Butcher & the Boar previews food at Gastro Non Grata

Last night's Gastro Non Grata, held at the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis, was a sausage-fest perfectly suited for a preview of the upcoming Butcher & the Boar restaurant--a celebration of meat and bourbon. 

While the bands rocked the room and Clancy's held a couple of meat contests (prizes included sweetbreads and beef hearts) Butcher & the Boar's Jack Riebel, along with his main ground-meat-in-casings man, Peter Botcher, handed out dish after delectable dish. 

What can we expect from 2012's mostly hotly anticipated new dining spot?

The evening began with small bowls of a green chili soup garnished with delicate pieces of smoked shrimp, sweet nubs of corn, and a dollop of creme fraiche. Each ingredient enhanced the other, elevating simple elements into a delicious whole. .

The next course was the wild boar sausage, garlicky and spicy, served with what Riebel called a red, white, and bleu sauce. The red came from their house-made barbecue sauce, with plenty of clean, cayenne heat, mixed with refreshing, crisp cabbage slaw and ultra-creamy crumbles of blue cheese.

The crowd was filled with other chefs (we spotted Jason Blair of Red Stag and Erik Sather of Bar La Grassa among others) taking a rare night off to support friends, listen to tunes, and sip the Fulton Libertine, Sweet Child o' Vine, and Lonely Blondes from the black Butcher & the Boar can cozys provided free.

The following course was a venison summer sausage sandwich. Fat in thickness and texture, it was fried up and served with shaved, sweet onion and sweet-and-sour pickle slices, slathered in a hot mustard sauce full of round, crunchy mustard seeds, and held together with a gooey slice of horseradish-spiked Havarti cheese atop a buttery Salty Tart baked bun. 

Botcher is a sausage-making whiz.  His ability to meld textures with layers of subtle flavors is impressive. Riebel builds each dish around them.  Drawing out and enhancing the ingredients through the wonderful amounts of fat, it is the kind of eating experience that calls to mind summer backyard cook-outs-- sandwiches made with motherly care but a downtown hipness, all just begging for the glasses of fine bourbons the restaurant promises to serve.

The final taste handed out to attendees was bourbon-spiked, gluten-free cookie coins.  While usually the best compliment a gluten-free cookie can receive is "Hey, this actually tastes kind of like a cookie," these were smoky, caramel-flavored, chewy candy cookies--and positively addictive.

Riebel said Butcher & the Boar is on track to open in early February.

Butcher & the Boar previews food at Gastro Non Grata

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