Downtown Silver Spring was quiet on Monday, but a chaotic energy filled Urban Butcher, as staff members debated menu ideas and hammered in wall decorations. When the the new, meat-centric restaurant from former Black & Orange chef Raynold Mendizabal opens at 5 p.m. tonight, expect a wide variety of local meat products (hand-cut steaks, house-made sausages) in an upscale casual environment.
The restaurant and market’s focal point, a glass-doored curing room, sits at the back of the space. Currently hanging inside: prosciutto and coppa, which head butcher Matt Levere says will be ready in about a year; and a variety of sausages that will be ready in a few weeks. Levere’s other domain is the charcuterie station and butcher case, where he’ll break down whole animals, including heritage pigs and lambs from farms in Maryland and Virginia. Guests can also request steaks from the case to be fired in the adjoining open kitchen and then enjoy it in the dining room.
A suckling pig hung out in the butcher case on Monday, and a roasted pig will be served every night at 8 p.m. until portions run out. Because the restaurant focuses on nose-to-tail use of the animal, guests can expect dishes like crispy pig tails and terrines, as well as a few seafood dishes for eaters who don’t embrace meat whole hog. The intimate dining room fits about 50 people, while a community table in the restaurant’s lounge area seats 20.
A three-section bar and coffee station lines the wall opposite the kitchen. Eleven draft beers are available, as well as a variety of whiskies and cocktails. Jen Semo, who runs the front of the house, says the small wine list focuses more on Old World wines with a few forays into domestic varieties including a California zinfandel.
As for Mendizabal, he loves the design of the bar just as much, if not more, than the offerings behind them. Two glass garage doors open on the other side of the bar so guests can order a drink from outside in warmer months. The bottom of the bar is made of deconstructed doors with knobs still attached. Why? Says Mendizabal, “I was tired of whining women.” Indeed, the doorknobs are the perfect shape and size for hanging coats and purses.
Urban Butcher, 8226 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring; urbanbutcher.com