Courtesy of The Partisan

Last minute buzzer beaters and Cinderella stories are just over a week away. March Madness kicks off on March 13, and in the spirit of the college basketball tournament, The Partisan is offering “Meat Madness” through the final game on April 2. Customers can work their way through 32 types of charcuterie in the hopes of winning a Butcher’s Box of meats. Think of the Butcher’s Box prize as a CSA shipment that vegetarians would toss out.

If your Lipitor prescription isn’t strong enough to get you through all 32 varieties of cured meats, individual selections are available for $4. Chef Nathan Anda recommends trying to complete at least one quadrant of the bracket, which is divided into four categories: herbal and floral; smoky and spiced; rich and earthy; and hot and spicy.

The rich and earthy category is Anda’s favorite, and he advises meat-venturers not to skip the bacon liverwurst or wild boar pate made with apricots, white wine, and pine nuts. Other can’t-miss selections include the sausage with Greek fennel and lemon verbena, Thai basil bresaola, “Red Menace” spreadable ‘nduja, and pickled half smoke with porter and mustard seeds.

No Meat Madness charcuterie selections are new to The Partisan, but 32 is the highest number of options the Neighborhood Restaurant Group restaurant has offered since it opened.

“There were 36,” Anda recalls. “Then over the last four years, seeing what sells the best, we tapered it down. … Some are obscure. There are people excited about eating pig heart, but that’s 3 percent of clientele.”  

Don’t worry pig heart fans, the “Iron + Wine” offering features pork heart lovingly wrapped in lardo salami. 

Meat Madness will be available in the evenings (starting at 5 p.m.) from March 12-April 2. Those who try all 32 charcuterie styles will be entered into a drawing to win the Butchers Box, which will contain a variety of meat products like bacon, steaks, and soup stocks.

The Partisan added two televisions behind the bar in 2017, enabling them to air the games. “The first couple years, people would come in and watch it on their phones,” Anda says. So they sprung for flatscreens.

The Partisan, 709 D St. NW; (202) 524-5322; thepartisandc.com