BY LEE ANN SANDWEISS
The Butcher’s Block owner David Schell is feeling confident as he begins his voyage into unchartered waters as purveyor of a new seafood restaurant. “We’ve been listening to our customers for nine years, and we know what they like,” he says.
In December, No Coast Reserve, Schell’s new seafood restaurant and raw bar, will open next to The Butcher’s Block at 115 Ind. 46, on the city’s east side. Known for its selection of high-quality meats and fresh fish, The Butcher’s Block celebrated its ninth anniversary in October.
“We want to provide the best seafood in a landlocked town in a casual atmosphere,” says Seth Elgar, manager and executive chef of the new restaurant. “This is a totally new, high-quality approach unlike anything Bloomington has seen before.”
The fish for The Butcher’s Block (and for the future restaurant) is flown direct from various suppliers and independent fishermen on the Eastern Seaboard from Maine to Virginia, as well as the Florida Gulf and California. According to Schell, it takes about 22 hours from the time he places an order until the fish arrives in the store.
As for how the fish in No Coast Reserve will be prepared, Elgar says, “We’ll be doing classic French, Louisiana-style, and Japanese tartares. We will also do house-cured lox, ceviches, and Italian-style crudo.” Beer and wine that complement the raw bar offerings will be served.
Food will be prepared in two separate kitchens. The front kitchen/prep space is located at the raw bar and allows customers to see the chefs in action. Other food prep will be done in the interior kitchen.
No Coast Reserve and The Butcher’s Block will have a common vestibule entry that allows customers access to both establishments. “The co-branding concept is new to Bloomington but not in cities like Chicago or San Francisco,” explains Schell.
The interior, designed by Breanne Clark, owner of Felicia Margaret Design, will feature bench seating, reclaimed wood and limestone, and natural light. “We’re going for an eclectic feel that is modern and classy with industrial and nautical touches, with a primary focus around the bar to showcase the art of the food,” says Clark. “Lighting will also be a key element. We want the space to be inviting midday, but also as an intimate date-night spot.”