The Sicilian Butcher
The Maggiore Group has been serving food in the Phoenix area since 1977, with the opening of Tomaso’s on Camelback Road. Their newest sensation is located further north at the intersection of Tatum and Greenway. While the modern décor and atmosphere is very nice, the real star is the menu. Focusing on many different Italian styles, the biggest draw may be the Craft meatball section that allows you to play chef and make your own unique creations.
There are a lot of options on the Charcuterie and Bruschetta menus, as well as other small plate options that are perfect to share. They also have flatbreads and salad options too. There are so many great options including a charcuterie board that requires a minimum of 4 patrons that is served on a five-foot board.
We started with the Cured Meat and Cheese board ($14). It has a selection of their Artisanal dried meats that are cured in house. It is served along with a selection of cheeses and a few crostini pieces. It is also accompanied with some jam and pickled vegetables and condiments. All the meats and cheeses were wonderful and each had different flavor profiles that you could mix and match to make different combinations. I do personally wish that there were some more pieces of toasted bread, so that you don’t feel like you have to pile the ingredients on to the few pieces that you are given.
We then ordered a selection of Bruschetta (4 pieces for $15). There are nine different combinations to choose from but you can select one option or mix and match as you wish. We selected four different options to sample. They are served on larger slices of toasted Italian bread, and they do not skimp on the toppings. The first one we tried was the Smoked Blue Cheese aioli with sliced tomato, arugula, and Bresaola. Bresaola is air-dried, salted beef that is commonly aged two or three months until it becomes hard and turns a dark red. It is made from top round beef, and is lean and tender. The peppery arugula mixed perfectly with the Bresaola and the tartness of the tomatoes. The Blue cheese aioli, which I feared could have been over powering, was perfectly done and rounded out the dish perfectly. The next bruschetta was the Ricotta, Prosciutto, honey and hazelnut. Ricotta cheese is one of my favorites and when it is paired with Prosciutto, it is perfect. The sweetness of the honey and the earthiness of the hazelnuts made this my favorite Bruschetta of the evening. That was until I took a bite into the Local Dates, Ricotta, and Bacon selection. The salty and sweet was pure perfection. The not overly sweet dates are an unsung dried fruit in my opinion. I am already excited to return and order this one again. Not to be forgotten was the final Bruschetta, Whipped Goat Cheese, Roasted Peppers, and Herb Pesto. The tartness of the goat cheese helped mellow out the robust flavor of the peppers. The pesto brought them together in each bite. I would recommend being a fan of roasted peppers before ordering this one, as it is the most dominant flavor.
We then ordered the Arancini ($12) from the appetizer section of the menu. This was three egg shaped saffron rice balls that are delicately stuffed with fresh mozzarella, meat ragu, and English peas. They are then lightly breaded and deep-fried for a crispy outer crust. They are served on a spoonful of tomato sauce to add to the flavor. The addition of the saffron to the rice and the English peas brings this dish to a different level. This combination brought it to a level in which I had never been lucky enough to experience prior to this meal. My only sadness was that there were only three eggs, and I was sharing the meal.
We then moved on to the Craft Meatball section of the meal. You start by choosing from a list of eight different meatball creations. They have two different price levels and include such creative options such as Eggplant, Turkey, Lamb or even Lump Crab and Shrimp. Once you have decided on the protein, you then choose your sauce. There are nine different sauces ranging from Marinara to Truffle Mushroom, with lots of other options in between. Then finally you select the base in which they will be served on. There are ten different options here. These include some of their in house made pasta, including gluten free. But there is also Risotto, Gnocchi, and even Caesar Salad to choose from. So be prepared to spend some time in this section, and get creative with your combinations. We decided on ordering the Uncle Arthur’s N.Y. Meatballs ($18) with a Sunday Sugo sauce, and a base of Creamy Polenta. The meatballs are ground lamb and ground beef mixture with aged Provolone cheese. The Sunday Sugo sauce is a veal, beef, and pork with a mirapoix mixture. It has a rich flavor and paired perfectly with the meatballs. The base of polenta had added flavors from Mascarpone and Parmigiano cheeses and cream. The entire dish was very rich with flavor and was extremely filling. We were glad to all be sharing from the one bowl, as it would have been too much for one person, especially with all the prior dishes.
I have some real creative mixtures in mind for the next visit, and the only limitation seems to be my imagination. The mix of great indoor and outdoor space makes you feel like you are in an upscale area location as opposed to in a strip mall section. A visit to the Sicilian Butcher gives you a chance to play chef on a private scale, and you can claim success when you build the perfect dish.
Location and Website – 15530 N Tatum Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85032 thesicilianbutcher.com