Butcher and the Boar
Since we were staying at the Covington, we had originally thought of eating in Saint Paul. But we had the whole evening at our disposal, and we had already tried to eat there once and really wanted to try it, so The Butcher and the Boar it was!
We arrived early due to reading the reservation confirmation email wrong, but that just gave us time to hang out in the lovely outdoor beer garden (I wonder what the space was in the building's previous use — parking?) The beer garden is actually a perfect complement to the restaurant, a little rustic and casual, and very spacious. With reservations so hard to get for the main space, it's a nice alternative. Different menu though (some yummy looking hand cut potato chips served in a bag), and a MUCH more reduced cocktail menu.
Plus, on the way through, you get to walk over the penny floor. Hard to beat that.
We were seated right on time, and then came the dilemma of what to order. Much of the menu was "meats for 2," which was obviously not going to fly. The people next to us had a "double pork chop," which was literally the size of a large piece of cake, gleaming with blueberries. Patrick can't wait to try it.
I had the lobster grilled cheese sandwich, which was a little less flavorful than expected, but still, lobster! Plus Fulton-battered fries. Patrick had 2 things from the charcuterie, a sausage and some ham. He reports both were incredible.
As I mentioned earlier, the outdoor cocktail menu was abbreviated, but Patrick could not have been happier with his mint julep or his old-fashioned, especially the former which came in a lovely engraved cup. My vodka lemonade was fine, but I would have preferred one of the other cocktails not available outside. Maybe next time order in the bar and carry it out?
In the end, I think the Butcher and the Boar is like seeing a really good movie a few weeks after it opens. Had you just gone on our own, you would have loved it. But by the time you get there, all you've heard is the hype and the talk and the build-up — and although it's great, it's not All That.
(Patrick, the carnivore, mentions that he thought it was "really good," so take my writing with a grain of salt. After all, it is named The Butcher and the Boar.)