Barque Butcher Bar
Barque Butcher Bar sits a couple doors down from the original smokehouse on Roncy. It's an all day kind of joint that operates as a barbecue-centric butcher by day and a snack bar by night.
The shop carries all the essentials to make great BBQ at home. You'll find cookers from Traegers , plus, accessories like lump charcoal, wood chips and pellets in single-use quantities. Those without a backyard will find trays and racks for slow-cooking in any oven.
Before 5pm, the counters are stocked with a selection of local produce from 100km Foods , while vacuumed-sealed meats are a available in various stages of readiness.
An apothecary cabinet is stocked with baggies of seasonings, rubs, and even some esoteric ingredients you likely won't find elsewhere. There are notepads handy to jot down recipes and instructions doled out by the knowledgeable staff.
Refrigerator cases house raw meats like whole chickens ($14.25), strip steaks ($18), and duck legs ($14) already treated (trimmed/brined/injected/what not) and ready to be cooked at home. Even easier than that, there's pre-smoked brisket in jus ($15) and baby back ribs ($17) sealed in plastic ready to be reheated and served.
There are also ready-to-eat selections like salads, wraps, and family-sized side dishes, while lunch counter service will offer hot made-to-order foods like brisket and roast chicken sandwiches.
The transition from retail store to bar and dining room happens around 5pm and while it takes only a few minutes, it's far more drastic than I anticipated. The grocery items are cleared from the counters which fold down into bar tops and are then furnished with the most comfortable bar stools I've ever seen; tufted leather upholstery complete with arm and backrests.
The dining room boasts seating for 50. Bar menus are distributed to the tables along with a seasonally driven list of app-sized dishes printed on butcher's paper.
I should note that bar is actually open all day, so you can enjoy a pint of St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat ($6) or a glass of Lailey Syrah ($14) anytime while you shop. Stronger drinks (probably best enjoyed alongside food) include a range of cocktails, international whiskies and 10 different types of hooch. Alcohol-free options include hand-stirred Boylan's soda in bottomless quantities.
To eat, there are snack foods like house-made BBQ corn nuts ($3), and deliciously mellow smoked olives ($3) finished with fennel pollen and chive flowers.
More substantial are the chorizo ribs ($12) a pile of baby back ribs seasoned to taste like sausage, cooked to a perfect peel-off-the-bone state, then served with varied pickles.
The smoked venison tartare ($13) is swoon-worthy. The cold-smoked meat is supple and just gently flavoured by hickory then tossed with classic accoutrements like pickled mustard seeds and cornichons. Crostini on the side and a sweet and tangy pickled egg seal the deal.
The Butcher Bar makes it possible to do Barque at home with lots of tips and cheats, but don't expect the same old when you dine in. The menu of apps and bar snacks is more adult-oriented and definitely intended to go along with drinks.
Photos by Jesse Milns