What’s the vibe
M’Eat Resto Butcher brings nose-to-tail cuisine to Leslieville with its butcher shop-cum-restaurant concept. Chef Cameron Nelson sources the restaurant’s meat a whole cow at a time, from a handful of ethical Ontario farms that he’s personally visited and vetted.
Everything is butchered on-site, broken down into chuck, rib, loin, brisket and other cuts, as well as ground beef, that are either sold at the butcher shop or presented on the restaurant menu. The restaurant also carries duck and an ever-changing variety of game meats like bison and venison, along with some solid vegetarian-friendly options.
Diners can pick out cuts to cook at home from the butcher shop, or let Nelson and his team do the work and dine on-site. Decorated with barnboard, rough stone and Edison bulbs, the restaurant’s rustic interior reflects its connection to the farms its meats come from. There’s also a lovely patio out back with wooden picnic tables and a leafy herb garden.
What to drink
Simplicity is the name of the game at M’Eat and this philosophy extends to the drink menu. There are no cocktails, just beer, wine and spirits. Beers on tap and by the bottle come from Hamilton’s Fairweather Brewing Company and there are also some cans available from local stalwarts like Muddy York and Eastbound.
Red, white and sparkling wines are offered by the ounce or bottle -- appropriate for the meat-heavy menu, the wine list emphasizes reds. Most are Old World options, none of which are available at the LCBO.
What to eat
Dinners are served family-style, with the menu divided into a chalkboard butcher block menu, a raw bar of dishes like tartare, tataki and carpaccio, plus salads. There are also vegan “cow’s trough” options and a “dairy farm” menu of vegetarian-friendly dishes made with butter, cream or cheese, all of which make for great sides or can be combined to make a full meal for non-meat eaters.
Chef Nelson’s approach is to let the quality of the meat speak for itself with pared-down seasonings and ingredients, but Japanese influences are peppered throughout the menu. From the cow’s trough menu, our green beans came battered in tempura with a ponzu dipping sauce. The beef tataki, which is marinated in sake, had clean flavours and beautiful marbling.
The parade of meat continued with a buttery venison tartare and a platter of tenderloin, which got an extra kick from blue cheese sea salt and a zippy chimichurri. Pickled blueberries and grilled corn splashed with coconut herb oil were a delicious companion to juicy duck breast. To finish the meal, there’s a daily dessert on the menu or you can do as we did and wash it all down with a glass of whisky.
Dinner and drinks for two: about $90
806 Queen St E, meatrestobutcher.com