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THE BEST: NYC Butcher


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#1 Fat Guy

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Posted 02 September 2001 - 08:25 PM

Preet Baba made the statement on the "Omaha Steaks" thread in "General" that Lobel's is in a class by itself when it comes to butchers. He was specifically referring to steaks.

Anybody got a potential challenger to Lobel's in the steak arena? What about for other butchering needs? What's your favorite?


#2 SteveW

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Posted 02 September 2001 - 08:45 PM

In addition to any potential challenger to Lobel's for traditional big cut American beef. I would be interested in any top notch ethnic butcher shops, serving non-American beef. Where do the top Latin restaurants in NYC, get their beef & etc?

Steve


#3 pastrychef

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Posted 02 September 2001 - 10:42 PM

Restaurants don't get their meat from butchers. Better restaurants do their own butchering of subprimals anyway. They get it from distributors in the meatpacking neighborhood or out of the Bronx terminal market usually. There are a few ethnically focused meat suppliers I've heard of here and there but most restaurants whether they speak English, Spanish or Swahili get their beef from guys with Italian names.

#4 SteveW

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Posted 03 September 2001 - 06:32 AM

Chris, thanks for steering me straight, by saying that restaurants don't get their meat from butchers. Just before, Steven(Fat Guy) had mentioned in another thread in the General section(Omaha Steaks?), that most restaurants don't get their beef directly from butchers. That information didn't stay in my brain for long. Now I got the message & won't forget.

Steve


#5 Fat Guy

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Posted 03 September 2001 - 07:51 AM

I'll triple check to see if there are exceptions. Using a butcher as a broker would be a semi-exception to the blanket statement that restaurants don't buy from butchers. There may be others, but I do think in general it's safe to say that restaurants don't typically buy anything from standard retail stores unless they run out of something mid-service and have to send a cook out to get an emergency replacement.

#6 SteveW

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Posted 03 September 2001 - 06:05 PM

I just finished reading a feature mid-1999 NY Times article on Halal butcher shops. Halal meat is younger(less than two years old) & leaner than traditional American beef. The articles lists 6 NYC-area Halal butcher shops.

They are Halal Meat Company, 232 Atlantic Avenue; Halal Meat Market, 304 Atlantic Avenue; Fertile Crescent, 570 Atlantic Avenue; Chand and Halal Meat, 43-37 Main Street; Nusrat Comak's Halal Meat Market, 526 Ninth Avenue; Hason Orman Superior Halal Meat Market, 4105 Park Avenue.


#7 Rail Paul

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Posted 04 September 2001 - 09:34 AM

Some restaurants obtain specialty goods from D'Artagnan. D'A offers grouse, duck, gator, foie gras, snake, etc. Ms Daguin will locate and guarantee suppliers where necessary.

DeBragga & Spitler provides high end meat for many NYC restaurants. I believe they run their own sourcing, dry aging, and grading. Some folks would even say they run a headhunting service for younger chefs.

They're quoted in the NYT article on restaurant woes.


#8 SteveW

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Posted 04 September 2001 - 07:30 PM

Just finished reading NYT Restaurant slump article. Is DeBragga & Spitler, a butcher shop open to the public? Can anyone estimate how many butcher shops in NYC sell US Prime beef?

Steve


#9 pastrychef

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Posted 04 September 2001 - 11:32 PM

They're a big wholesale meat company with no retail outlet I know of though I wouldn't be surprised if they sell to many retail buthers as one of many suppliers that most local retailers use.

SteveW I want to make a point clear because you seem not to make this differenteiation. Restaurants and consumers pursue two almost totally different lines of supply. The minor overlap of an operation like D'Artagnan, and it is questionable whether D'Artagnan gives consumers the same products as restaurants, does not change that usually the distributors that work with restaurants do not deal with consumers and that retail groceries and butchers and fish stores rarely get any restaurants business.

I am curious you said you were in Montreal why this fascination with the most minor intricacies of the New York wholesale meat scene?


#10 SteveW

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Posted 05 September 2001 - 07:26 AM

" I am curious you said you were in Montreal why this fascination with the most minor intricacies of the New York wholesale meat scene?"

Chris, Rail Paul had mentioned Debragga & Spitler in earlier posting & seem to imply that it was a local butcher shop. As for my interest in the NY wholesale meat scene. My interest is in the NYC food/restaurant scene. Specifically steakhouses are one of my favorite topics.

Steve


#11 SteveW

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Posted 05 September 2001 - 07:31 AM

And one more thing, Chris. Since this is a NYC-based site & most members are from this area, I often focus on NYC. No problem for asking.

Steve


#12 Fat Guy

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Posted 05 September 2001 - 08:13 AM

Sometimes the answer to the question "Why are you interested in this" is simply "Because it's interesting."

#13 Rail Paul

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Posted 05 September 2001 - 12:12 PM

I'm sorry if you perceived I implied DeBragga & Spitler was a retail operation, it isn't.

D'Artagnan has successfully created a "brand" recognizable to both retail and wholesale trade. In King's Markets, their ducks command a Ū a pound premium. Several years ago, I heard George Faison say the wholesale trade would always be their main business, but retail was a part of the blend. Looks like they made it happen.


#14 Fat Guy

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Posted 05 September 2001 - 12:51 PM

Rail Paul, in your opinion does D'Artagnan provide the same quality of product to the retail consumer as it does to its restaurant clients?

#15 Rail Paul

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Posted 05 September 2001 - 08:55 PM

I'd love to give an authoritative answer, but I don't have one.  I'd be very surprised if they gave the best stuff to the retail (King's, etc) side.

Restaurant is very nice, good place for unusual meats, like boar. We may get there on Saturday, have tix for Major Barbara.


#16 Steve Plotnicki

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Posted 13 January 2002 - 04:32 PM

Hey let's give credit where credit is due. I mentioned DeBraga & Spitler as the source of the best prime rib on the steak thread last week. As for strip steaks, I'm not sure where Lobel's gets their strip steaks, although it might be from Debraga. I think Citarella has a pretty good butcher, as does Eli's. Has anyone tried the Niman Schiller beef at Eli's? I was disappointed by it. But the Niman Schiller Pork Belly that is served at places like Gramercy etc. is a great product.

#17 robert brown

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Posted 13 January 2002 - 06:41 PM

Steve, have you ever tried Schaller &  Weber? Good Traife; something you  heard about as a little pisher. They have the best weisswurst in town. Recently, however, we had a standing veal roast that was superb. Their pork tenderloin is excellent as well. I suspect it is not the place for steaks, however. I'm off Citarella since their Mexican butcher gave me pot roast instead of loin of pork, which I didn't discover until I got home. I made the manager come to my house with the right piece of meat. In principle I don't like the store. The fish selection is inconsistent, the fruits and vegetable section is bad, the desserts are too sweet and the bread is not well-chosen. No one who works there seems very happy, as evidenced by the lack of lively, colorful workers around. People must like it because they get ten times the customers as the other Upper East Side "fine" food shops. All I really need to go there for is the gefilte fish and this sugar-free Belgian chocolate bar they sell. People should post more about these kinds of places and what they like and dislike. That they rarely do is a weak aspect of the site. Kvetching on-line, though, is problematic. And that's how you go from traife to kvetching. Sound familiar?

(Edited by robert brown at 8:43 pm on Jan. 13, 2002)


#18 Rail Paul

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Posted 13 January 2002 - 07:56 PM

Steve Plotnicki -

OK, I give you credit for a statement you made last week in the steak thread. I stole it from you and used it in a comment I posted in September of 2001.

So. There! You said it first.

Paul


#19 Steve Plotnicki

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Posted 13 January 2002 - 08:36 PM

Robert - Schaller & Weber is the source for my choucroute ingredients. Once a year my wife makes the stuff (this year the night before New Years.) But I spoke to someone else recently who shops there for meat and thinks they are the best. I have to say, I don't buy meat to cook at home that often. And when I do, it is usually steak (Lobel's) or lamb chops (Citarella or Eli's.) But next time I'm in the market for a rump roast, I'll try them. But of you have never been, you need to go to the French Butcher. It will tramsport you back to France.

Paul - Thanks for the credit. It's hard to get these days. Actually I never bought anything directly from DeBraga & Spitler. It's advice that Mark Straussman the owner of Campagna gave me.


#20 robert brown

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Posted 13 January 2002 - 09:39 PM

Steve, what do you like from the French Butcher? How's his horse meat?

(Edited by robert brown at 11:40 pm on Jan. 13, 2002)


#21 Wilfrid

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Posted 14 January 2002 - 09:18 AM

I endorse the French Butcher recommendation.  Armand Carre is the real thing; his father was a butcher too, and passed the skills on.  He used to be the inhouse buther at Les Halles, but now has this small store on 3rd Avenue between 22nd and 23rd.  Be prepared to wait; he spends a lot of time on each customer.  The selection of meat on the premises always includes dry-aged steaks, and good cuts of veal and pork.  A few offal items, typically sweetbreads and brains, are available, as well as free range chickens and capons.  If you want to eat game or farmed small birds such as quail, you'll have to put in an order.  He'll try to find just about anything, and he guarantees the meat is non-frozen.  Also, some good sausages (great saucisse seche), and a few French cheeses.  And the homemade foie gras he sold me for Christmas was probably the best I've ever eaten.

Expensive?  Er, yes, very.  Oh, and you should also go to Gramercy Fish next door.


#22 JayPeeBee

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Posted 14 January 2002 - 02:18 PM

Robert.  Do your criticisms of Citarella hold for the west side store as well?  I've shopped there frequently and have no complaints about quality or service.  Where is the French Butcher?  We had one in our neighborhood (B'way/91) next to Carmines and we bought all our meat from him.  he left about six years ago.  He had the best sausages! Chorizo et. al.

#23 Wilfrid

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Posted 14 January 2002 - 02:29 PM

I think I narrowed down the location of "The" French Butcher in my post above :cheesy:

#24 robert brown

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Posted 14 January 2002 - 07:08 PM

Wilfrid, is the French Butcher on Second Avenue? JPB, I stopped going to the West Side Citarella for the most part since it is easier for me to go to the East Side store. It seems to me that the prepared foods look better on the West Side, but I can't honestly say about the fish, meat and produce. There are all kinds of tricks people play in my neighborhood, and it appears that no one is fastidious about throwing away stuff as soon as it is past its peak, be it fish, fruits, vegetables, and cheese. (Prepared and baked food as well). You know, they use Halogen lights, cut away the outside leaves, wrap cheese in several layers of cling wrap, and so forth. I also don't like when they limit your ability to buy just the amount that you really need; i.e three leeks tied together (not to mention carrots, arrugula in plastic wrappers, cheese already sliced, etc. Now you got me going on this stuff.

#25 Sandra Levine

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Posted 14 January 2002 - 07:47 PM

The French Butcher is on Second Avenue, according to the phone and to my recollection.  I went there a coupleof weeks ago for venison, but it was so expensive that I settled for veal scallops.  Everything in the store looked terrific, and I told the butcher that I would be back for the venison the next time my husband settled a big case.

#26 Wilfrid

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Posted 15 January 2002 - 08:22 AM

SORRY SORRY SORRY.  How did I type 3rd.  383 2nd Avenue between 22nd and 23rd, telephone 725 4165, and it's Arnaud Carre, not Armand.  What sloppiness :angry:

Sandra, if you are talking about the aged French rack of venison, yes it's expensive, but it's like butter.  I have rarely eaten better.  

#27 TL

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Posted 15 January 2002 - 10:37 AM

Check out Florence Meat Market down in the Village.

#28 Daniel

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 08:34 AM

I have been having problems with the butchers at citarella on the UWS recently... I think these people are more like glorified meat wrappers then real butchers.. Wether i buy a duck or some turkey breasts, depending on who you get, they piss and moan about having to do anything.. One guy last week tried to charge me an extra five bucks to debone a duck.. He eventually refused to do it at all because that was a specialty order.. I also bought natural sausage casings from them and this guy came up with this ridiculous arbitrary price there.. Based on nothing..

I must say the fish department is really good and the people are friendly.. But if you feel like getting anything other then a pre-cut steak or maybe some chopped meat, those lazy bastards at the meat department will most likely not do it.. This is not to say all of them, but i can say it for three of them for sure..

edit to add: the fish department is really good, except i cant believe they have crawfish at 9.99 a pound..

Edited by Daniel, 06 June 2005 - 11:13 AM.


#29 emsny

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 09:07 AM

We shouldn't forget the Greenmarket(s) - not for beef, that's for sure, but certainly for pork (Flying Pigs Farm and Paul what's-his-name) and lamb (3-Corners Field Farm).

#30 marlena spieler

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Posted 06 June 2005 - 11:52 AM

THE FRENCH BUTCHER

The most horrible experience I have ever had shopping for food.

My daughter the doctor was in the mood for steak, so we had seen the French Butcher and decided that would be the best place to shop for the meat.

The butcher (French, middle aged, the owenr--I asked) was the meanest, nastiest, really horrid insulting man I"ve ever met. My daughter and I had trotted over happy as a clam, ready to spend some money on a really nice cut of meat, and we ended up with a bitter taste in our mouth.

I can't even tell you if the steak tasted good or not, because we felt like we had eaten something horrible.

I will say this, though: if the meat had been extraordinary I would have noticed. I think it was okay.

One of her collaegues (the building is peopled with staff from the hospital) also went there for a meaty treat, and came back saying: what a mean mean man!

but then a few months ago i went there (no place else open, i thought the quality of the meat would have to be higher than a supermarket) and the butcher wasn't there, his assistant, or salesman was. A young guy. very nice. didn't know much about meat, or wasn't sharing his knowledge with us if he did, but at least he didn't insult us or throw anything, so we were happy. again: fine meat, okay meat, nothing special.

but that butcher was sooooooo mean! MEAN! memorably meat! as witness this posting.

i've been waiting to share this for while, the opportunity never came up.

i don't think you can sell even the finest of anything with a bad attitude. I'll always go to the farmers market for meat, now. or Les Halles.......

Marlena.
Marlena the spieler



www.marlenaspieler.com