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Jan 31, 2011 09:55 AM


When we went to Rome a few years ago my family's favorite pasta was cacio e pepe. Having heard that the chef at Butcherblock was from Rome I emailed asking if they would make the dish when we visited. Got a positive response. The first visit was a Sunday and we were disappointed that it was Chef Filippo's day off. We did not even mention the off-menu request. Had a great meal. All was great, especially the grilled octopus appetizer. Even found a nice, and very reasonable bottle of Primativo, our Roman wine of choice. Server was one of Chef Filippos daughters, so we were treated to some fun family history and stories. Our second visit we got to enjoy the cacio e pepe, pasta, oil, garlic, a hint of lemon (maybe) and of course the pepper. Was as good or better than any we had in Rome. We also enjoyed a pasta dish with sausage and truffle oil which my daughter proclaimed as the best thing she's ever tasted. Saw that they change the menu seasonally, always a good sign. Chef Filippo stopped by a few times to make sure we were happy. All in all it has the makings of becoming one of my favorite spots.

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  1. When the place is called butcher block, it has to be about the meat. Right?

    2 Replies
    1. re: keg

      Chef Fillipo was a master butcher in Rome. He was the chef at I Nonni when it was at its best and some other Italian places prior to Butcherblock. Meats at Butcherblock that I have had are very solid.

      I Nonni
      981 sibley memorial hwy, Lilydale, MN 55118

      1. re: keg

        Best calves liver in town without a doubt. I'm never inclined to order anything else...

      2. I love this restaurant and I can't believe it doesn't get more Chowhound recognition. I've also tried the grilled octopus, which was incredible. Especially loved the pastas, the short ribs and even the Caesar salad seemed so much better than other versions I've had. Only regret is that we've always been so full that we couldn't squeeze in dessert.

        1 Reply
        1. re: drew13000

          Well, calling it butcherblock isn't going to get the place any more recognition :) It's The Butcher Block.

          Other than that, consider it recognized. Both the short rib and chicken wings are well worth a visit.

        2. Thanks for the idea! We were looking for something new tonight so we gave it a try.

          Our first two courses were wonderful; both specials. The first prosciutto, salami and these fried pillow bread things (gnooco frito?). The prosciutto especially was lovely. Then we split the pasta with venison and truffle. YUM. My husband's short ribs were good, not to die for. I had an appetizer for dinner: the tuna tartar. It was a bit salty for my taste but fresh and light, which was exactly what I wanted. We were surprised the "by the glass" wine choices were limited with not much Italian. The California cabernet my DH had was good. The bottle list looked more comprehensive.

          For dessert my husband had the chocolate panna cotta. He enjoyed it and didn't have to share it with me, since it is not my thing, at all. Coffee was acceptable, but not fabulous.

          There have been lots of posts about bad service, but ours was fine--cheerful, helpful, fairly timely. We had reservations for 7:15 and were seated almost to the minute.

          The place is nothing special to look at, and I was a bit put off when I had to wander out the back door to the bathroom (which was clean, however.) Price -wise, it seemed to fall in the mid zone. Pasta's in the mid teens, secondi in the low 20's.

          We will definitely go back, but I don't know if would become a totally regular stop.

          1. Hmmmm, I didn't realize that this was over by Nye's. I'll definitely have to go now that I know it's close by.

            1. They had a groupon last spring and I got two. I was impressed overall with the food but was really glad I brought my own wine glasses as their stemware needs serious improvements.

              2 Replies
              1. re: wineglas1

                And they have a very friendly BYO policy.