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Best LA Butcher?

bastaLA Jan 2, 2007 10:25 PM

Had a friend looking for a butcher the other night and I had the hardest time referring him. Any assistance welcome.

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  1. m
    mc michael RE: bastaLA Jan 2, 2007 10:50 PM

    You could do a search, or you could just go with Harvey Guss.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mc michael
      David Kahn RE: mc michael Jan 2, 2007 11:38 PM

      The prime dry aged NY strips at Harvey's Guss (949 S. Ogden, (323) 937-4622) are some of the best I've ever had.

      1. re: David Kahn
        budlit RE: David Kahn Jan 3, 2007 12:06 AM

        agreed, he is the best!

      2. re: mc michael
        stollingrone007 RE: mc michael Aug 4, 2007 06:24 PM

        Thanks for this recommendation.
        Had my first experience last night. We ordered 5 Kansas City steaks from Harvey. Perfection.

      3. julietg RE: bastaLA Jan 2, 2007 11:04 PM

        I like the guys at Huntington Meats in the Farmers Market.

        But does anyone have a more local solution? I've been looking, too for quite some time for a great neighborhoody place.

        7 Replies
        1. re: julietg
          bastaLA RE: julietg Jan 2, 2007 11:06 PM

          Thanks. I forgot about those guys. If only I could get around the parking

          1. re: julietg
            Professor Salt RE: julietg Jan 3, 2007 12:30 AM

            "More local" being where?

            1. re: Professor Salt
              julietg RE: Professor Salt Jan 3, 2007 12:35 AM

              East LA (best), South Pas, Glendale, Silverlake

              By "local," I really meant the kind of place where you know the butcher's name, and they know your tastes.

              1. re: julietg
                JudiAU RE: julietg Jan 3, 2007 01:59 AM

                It is a big city. You can develop these relationships with any of the better places in town. You just have to make the effort.

                LA Magazine had an article a few years ago about a place in Arcadia or near there, something country market that was good. My husband went there once for a special order and it was good.

                1. re: JudiAU
                  julietg RE: JudiAU Jan 3, 2007 03:40 AM

                  Not sure if it's about making an effort. I guess what I am looking for is a small, family owned business, a storefront.

                  Not the butcher counter of a larger market.

                  At larger stores, it's hit or miss whether you get a seasoned professional, or a kid who doesn't know if the meat came in that morning or last Thursday.

                  I've been to "good" butchers and fishmongers and have asked, "well, what would you take home to your family tonight?" and have been met with blank stares and/or fingers pointing to whatever happens to be right there in the case. Or even worse- "Me? I like the hamburger." No kidding. A guy behind the Whole Foods Glendale counter actually told me I should choose the ground chuck, and how he really liked McDonald's, that it was so much better than In 'n' Out. Really. I had this conversation in a Whole Foods.

                  I think I went home with a chicken that night.

                  1. re: julietg
                    mc michael RE: julietg Jan 3, 2007 06:18 AM

                    Every time I've been to Harvey Guss, I've talked to Harvey (OK, nobody else was there). And he does talk if you engage him. And he's a likeable curmudgeon.

                    1. re: julietg
                      JudiAU RE: julietg Jan 3, 2007 05:59 PM

                      My point is that even in large stores such as Whole Foods you can forge relationships with talented people. Last week they were out of duck breasts and Will, who happens to work at the WF in WeHo was more than willing to butcher two ducks for us so that we could have duck breasts.

            2. blackbookali RE: bastaLA Jan 2, 2007 11:32 PM

              Alexander Meat's in San Gabriel is really good. Bristol Farms is good but a bit $$$. Jim's on Fallbrook in the valley is great - esp. for marinated meats. Both butchers at the Fairfax Farmers market. Owen meats on the westside. And Harver Guss if you can plan ahead.

              1 Reply
              1. re: blackbookali
                bastaLA RE: blackbookali Jan 5, 2007 02:14 AM

                Exactly what I was looking for. The mom and pop Meat shop... Thank you.

              2. b
                bdumes RE: bastaLA Jan 3, 2007 01:38 AM

                I agree with the above posts that both meat markets in the 3rd and Fairfax Farmer's Market are great (Marconda’s Meats and Huntington Meats & Sausage).

                I am very fortunate that I can walk there in five minutes, so they are my neighborhood butcher shop and I don't have to deal with parking. These people are knowledgable and can suggest recipies and cooking methods. Though the guy at Huntington looked at me rather oddly when I told him that I use pancetta in my burritos. Trust me, ANYTHING is better with pancetta. :-)

                3 Replies
                1. re: bdumes
                  Paliman RE: bdumes Jan 3, 2007 02:48 AM

                  Actually the parking is not too bad if you know the secret. Turn in off of Fairfax, turn left into the parking lot in front of stores, before Maggianos. You have to get a Farmers Market validation, but I never have a problem doing it. Just avoid the Grove structure and the little lot adjacent to the FM itself.

                  Also for poultry, Puritan can not be beat.

                  I really prefer Marconda's as I think they have better quality with the Piedmontese from Montana. Huntington was the old sausage place in the middle of the market that bought out Johnny Tusquella's market when he retired. Johnny buys or bought his meat at Marconda's which is a great rec. I have not seen him in several years.

                  1. re: Paliman
                    carlaann RE: Paliman Jan 3, 2007 03:56 AM

                    The Grove gives an hour of free parking now. Sometimes it is easier than Farmers Market.

                    1. re: Paliman
                      bdumes RE: Paliman Jan 3, 2007 03:07 PM

                      Being a local, I know about this other lot, but I prefer to walk.

                      I didn't know the history of the meat markets, but that is interesting. I like them both for different things. The Huntington usually has a nicer variety, though Marconda's has a better selection of pork. I love those pork steaks for $2.49/lb (used to always be $1.99). They are a great bargain and taste wonderful. Off topic, but here's what I do with them:

                      pre-heat the oven to 450. salt the top of the pork steak and cover with onion thinly sliced. Cover and back 1/2 hour. Remove from oven, turn down to 350, add a mixture of 1.5 cups water, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 3 tbsp ketchup, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp sesame seeds, garlic, pepper, korean hot pepper flakes and whatever else strikes my fancy at the time. Cover again and bake another couple of hours. During the last hour, I throw in some potato and carrots, cut into medium pieces. Sop up the juices with crusty bread. Very good on these cold winter LA evenings where it gets down to the high 40's! :-)

                  2. la vida dulce RE: bastaLA Jan 3, 2007 01:45 AM

                    Thanks for the info on Alexander's Meats. Much appreciated!

                    1. r
                      ronla RE: bastaLA Jan 16, 2007 04:15 AM

                      What about duck legs? All this attention on the boards to the Zuni cookbook sent me back to the book. Today I wanted to get some duck legs for a recipe with prunes, but went to whole foods and came out empty handed. (They also had no hamhocks, which they sometimes do...although I do have a great source for hamhocks). Where can I go near WLA to get duck legs?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ronla
                        bad nono RE: ronla Jan 16, 2007 05:21 AM

                        The poultry place at the Farmer's Market (not Puritan, the other one which I believe is also part of Marconda). You can order fresh (i.e. not previously frozen) duck (legs and/or breasts) if you call 2 or 3 days ahead. It's not cheap but it's very good. Their rabbit is good too.

                        1. re: bad nono
                          ronla RE: bad nono Jan 16, 2007 04:55 PM


                      2. l
                        letthemeatcake RE: bastaLA Jun 2, 2007 01:30 PM

                        You want a serious butcher who knows what he's selling. It's shocking that most of the butchers at Whole Foods and Bristol Farms know so little about their very expensive meat. Yet the "Mom and Pop" butchers can't always gets the best meat, which is in relatively small supply and tightly allocated by the suppliers. So......

                        Huntington almost always has a knowledgeable butcher on staff who will gladly cut anything to order. They say all their red meat is prime.

                        Marconda is hit and miss in the quality department. And they don't stock prime beef in all cuts.

                        Harvey's Guss is excellent but not the most pleasant of shopping experiences. They wholesale to a lot of restaurants, which is their main business. In other words, it helps to know exactly what you want.

                        Vicente Foods actually has an excellent butcher M-F with excellent meat.

                        And if you're able to plan ahead, you can order from Lobel's in NYC who ship overnight. They're the best beef monger I know.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: letthemeatcake
                          maudies5 RE: letthemeatcake Aug 4, 2007 08:41 PM

                          Dan, the Manager of the Meat Dept at Vicente is so knowledgeable. He's a great butcher! Agree that Lobel's is the best! However, Vicente never disappoints and Dan is as nice as can be.

                        2. r
                          robl RE: bastaLA Aug 5, 2007 08:48 AM


                          1. j
                            JE33 RE: bastaLA Aug 5, 2007 10:59 AM

                            Has anybody else tried Bob's Market (on Ocean Park in SM, at about 16th st.)? I have always had very good experiences with their butcher...

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: JE33
                              tritip RE: JE33 Aug 5, 2007 12:11 PM

                              I live a couple of blocks from Bob's and I agree: Their butcher is great. They're not a high-end purveyor of meats -- no dry-aged prime steaks, for example, but everything is of high quality and they are able to respond to most of my special requests.

                              1. re: tritip
                                Mattapoisett in LA RE: tritip Aug 5, 2007 01:54 PM

                                and their had made sausages are Awesome!

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