full bar, credit cards accepted.