Silver Spring continues to be a magnet for aspirational enterprises. The latest one, opening this week, is Urban Butcher. Envisioned as a restaurant with a retail component, all meat served is processed in-house, broken down from whole animals, and converted into all manner of sausages and cures.
At their opening party last night, I got to try some of their offerings. By the samples laid out for our delectation, this ambitious establishment will raise the bar for both food and drink in the neighborhood.
The first thing we were offered was a choice among signature house cocktails. There was a rosemary gin and tonic, bourbon punch, and lavender margarita. The margarita is the best: complex and smooth, with a lingering floral aftertaste. They also have interesting soft drinks, among them Mexican Coke (made with sugar, not corn syrup), and various Boylan brand sodas.
We turned our attention to the meat laid out on cutting boards. Five kinds of sausage and as many cheeses, with olives and cornichons, kept us busy sampling.
Then other things started rolling out. Pates, empanadas with chimichurri, hanger steak on a stick (a little chewy, but with great beef flavor), croquettes (excellent), two kinds of ceviches served in a collection of shot glasses (all different), and steak tartare, led up to the pièce de résistance: whole suckling pig.
Everyone wanted pictures of the pig.
And, lucky duck! One of the ears was awarded to Alicia of the My Line Is Red blog. The other one was gone, too, before I thought to ask.
But wait! There was one more dish – that saddle of lamb with berbere spice that had been submerged in a sous-vide bath since the party started. It was worth waiting for! Owner/chef Raynold Mendizabol posed for me earlier with Jeffery, a saute cook.
Family and friends of the owners and chef were there, including baby Aubrey Stepanek in the arms of her father Peter, when he wasn’t juggling cameras and lenses.
There was a tour of the facilities: the meat cellar (a little sparse right now, but expect it to fill out with good things to eat); the butchering kitchen with a viewing window, if you know where to look; the two floors, the top one with amazing views and a roof garden, for which there are future plans; the garage doors which will swing open in good weather.
Oh, and the retail counter. Not only will you be able to take meat home and cook it, but you can choose a cut and have it cooked by the restaurant chefs for a 50% additional charge.
Including that other suckling pig?!
8226 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910