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Best LA Butcher?

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

    3 Replies
    1. re: mc michael

      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

        agreed, he is the best!

      2. re: mc michael

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

      3. 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

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

          1. re: julietg

            "More local" being where?

            1. re: Professor Salt

              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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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. 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

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

              2. 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

                  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

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

                    1. re: Paliman

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

                    1. 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

                        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

                          thanks

                      2. 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

                          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. http://www.chowhound.com/places/1798

                          1. 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

                              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

                                and their had made sausages are Awesome!