It's been way too long since I've posted on this blog, please accept my sincere apologies. Last fall, I embarked on a great new project, joining the team at LowBrau Sacramento, created by Clay Nutting & Michael Hargis, to launch a new place called Block Butcher Bar. LowBrau, just celebrated it's 1 year anniversary, bringing a very communal, German inspired, Sausage & Beer Hall to Sacramento. This was frankly, a "stroke of genius" as it had not been done here before. LowBrau brings a true sense of community and place to the vibrant corner of 20th & K street, what is known as the Midtown Grid. LowBrau has become the anchor of the MARRS bldg. (midtown, arts, restaurant & retail scene). On any given beautiful day in Sacramento, you will find a spectacular patio full of fun loving people fully engaged and interacting in the spirit of celebrating Artisan Craft, German & Belgian Beer and tasty sausages, grilled to order.
While being a chef, I have resisted the temptation to turn the menu at LowBrau upside down, and put my "spin" or stamp on it. Appreciating the simplicity and beauty of a well conceived place, adding little tweaks here and there, improving the quality of the bread for the sausages, adding chicken as an option along with a couple of new salads to help broaden the appeal. All while dialing in the concept & vision for Block Butcher Bar, located right next door.
Clay & Michael, the creative visionary urban trendsetters, had a vision to create a cool cocktail bar with a full on visible butcher room, with a retail area. As we further engaged, the vision became very clear for what kind of offering from a menu perspective we should have, and how we would equipe and integrate the butcher room into the entire operation of each place. After months of planning and buildout, we are now ready to launch! This week, we will have our test runs in anticipation of a soft "invitation only" opening for this weekend.
This is an incredibly exciting time! The Bar & Cocktail program has been curated by Bar Manager Dave Steinberg & General Manager Patrick Ramos. Both have been running the show at LowBrau, and have created a brilliant selection of Scotch, Bourbon, & Rye. Of course some select gins, tequilla's and other spirits have a place, the emphasis is clearly on Brown Spirits. We have a well orchestrated and focused Craft Beer selection, Craft Cocktails and a small smart Wine List all designed to complement the menu.
The menu for block is very "Pork Centric". Artisan Salumi from some of the very best producers in the US, such as La Quercia, Olli, Fra' Mani, Olympic Provisions and Salumeria Biellese. More traditional offerings of Prosciutto di Parma, San Danielle, Jamon Serrano & Iberico round out the selection. Artisan & Farmstead Cheese fit into the mix featuring mostly domestics such as North Valley Farms, Jasper Hill, Rogue River, Pedrozo, Vermont Creamery and more, along with a scattering of Europeans in the mix.
Perhaps one of the most interesting thoughts about the whole concept of Block from a culinary perspective is, there is no real hot kitchen or cooking aparatus. We have a sandwich press and two immersion circulators, 2 slicers and, that's it! Hence the way the menu is layed out between items that are; pickled, cured, fermented & marinated. For me, this is very unique. Having cooked with Wood-burning grills, rotisseries & ovens, as well as many other bells and whistles that come with most commercial kitchens, it forces you to think differently, and stretch your boundaries.
In addition to being able to come in and imbibe, and order from the menu, there is a small take-out/retail shop stocked with the entire menu of Salumi & Cheese. All available "Cut & Wrap", by the pound, or "Grab & Go" of small format salumi & cheese along with tasty accompaniments from local artisan producers like, Potter's Crackers, Pane Vino, Good Stuff Jams & Preserves, Leinert's Honey, Katz Vinegars & Oils and more. A well stocked beverage selection is available too!
Joining me in the kitchen is Brock MacDonald, a young chef from Sacramento who is extremely passionate about all things Pig, Salted & Cured! Along with several other talents some of which I've worked with before, and some that have come from other good operations here in Sac. We have a passionate team that will strive to deliver the experience envisioned by Clay, Michael & I.
I will try and be more dilligent with posting on the blog but, no promises. Opening a new establishment of any kind is a challenge. No matter how many you have done, when the concept is unique and differnt, it is that much more of a challenge and requires perseverance, passion & focus.
Buon Apetito! I look forward to seeing you very soon at Block Butcher Bar!