Some friends and I got together for a Restaurant Week dinner at the Butcher Shop in the South End. I guess I hadn't quite registered what a small space the place is, guess it was a good thing we managed to shoehorn our reservation in.
The RW menu is fairly spare -- two starters, two entrees, two desserts. So my wife and I had one of each. Bread was a pretty good, crusty baguette with a divinely fruity olive oil which apparently Barbara Lynch imports herself from a guy in Greece. Yum.
Starters were a white bean soup with chunks of pancetta and a side celery salad (bean soup was lovely, pancetta was fried crisp to provide a nice contrast of texture and salt, and there was a splash of same olive oil on top, and my wife missed the celery salad somehow) and "quail galantine" (chunks of quail in what looked something like an aspic/jelly sort of thing, some of my tablemates had to pick out small bones, for some reason I didn't) with a lovely spicy apricot jam, pistachios and a small frissee salad again dressed with same lovely olive oil.
Entrees were a hanger steak, charred to perfection and served up exactly the just-past-purple that my wife wanted, along with a tangy vidalia onion marmalade and an interesting puree of chives and mashed potatoes that came out looking light green, not really tasting of chives and quite visually striking on the plate. My plate was house-made gnocchi, the ideal mix of pillow soft without being gummy, in a very tasty sausage ragu.
Dessert was the biggest disappointment -- really, really good marscapone cheesecake with a "korova cookie crumble" (I swear they looked like Oreos), but a disappointing, somewhat flat vanilla-orange panna cotta (perhaps only disappointing because of the lovely bursts of flavor that went before).
All in all, quite a good meal, and I think we'd go back, if such divine gnocchi and one of the best steaks I've had in Boston remain on the menu.