When Jack Riebel, former executive chef of La Belle Vie and head of the revamped Dakota, opened Butcher & the Boar in the spring of 2012, he and the restaurant made an immediate splash on an otherwise sleepy block of Hennepin. With its menu of big, manly meats and bold selection of bourbon, Butcher & the Boar took straightforward, delicious food and a slick interior finish and used it to successfully connect the downtown audience with Reibel's upscale Midwestern steak-house sensibility. Beyond all the delicious double-cut Berkshire pork chops, smoked long ribs, and selection of house-made, snappy sausages, Butcher & the Boar also smartly established itself as a new hub for our booming local beer culture. It installed a year-round beer garden, hosted release parties for beers from Surly, made specialty beer brats, and put on bourbon-barrel-themed beer dinners with brews from Central Waters and Goose Island. Proving itself to be as good at impressing the in-laws as it is for getting rowdy at a winter block party, Butcher & the Boar shows that versatility is key and hints that big plates are making a comeback.