The Arrogant Butcher- A Humble Review
Updated: Dec 5, 2022
Despite all my loneliness I’ve begun to feel like a part of Phoenix; I’ve begun to sink my talons into her like she first did to me. I love her head shops and her bodegas, liquor stores that haven’t been dusted in decades, her decrepit corners and decay. I love the palm trees against purple mountains and psychedelic sunsets devouring cacti in a late evening glow. I love the sloppy, hasty hand-written signs- “raspados” and “carniceria”- inviting one to take a plastic seat beneath swaying tea lights. And I love to see how the locals gather there to share in laughter and cervesas.
The corner of 1st St. and Jefferson may be grittier, but nonetheless remains as charming. Mid-century architecture reflects in more modern, mirrored facades. I point them out to my husband, exclaiming in pleasure, but he is a little too preoccupied with the crosswalk to fully appreciate how golden and honey-thick the rays have become in the window glass.
Evening settles around us. The Arrogant Butcher beckons its presence in the marquee lights of a grandiose, downward-arrow sign. Table for two? Would the patio be alright? At first, I am a tad disappointed. From the patio we peep glances of the interior’s gallery wall; its sophisticated chandeliers and cushioned booths.
But as twilight descends heavier upon the city, I see we have made the right choice. We have front row seats to the show. I feel absolutely Parisian as I sip cabernet and spy an altercation here, a raucous passerby there. A lady in a white sundress, dark hair flowing down her back, shrieks as she stomps down Jefferson. “-never coming to this establishment aGAIN! I’m vaxxed, you motherfuckers!” Her middle finger flings up. A restaurant employee, properly masked (unlike the pedestrian had been), peaks his head out a bit on the patio. Once satisfied that she is gone, he shakes it sadly, and disappears inside.
The light rail clangs. Sleek rides bump trap music. Lowlifes and lovers light up cigarettes as they stroll. They all get swallowed up in the violet haze; and the lights atop South Mountain, visible from where we are seated, begin to pulse red like a myriad of bat eyes in the dark.
Our waitress, Fiona, is lovely. She compliments my attire, our choice of charcuterie, my entrée selection. By the time The Butcher’s Platter arrives I am sufficiently tipsy and more than a little peckish- our anticipation only grows with each delicacy Fiona presents.
green chili cornbread •
cherry marmalade •
crusty bread •
assorted olives •
truffled crescenza •
spicy mustard •
goat cheese stuffed peppers •
bacon wrapped roast sweet potatoes •
Bites are stolen before a picture can be hastily snapped.
As much as I want to appear cosmopolitan- nibbles paired with sips of wine- we go feral on the platter, tastebuds singing at each exquisite bite. This charcuterie, with its delicate southwestern details, is all at once exotic and reminiscent of home.
Prime rib appears to be a house specialty, and we catch a smoky, fragrant cloud waft through whenever the kitchen door is cracked. Sid has ordered his in the form of a French dip with au jus- never enough au jus, Sid remarks sadly- and wolfs down its entirety before I have even a few bites of my stew. The stew is absolutely proper, the prime rib so tenderly shredded that it melts into the other ingredients and subsequently one’s mouth. Rather than the usual collaboration of carrots and potatoes, the heartily seasoned bowl is truly more of a comforting chili: spicy notes and pinto beans, cornbread on the side and fried egg on top.
Alas, my eyes have reigned larger than my stomach, and I take the leftovers home to enjoy with more indica. The most delicious of desserts still awaits- a satiated walk back to our car and a drive through the city at night. I settle into the wine-feeling and quiet contentment, eyes still feasting on solemn skyscrapers alongside hushed Victorian homesteads. Phoenix yawns and stretches, arching her feathered back; a slowly waking vampire, a hunter rising from her bed of dust.
The Arrogant Butcher