Think: elegant casual. Black-and-white checkered cloth tablecloths on the center rows of tables make lively the simple décor that’s otherwise set off by a rear wall of weathered brick. A smartly designed divider “wall” separates the large dining room into two cozier halves while keeping a sense of spaciousness. On prominent display just inside the front door is a prized claim to fame: a 500-liter oak barrel that helped The Sicilian Butcher earn a Guinness World Records title this past October for the largest Negroni cocktail.
The restaurant’s end location anchoring a small shopping center allows it to have two patios. One, attractively fenced in with shrubbery below a canvas covering (and, for winter months, warmed by well-positioned space heaters), fronts to Tatum Road. Around the corner on the north side is the outdoor part of The Sicilian Butcher’s large indoor-outdoor bar.
The innovative menu concept, from the restaurateurs behind Tomaso’s Italian Restaurant and Hash Kitchen, is built around a favorite comfort food: meatballs. With 11 different meatballs, nine different sauces and 10 different “bottoms,” the number of possible combinations is nearly exponential. Traditionalists can go with Tomaso’s Sicilian Meatballs (ground veal, prime beef, pork, pine nuts, raisins, pecorino cheese, garlic and fresh herbs) topped with marinara sauce and served over spaghetti. But worth taking a culinary detour for is Eggplant Parm Balls (roasted eggplant, basil, parmigiano cheese, fresh mozzarella and herb bread crumbs) topped with the truffle mushroom sauce and served over … wait for it … creamy polenta made with mascarpone and parmigiano cheeses, cream and extra virgin olive oil; or Lump Crab and Shrimp with a parmigiano cream sauce over a Caesar Salad.
Next to the open kitchen, a floor-to-ceiling display case with cured meats hanging over stacked cheese wheels gives a hint of the variety possible for the charcuterie boards. And along with bruschettas, flatbreads and salads, The Sicilian Butcher offers sandwiches muffuletta style (on a round Sicilian sesame bread) as well as on popular stand-by ciabatta buns. Bookending the entrées are a tempting selection of appetizers and desserts — the former ranging from polenta fries to charred octopus, and the latter from tiramisu (of course) to the flaky pastry of strogliatelle to a chocolate Nutella mousse.
The Sicilian Butcher
15530 N. Tatum Blvd., Phoenix • (602) 775 5140