If you want to understand what chef and restaurateur Chris Bolyard means when he says he approaches butcher’s shop from a cook’s perspective, you should try his Fried Bologna Sandwich.
As close to the thin, mushy meat wrapped in a red synthetic casing found in the deli box at the grocery store as canned ham is with prosciutto di Parma, the version served at Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions is revealing. . What would generally be considered disposable cuts from the decomposition of a cow are made into stunning pieces of sliced ââmeat with a rustic summer sausage-like texture. Winged, salty and about a quarter of an inch thick, the mixture of beef, pork and bacon is stacked on toasted sourdough bread with melted American cheese and a rich remoulade sauce like an incredibly gooey grilled cheese. The chow chow, made with pickled vegetables and brackish dill pickles, takes a sandwich that could have been too decadent and balances it with its crisp, vinegar taste. No mere culinary mortal could give a sparkle of this magnitude to a processed meat so often overlooked.
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Taking such humble and less used cuts of meat and turning them into something magical, which is why Bolyard, along with his wife, Abbie, opened Bolyard’s in the first place. A Culinary Institute of America-trained chef, Bolyard never wanted to become a butcher, but instead launched his career in gourmet restaurants, including the famous Sidney Street Cafe run by James Beard Award-winning chef Kevin Nashan. There, Bolyard served as Nashan’s sous chef and was exposed to butchering and whole animal deli making – skills that were personally satisfying but also opened his eyes to a philosophy of sustainability and the importance of using the whole animal in a variety of creative ways. .
Opening a restaurant had always been something he and Abbie had dreamed of, but the more he thought about where they could have the most impact, the more their ideas came together around a butcher’s shop. In 2014, they took the plunge and opened the original Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions in a small storefront in Maplewood, where they immediately gained a reputation as the place in town to go for the highest quality meat. cruelty-free that you can find.
A small sandwich counter was part of their operation from the start, but they had always wanted to do more than space allowed. This realization made them think about expanding, and when they learned that the old Dubliner building just up the street was available, they decided to expand both their butcher’s offering and their menu. , transforming Bolyard’s into a full-fledged restaurant and butcher’s shop.
The new digs opened last May, creating what Bolyard describes as a hybrid between the butchery he has done for the past seven years and his previous experience cooking in restaurants. For him, Abbie and her staff, the differences between new and old spaces are important, but for the client, the experience is comfortably familiar. As at the original location, the place is fitted with white subway tiles; a chalk menu, written in the same font it has been since 2014, announces available cuts of meat, and the stocked butcher’s case still shows the store’s products.
In the new space, black-and-white butcher-themed wallpaper adorns the walls, and tan leather stools line the front windows for the counter seating. The center of the dining room is filled with spaced tables and chairs, and additional dining space is available on the front patio.
If the Bolognese sandwich offers a glimpse of what Bolyard’s is, the restaurant’s other dishes fill that image. Pig Pen is a wonderful Cantonese-inspired dish with a succulent char siu of pork cooked so slowly it almost has the silky texture of a rillette. The earthy gochujang mayonnaise accentuates the meat, and the sweet and sour cabbage cuts through the richness for a nice contrast in temperature and flavor.
Another notable addition to Bolyard’s repertoire is the steak sandwich. Here, toasted cuts of tender faux, heel and blade are placed on a crisp ciabatta and generously garnished with horseradish cream, pickled red onions and blue cheese; it’s the steak sandwich that haunts your dreams when you crave a steak sandwich.
Likewise, the Umami Burger is what you’re looking for when you want a cheeseburger – even if you don’t know it. Two fine, perfectly seasoned crushed pancakes which obtain this magnificent crispy lace of meat on the edges are associated with raclette cheese; it gives you gooey, but also a glorious punch of funk that you don’t get from the standard American or Cheddar. Mushroom conserva and arugula add a touch of elegance, and umami aioli rounds out this powerful flavor bomb. Accompanied by a side of crispy golden fries, cooked in beef tallow for a rich, deep flavor, this is one of the most elegant burgers and fries you have ever eaten.
The Tom Tom also illustrates how Bolyard’s can take an ubiquitous dish – in this case a turkey and cheese sandwich – and turn it into something spectacular. What makes the difference here is the sauce, a delicious concoction of mayonnaise infused with spicy ‘nduja sausage. It sounds like such a simple touch, but it takes a standard sandwich and gives it wonderful complexity.
Bolyard’s offers accompaniments to their sandwiches, including a great dill potato salad and crispy homemade pork rinds that when mixed with the optional ranch seasoning take on the flavor of a pork. Cool Ranch Dorito. A summer salad, made with heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, compressed watermelon and bresaola, is dressed in pistachio pesto and ricotta salata, and is so gorgeous it could just as easily be on the white tablecloths of the Sidney Street Cafe as on the wooden counter in Bolyard. The posloe is another must-try dish; the tomato-based stew, bursting with pork and hominy, is both rich and bright – a delicate balance that shows the thoughtfulness Bolyard and his chef, Remi Didry, put into everything they do.
It is this attention – or âthe cook’s approachâ in Bolyard’s terms – that makes the second iteration of Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions such a special addition to the city’s culinary scene, that will surely influence how and what we eat for years to come.
Bolyard meats and provisions
2733, boulevard Sutton, Maplewood; 314-647-2567.
Mon.-Fri. 11 am-7pm; Sat 9 am-5pm; Sun. 9 am-2pm
Fried bologna $ 13.
Umami Burger $ 11.1.
Pig pen $ 10.
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