AFTER THE WINERY: The Whole Ox

So, we weren’t planning to review anything other than wineries and the occasional wine-related product. But after eating at The Whole Ox in Marshall, VA, we just had to add a new category of posts for places you should visit after you spend the day winery hopping.

During the day, The Whole Ox is a butcher shop (which we’ll have to check out at some point very, very soon), focusing on snout-to-tail products from humanely raised animals, and their shelves are stacked with wine and beer (much of it local), coffee (also local), cheese (yep, still local), and a few prepared food items like soup and sandwiches.

At night, they turn into Butcher Bar, an unabashedly carnivorous restaurant that takes the same snout-to-tail approach to its menu items. To quote their website: “We try very hard to keep the whole experience comfortable, easy, and unadorned. We do not take reservations, we do not use fancy stemware, we have no vegetarian options. We keep service as simple and un-stuffy as possible, keeping the focus on the food and having a good time.” And that is exactly the experience we had there.

We had the sausage of the day (Polish sausage that night, if I remember correctly), beef heart tartare (which actually acted like a bit of a palate cleanser between the richer items), mussels in a local cider sauce (THEY BROUGHT US A SPOON FOR THE LEFTOVER SAUCE), bread with whipped herbed lard “butter,” orange brûlée tart, and coffee. It was the best meal we had in months. MONTHS.

Sadly, we had already eaten light hors d’oeuvres at somewhat lackluster wine club event before rolling up to Butcher Bar, so we limited ourselves to heavy apps, but we’ll be back. Oh, yes. We’ll be back. And we’ll come hungry.

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