So despite the fact that I have become a rather jaded, one time fan of The Butcher Shop, I decided to reward my girlfriend's gift of a trip to State Street Barbers (lots of fun, free beer) with a quick brunch stop and a chance for her to try some new wines at the ol' BS. After all, I hadn't been there in over a year and I figured I might as well check in and see whether things had changed.
A somewhat mixed review...
In this case, the food was not a significant part of the equation. We were in for a light lunch and had the antipasti and the cheese plate. Both were very good so no complaints there. We followed that with the Apricot Tarte Tatin.
Now, the tart itself was rather nice but it was topped with the single worst scoop of ice cream I have ever had in Boston. Hands down. In your youth, have you ever gone to a birthday party where the parent bought the cheapest ice cream in the supermarket? Even though you're a child, you recognize that the wad of milky, splintery, freezer-burned ice slowly melting alongside the somehow worse cake is garbage? Yeah, well I got that. I could hear the ice in it crackle as my spoon dipped through it and feel the shards of ice stick against the roof of my mouth. I sorely regret not explaining that point to the bartender.
Food aside, what got me was the total lack of passion or interest that the staff reflected in regards to the menu.
When I asked the bartender for details on the burrata (a super soft and very perishable Italian cheese), she rolled her eyes at me before slumping off to ask one of the runners. At no point did she engage us in respect to the menu or wines and when we were served the cheese plate, she rattled off the selections as if she was showing off just how fast she could do it. No interest, no excitement, nothing.
Amidst this, the head waiter was treating the house stereo as his on private karaoke bar and we his captive audience. While we were there, we were treated to David Bowie, Blondie, Queen and a handful of other schmaltzy pop hits with occasional pauses as he changed cd's so that he could continue singing along. None of this seemed to be merited by the enjoyment of others in the dining room. From where I sat, his floor show was universally ignored.
I was pleased to see that the refrigerator case in the back had some more interesting items for sale than in the past. However, between the ignorant and sullen bartender and the patently obnoxious waiter cranking his latest "I'm Running the Stereo at Work Today" mix, I began to get the feeling that The Butcher Shop is more like the Island of Misfit Toys in Barbara's Boston empire.
I went in with an open mind and left thoroughly disappointed.