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Nov 17, 2003 09:04 AM

Horse meat in NY - Balthazar?

  • l

Does anyone know of any restaurants in New York City that serve horse meat? I was in Montreal this past weekend and was disappointed that a restaurant I had gone to specifically for a horse dish (The Continental on St. Denis, if anyone is interested) was actually out of it for the evening.

So, my search to try this in the US has begun. I've read up on the legal issues surrounding this and it seems to be OK here in the States. (At least from a legal standpoint, though it looks like it may be rough times for the producers in Texas, but I digress.) And Balthazar serves a burger on its menu listed as "À cheval" - could this be it or is it a silly name for something entirely different? If it is, has anyone tried it? And doesn anyone know of anywhere to get this not in a ground form?

Many thanks for your honest answers. (If this is going to become a flame war, please have the courtesy to bring it up on the general topics board.)

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  1. Oh, I have worked on this for a couple of years already, after a trip to France where I enjoyed lots of wonderful horse meat in various forms.

    Unfortunately, horse meat for human consumption is illegal in most of the U.S. It goes according to state law. In NY, it's illegal. All over the northeast, actually.

    I was in touch with the major meat wholesalers all over the northeast - no luck. I even tried to contact slaughterhouses in Pennsylvania and other states - no luck.

    So to Montreal I went this summer, where I had some wonderful meals which included horsemeat. You could try sneaking some back with you next time you go (I brought in plenty of stinky raw milk cheeses and nothing happened)...

    10 Replies
    1. re: Nina W.

      "A cheval" means "on horseback." It refers to grilled meat served with a fried or poached egg on top.

      1. re: Sandy L.

        Yeah - the "a" in front of it made it sound like it could be something besides actual horse meat... thanks for the clarification.

      2. re: Nina W.

        I was going to bring it back, but my favorite butcher in Montreal - in the Marche Jean-Talon, mentioned that all meat items, regardless if they were beef or horse, chicken, etc., were being confiscated at the border. A friend was driving and I wasn't going to get him in trouble, so I didn't bring any back. Might I ask which restaurants you tried this at, and what were the preparations. (If you would post this on the Montreal board, that would be fantastic.)

        And thanks for your insight into the legal issue. I realized it was up to the states on this one, and I couldn't find anything that mentioned that is was illegal in NYS. BTW - what is the Balthazar burger of that name?

        1. re: Lambretta76

          Sandy's right about the Balthazar dish.

          I did post on the Montreal board, I think...try July some time.

          1. re: Lambretta76

            Just a thought if you are still following this thread... If you bring Horse meat back and face questions, assert that the meat is intended for use as dog food. Horse meat is widely used in canned dog food in the USA, so it must be legal to possess.

            1. re: Dave Embody

              Who knows what dog food comanies do not use horse meat?

              1. re: Dave Embody

                It's illegal to transport meat across the border no matter what the purpose unless you're an importer, which I think needs some kind of special license.

                Nonetheless, I do it all the time (just brought some smoked reindeer back from Stockholm a few months ago). It's easy, and if you get caught, the worst that will probably happen is they'll take it away from you.

            2. re: Nina W.

              What's the rationale behind the widespread ban? Is it a health thing (e.g., trichinosis or Mad Cow disease) or do U.S. citizens simply hold a different ethical view of horses?

              I'm not trying to start a flame war; just curious.

              1. re: Dave-O

                I have no idea. Do some google searches - there's lots of information. A lot from animal rights groups and the like.

                1. re: Dave-O

                  It's definitely not mad cow disease - in fact, one of the reasons horse meat experiences a resurgence in France is because it DOESN'T have any connection to mad cow disease...

              2. Oh and yes, the Balthazar "a cheval" dish is just called that as a stylistic thing - it's not horse meat. Believe me, I got all excited too...and then disappointed.

                1. It is illegal to eat horse meat in the United States. However, it is legal to slaughter horses and export their meat to other countries. The only two horse slaughterhouses remaining in the US are in Texas, and legislation surrounding their survival looks to be pending...



                  1. Watch out, horse meat is full of drugs that should not be consumed by people...horses go to slaughter alll the time that were once someone's pet and that person gave them antibiotics, hormones, and other strong drugs/supplements to keep the horse healthy and sound not ever intending that horse would go for human consumption - unfortunately there is ZERO regulation on horse meat so you literally can be poisoning yourself if you eat it. Stick to beef, Buddy.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Katmandu2

                      There's likely to be more antibiotics in most commercial beef than in a pet horse.

                      1. re: Carniv0re

                        A lot of horses that are sold to foreign slaughterhouses are former race horses, so the odds of them having something "extra" in the meat are pretty high I would think.