Speaking of steak, the meaty, cedar-planked mushrooms you can order as an à la carte side were a revelation. I don't usually think of mushrooms as juicy, but these were. Something about smoking them leaves the surface layer of the fungi smooth and dry, but one bite releases the meaty mushrooms' moisture, producing a near-steak experience. Other highlights in the sides section include puffy, Fulton beer-battered fries from potatoes soaked in milk before getting battered and fried; super-rich smothered greens with cream, hunks of smoky bacon, and the surprising burn of Fresno peppers; and a whole, skin-on, charred sweet potato, slathered in an umami-rich compound butter.
Haven't had your fill? Desserts are decent. The smoked s'mores are both rustic and whimsical, served on the signature B&B-branded cedar plank they use to prepare a handful of other dishes on the menu. The marshmallows were gooey enough to scoop but solid enough to use a cinnamon-sugar chip to slice down the center, revealing a pea-sized glob of very dark, truffle-like chocolate. The grasshopper pie is a refined take on the Mad Men-era classic, but the crust-to-filling ratio was a bit off. Go for the banana pudding with ginger snap crumbs, topped with lightly broiled meringue. It's sticky, retro, and perfect for sharing.
B & B focuses on bourbon and meat, like this double-cut Berkshire pork chop with maple, blueberry, and pecan relish
Perhaps it's too soon to say what the lasting contribution of Butcher and the Boar will be to the downtown restaurant landscape, but what it has accomplished so far is impressive. Its outdoor smoker alone has done the impossible; it's made this part of downtown smell so fantastic you'll want to hang around, ambling down Hennepin just a little slower than when you arrived, your belly rich with wild boar, bourbon, and lingering satisfaction.