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Fat Guy

THE BEST: NYC Butcher

98 posts in this topic

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?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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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

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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.

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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

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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.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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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.

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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.


Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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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

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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?

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" 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

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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

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


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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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.


Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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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?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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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.


Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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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.

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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)

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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


Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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