The Sicilian Butcher, a new restaurant helmed by Joey Maggiore, opens at 3 p.m. today. The place totes out meat-and-cheese boards that are 5 feet long. Bruschetta comes on rotating circular platters. Maggiore, who until now was the chef at Hash Kitchen, is the mind behind the gravity-defying Bloody Marys you have probably seen plastered on Instagram. Maggiore is keenly attuned to food's viral factors.
Maggiore is also Sicilian. His father, Tomaso Maggiore (of the Tomaso’s restaurants), comes from Bagheria, a town near Palermo on the north coast of Sicily. Sicilian cuisine combines Italian, Spanish, Greek, Arabic, and African flavors. It’s not common in the Valley’s restaurants, or the country's. What Maggiore aims to do at The Sicilian Butcher is combine Italian food, Sicilian food, and his calculated bigger-is-better approach to how food can look good (and be digitally shareable) in 2017.
“Craft meatballs" form the heart of the menu. They come in close to a dozen takes ranging from more familiar (like beef) to Sicilian (like pine nut and raisin) to creative (like eggplant parm).
You start by picking the meatball you want. You then select one of nine sauces from a roster that contains the likes of vodka sauce, carbonara, and Sicilian almond pesto. Finally you select a “bottom” to come under your meatballs: fresh pasta, risotto, gnocchi, salad, or bread (for a meatball sandwich).
Pasta is made in-house using an Arcobaleno extruder. In the southern Italian style, Maggiore makes his pasta dough from semolina flour, water, and skips the egg. Fitting his cutting-edge visual aesthetic, he doesn’t mess around with unsexy pasta shapes, offering spaghetti alla chitarra (square spaghetti), mafaldine (ribbons), and paccheri (huge tubes).
Various boards make up a considerable portion of the menu. One features Sicilian street foods like panelle (fried chickpea flour) and fried cuttlefish. The weapon-like 5-foot appetizer board has some of these offerings plus meats, cheeses, pickles, jams, and just about every kind of picking you could imagine.
The kitchen will also be doing salads and flatbreads. Panini are on the casual-veering menu, too, including one with a muffuletta bun stuffed with ricotta, two other cheeses, and olive oil. Called vastedda con ricotta, the 'wich is often grabbed from bakeries mornings in the neck of Sicily the Maggiore clan comes from.
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Other interesting touches appear. Joey uses colatura, a fish sauce that has been fermented in southern parts of the Italian peninsula since before Julius Caesar. Maggiore plates fried pasta bites, a snack casually munched on pre-pie in Italian pizzerias. Dessert will include modernized cassata, one of the world's great desserts, a Sicilian cake featuring candied fruit and cannoli cream.
Doors open at 3 p.m. this afternoon. The first 150 folks in line will score a free meatball.
The Sicilian Butcher. 15530 North Tatum Boulevard, #160, Scottsdale. 602-775-5140
Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
*Note: Opens at 3 p.m. until December 8, when lunch hours begin