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The Butcher Shop – Another piece of the slowly-growing No. 9 Park micro-empire, parked right across the street from B&G Oysters in the busy heart of the South End’s restaurant district. And while, technically, it does live up to its name as a butcher shop (high-end, of course, though the quality of the products is extraordinary), it has really been completely taken over by its other identity as a casual restaurant/hangout with well-founded pretensions of excellence.

The menu is, of course, meat-based (though meatless options exist), and based on fairly basic notions – tartare, schnitzel, foie gras, even a hot dog – lent quality and purity by the superiority of their ingredients and the simplicity of their execution. There are no fancy sauces or architectural triumphs here. The diner is left with the opportunity to relax, enjoy their dining companions (if they exist), and pay attention to the marvelous wine list.

In contrast to its white-focused sister across the street, The Butcher Shop has (of course) its eye on reds, ranging from light and delicate to full-bodied and powerful. It’s a Europhile list, to be sure (domestic bottles are almost inevitably from Europhilic producers like Edmunds St. John), and excellent by-the-glass and half bottle options exist for those unwilling to face a full bottle. Like all Cat Silirie-written wine lists, it’s a masterwork at all price levels, and bottles can be ordered with virtual impunity; there are very, very few establishments, especially outside the realm of ultra-fine dining, at which one can say that.

Those familiar with No. 9’s level of service will find it replicated here. There’s not much more to be said, really. This is a terrific place (the only caveat: no reservations) at which one can eat or drink cheaply or extravagantly, but at which one will always eat very, very well…and have a great time doing it. (5/07)


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