New Albany, IN — (January 18, 2017) – The decision to change a menu is not something that any restaurant takes lightly. There’s the hard work, of course – design and branding updates, online menu’s scattered around the web that will need changing, the countless hours each Chef will spend conceptualizing, testing, and executing each new recipe. There’s also fear and anxiety. Will guests like the new dishes? Do the new plates fit with our original vision? Which dishes do we cut? How do we explain those cuts to our guests?
When I first saw the size of these crab legs, it was actually kind of breathtaking. – Mike Knopf, Sous Chef
In some ways, new menu rollouts can often feel like opening the restaurant for the first time. Training will be needed. Extensive training. New techniques will be learned. New products will be compared, priced, and purchased. No one said it was going to be easy, of course. But for Brooklyn and the Butcher, New Albany’s premiere modern steakhouse, the hard work and perseverance is worth the opportunity to introduce guests to new and exciting culinary experiences.
“If you take fresh product and utilize solid, professional technique, the kind of dishes you can put out can be very exciting,” said Michael Knopf, executive sous chef at Brooklyn and the Butcher. For Knopf, the opportunity to execute new menu items is a chance to step outside the box and be creative. “We’re interested in opening up new doors at the restaurant,” he said, showing me a crate holding over 30 lbs. of fresh Canadian King Crab. “That means new proteins, new techniques, and new price points. When I first saw the size of these crab legs, it was actually kind of breathtaking.”
The excitement doesn’t end in the kitchen of course. Front of house servers find the introduction of new menu items keeps things fresh around the restaurant. “When we switch things up in the back, it keeps us learning and keeps us sharp,” said Amber, a server who has been on the team since the restaurant opened on Valentine’s Day of 2016. “It also shows that we are actively engaged in listening to guests and improving their experience.”
The prep is extensive and hands on, but the difference in quality is unbelievable – Patrick Carter, Executive Chef
Regarding the new menu, most of the buzz around the restaurant seemed to be generating around the addition of five new pasta dishes. There’s the House Ravioli, a “Small Plates” item that will be generously stuffed with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Today it was a delicious mushroom medley and the flavor was outstanding. There’s also the Pappardelle e Pesce, a seafood pasta dish that includes salmon, crab, and shrimp covered in a delicate champagne cream sauce. Spaghetti a la Carbonara and Fettuccine with Sausage and Radicchio also join the updated “Small Plates” menu, as well as my favorite new pasta dish: Ricotta Gnocchi.
“The prep is extensive and hands on, but the difference in quality is unbelievable,” said Executive Chef Patrick Carter, discussing the choice to use hand made pasta in their new dishes. “We’re talking about a very different kind of tenderness. It’s a textural thing that has to be tasted to really get.” The Ricotta Gnocchi is served with truffle, brown butter, wild arugula, and parmigiano reggiano and, like Chef Patrick explained, is a dish bursting with flavor and texture.
Along with the addition of pastas, guests at Brooklyn and the Butcher will find numerous updates to the original opening menu. Crusted Brie has been added and makes an epic starter to any evening. As Chef Mike mentioned earlier, the addition of Alaskan King Crab Legs are an undeniable improvement to an already stacked menu. There’s also two new seasonal salads to choose from (Panzanella and a Roasted Beet Medley), as well as an impressive steak starter called the Beef Duo which features a combination of the Manhattan strip and Tenderloin Filet. This Small Plate gives guests an opportunity to sample two of Brooklyn’s most dominant protein options.
This new menu is about completing the vision. – Ian Hall, owner
While most of the big changes at Brooklyn’s focuses on new Small Plates, guests will be happy to learn that the steak side has been lovingly attended to as well. Along with favorites like the 10 oz. Wagyu Sirloin, 32 oz. Porterhouse, and Brooklyn’s infamous Hand Cut Ribeye, steak fans can rejoice in the addition of a 16 oz. Prime New York Strip and 16 oz. Double Bone-In Porkchop. With these additions to the Big Steaks menu, Brooklyn and the Butcher now offers 9 different beef and protein varieties (not including seafood) and numerous ways to customize each steak.
“This new menu is about completing the vision,” said Ian Hall, owner of both Brooklyn and the Butcher and The Exchange pub + kitchen. Hall thinks the addition of pastas and new Small Plates items creates a menu that now offers something for everyone. “It’s about listening to our guests and building those relationships. We knew our guests loved steaks– that’s a no brainer. But we also knew they wanted something more. Something modern and fresh. The addition of pastas and the revamping of our Small Plates menu takes us into the future of where Brooklyn’s is heading.”
For more information on Brooklyn and the Butcher’s exciting new menu, please visit http://www.brooklynandthebutcher.com
To book a table at Brooklyn and the Butcher, please visit https://www.opentable.com/brooklyn-and-the-butcher-reservations-new-albany?restref=211531&rid=211531
Words & Images by Matt Simpson