When I think of butchers, I see dark-looking places with questionable UV trap lights for insects (I spent a lot of time in Chinatown as a kid). When I heard Two Rivers Meats was opening a restaurant in addition to their butcher shop, I knew it was going to be cool. While the restaurant isn't open just yet, I was invited to a media preview of this cleaver-to-table experience this week. Read on to see this butcher transform itself into a full-service menu.
While these were tasters of the real thing, I got multiple tastes of the following:
- Crispy Charred Chicken Drumsticks
- Cider Glazed Beef Ribs
- Wrapped Sausauge
- Tallow Fried Doughnut Holes
- Beef Fat Popcorn
- Rotisserie Cauliflower
- Mini Dry Age Burgers
The charred chicken drumsticks (from Farmcrest in Salmon Arm) were served with a tasty jalapeño buffalo dipping sauce that brought a pretty intense heat. I had to slow down to finish this.
Charred Chicken Drumstick
The cider glazed beef ribs had some of the tenderest meat of the night. The dry-aged factor means a more intense flavoured meat which was further enhanced by the spice rub.
Cider Glazed Beef Ribs
The wrapped sausage was the most creative of the menu. With Two Rivers Sausage, this was served with a house-made herb mustard dipping sauce and was very juicy.
The beef fat popcorn was a bit like butter popcorn but with a bolder body, presumably from beef fat being able to retain more flavour. I'm not crazy for popcorn at restaurants but I can appreciate the flavour being kicked up a notch.
The tallow fried doughnut holes were upgraded Timbits with house-made strawberry jam. For those who don't know, tallow is basically rendered mutton fat primarily used for producing shortening. In a doughnut hole, it's all the bad things in life that you love to eat (in moderation).
Tallow Fried Doughnut Holes
Though the main attraction is the meat, rotisserie cauliflower was also on deck, served with pickled pepper chimichurri. I love me a good charring on vegetables and these cauliflower sticks delivered.
And my absolute favourite of the night were the mini dry age burgers. Just because something is dry aged doesn't mean it's actually dry. These patties were some of the juiciest I've had. It's surprisingly easy to overcook small patties but these were done just right with a slight pinkness.
Mini Dry Age Burgers
You might be wondering how a butcher can exist with a restaurant where heat is almost always involved. The butcher side of the venue is completely sealed off from the kitchen. One must enter a room to enter the cutting stations, and there are displays like this that are partitioned by clean glass walls.
The grill is where a ton of action happens and I was pleased with its aesthetics. It's a large grill heated by real kindling in charcoal and logs which contributed a unique smokiness to all the meats. The grill is displayed smack at the front of the restaurant's open kitchen so passersby can bask in its glory safely behind a glass wall.
Outside Two Rivers Meats
One-liner: A cool 2-in-1 butcher/restaurant that had some surprisingly juicy tasters and a promising concept
Highlight: Mini Dry Age Burgers
Estimated opening: Mid-October 2017
Would I go back? Yes.