Butcher & Larder
1026 N Milwaukee Ave
Date of Last Visit: 22 January 2011
The Victim: Me
The Damage: $10
The Background: Boy am I in trouble. Big trouble. Because seriously, I live WAAAYYY too close to Butcher & Larder. Way too close. Way too too close. So close that I might actually consider joining Row Fit, the somewhat odd rowing gym that I have to pass on the way to Butcher & Larder, as a counterbalance to something that is surely set to become a very very very bad habit. Very bad.
This picture really does not do justice to the deliciousness of my sandwich of roast beef with radish aioli and beer onions. (Yes, yes. Yet another $10 sandwich in Chicago. Although this time, the $10 included a Sprecher root beer and that bag of Jay’s chips.) The roast beef was perfect and I don’t think I can describe it any better than that. And I don’t know what they put in that alioli and those beer onions, but it was magic. Magic. Dying to know how much garlic was in that alioli, or if they spiced it up with something else.
The sandwich was so huge and dense that I had to ask for some tin foil so I could take the rest home. I had these visions of having the other half of the sandwich for dinner.
I got home. Unwrapped the rest of the sandwich. Stared at it for a few minutes. Debated it. And then polished it off. The best laid plans…
The Verdict: Go. Now. There’s free parking and lots of it. And the tin ceiling is awesome. Now if only they served wine. And cheese. They could become my new Fernandez & Wells. That being said, Butcher & Larder is a different animal. They are a butcher, not a coffee shop aspiring to be a restaurant. Fernandez & Wells is not a butcher; it’s a coffee shop/wine bar that serves kick ass sandwiches.
So I do think I will die and go to heaven if Butcher & Larder lays on a chorizo and manchego sandwich and if they let me BYOB from Lush or Noble Grape down the road. They might not want to order those stools anytime soon though because once they’re installed, I might not ever leave. (I’m considering a new series for my blog: Today’s Butcher & Larder Sandwich, where I document my lunch every weekend.)
The Constructive Bit: The crust on the bread made it a little hard to eat. A bit too chewy. And while I love the tin ceiling, there’s a little bit of warmth missing from the space. Fernandez & Wells in London is just as simple and streamlined and slightly retro inside, but somehow manages to convey a warmth of sorts. Maybe chalkboards are the answer? (There are an amazing number of photos of all three F&W’s on Flickr if you want to see what I’m talking about. The stools in this photo at my fave F&W will be perfect for Butcher & Larder, I think.) Critiquing the decor is pretty silly though, when we’re talking about a roast beef sandwich THIS good.