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Healthy Butcher-YUM

Tried a prime rib from the Healthy Butcher yesterday. All I can say is WOW. The meat was beautiful-a nice layer of fat, with a gorgeous deep colour. I was pretty certain based on its smell that it was going to be delicious, and I was right. It was the first time I've tried the HB, and I have to say, I'll be going back to try more of their meats. Has anyone else had good experiences?

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  1. I have gone in to ogle their wares, but I have not yet felt sufficiently solvent to indulge! :)

    Was it that good?

    3 Replies
    1. re: AmandaEd

      Yes. I've had prime rib quite a bit in my lifetime (from various quality butchers across Canada, the States and Europe) and it ranks as one of the best I've ever had. This was the first time (to my knowledge) that I've had one as certified organic. The "placebo effect" aside, it was absolutely a very high quality piece of meat.

      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

        Alright. I'm sold. I will save my twoonies and splurge this weekend. Thanks for the recommendation!

        1. re: AmandaEd

          Yes, saving twoonies highly recommended-its $16.99/lb

    2. I highly recommend their burgers and sausages, all made in-house. Great flavour combos, including such thing as hemp seed and goat cheese, if memory serves, and less expensive than prime rib.

      1. Not as exciting as in-house sausages and burgers, but I've had both chicken and ground lamb from there and it's absolutely excellent. Plus, less attitude than I've seen in some other small butchers.

        - Lea

        1. It's a great place with good service and they really want to please. The ingredients and recipes are super. The owner is a great source of information and seems open to special requests.

          Although I love shopping there, there is a negative issue (at least to me) that is inherent in their name. Healthy certainly implies low fat, so it's hardly surprising that their premium cuts of beef have much less marbling than you'll find at comparable stores (e.g., Cumbrae's). The sausages and burgers can be quite dry. I jumped at their house made pastrami, which lacked the telltale needle marks of an industrial cure. It smelled great. But it had so little fat that is was too dry to eat.

          6 Replies
          1. re: embee

            I know it's not the norm, but I actually prefer my pastrami dry (lean, extra spice). I'll have to try it out.

            1. re: embee

              I believe that the "Healthy" in the name refers to how the meat they sell was raised, and not so much the health of the consumer.

              1. re: TwinklyTerrapin

                I think it is meant to target both.

                  1. re: TwinklyTerrapin

                    Yes, I agree that's what the name refers to - the way the animal is raised, etc.
                    The owner of the establishment confirmed this the other day in his post, however, his post was removed.

                    1. re: TwinklyTerrapin

                      Oh for Christ's sake. We eat the unhealthiest meat in the third world and we're still breathing. Anyway, I love HB!

                  2. Do they let you smell their meat before purchase?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mtampoya

                      They are very generous with samples. They have even cooked bits of sausage meat for sampling.

                    2. I have been ordering from them regularly since they opened. It has always been excellent. I especially like their burgers. For organic, the prices are very good and well worth it.

                      1. it's worth knowing also that they don't put out all their meat out front, so even if you don't see what you're looking for, it's worth asking about. that's how we got their delicious brisket on the last visit. my only complaint is that i wish the shop was west of bathurst and closer to me:)

                        1. Love the HB - their meat is fabulous, the flat iron steak is sublime, the burgers yummie and the lamb steaks TD4!

                          I would also extol the values of their prepared food - the braised cross rib is quite lovely and the lasagna is a perfect antidote to the foul cold weather. Their stock is an excellent base for soup and braises.

                          I'm just hoping they'll open a branch in The Beach...

                          1. I could go on about the meat there, but it seems that's been covered :)

                            I really like that they have other stuff there too - organic pasta and produce, salads, cheeses, chocolate, and they even carry Ace breads.

                            Oh and try their beef/elk jerky. It is out of control.

                            1. I got a huuuuuge turkey from the Healthy Butcher and cooked it on Sunday. It was excellent. And while I was there, it was all I could do to resist the gorgeous, purple, dry steaks that they had. Next time...
                              I believe that they might also be carrying Stoney Kepple bison, from one of the Riverdale Farmers Market vendors. If so, I highly recommend trying it. The bison ribeye is a thing of beauty and a joy, well, not forever, but certainly 'till after dinner...

                              1. They also carry Thuet bread.

                                The porkchops are excellent.

                                1. Interesting relaterd note for those who were fans of Globe Bistro when it first opened. This was in Amy Pataki's review:

                                  "Cutrara is apprenticing as a butcher at the Healthy Butcher on Queen West, and plans to open his own restaurant this year."

                                  1. I finally made it to the Healthy Butcher for the first time today. The smell of smoked meats is soooo intoxicating as you walk in the door.

                                    I bought some gorgeous organic chicken parts to cook for dinner tonight. They were quite large, but virtually fat-free, with the finest, thinnest skin I've ever seen on poultry.

                                    And for tomorrow night's dinner, I could not resist the beef cheeks. I've never seen them in a butchershop before, but I've eaten them, most memorably in a beef cheeks ravioli dish at Babbo in New York a couple of years ago. Divine! I'm planning to braise them with wine (probably Chianti) and tomatoes, along with a number of aromatics and my usual, natural thickener - red lentils.

                                    The beef cheeks seemed very reasonable, by the way - $6.99/lb.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: FlavoursGal

                                      Babbo is one my favorite resto's anywhere. I love the orechette with lamb sausage and the contrast of the upstairs and downstairs. Awesome wine list too!

                                      1. re: FlavoursGal

                                        I braised the beef cheeks, along with some oxtail (I never braise without some bones) last night, and they were excellent. Probably not for everyone, as they are quite gelatinous, but they were flavourful and very, very tender. I served it on top of egg papardelle, with sauteed rapini.

                                        My 15-year-old daughter, however, is still angry with me. After she ate a nice portion of what I'd said was stew meat and short ribs, I told her what she'd really eaten. She was not amused.

                                        1. re: FlavoursGal

                                          Will she eat a tongue sandwich at a deli??

                                          1. re: embee

                                            Nope. But neither do I. I prefer fresh or pickled calves' tongue, cooked at home. I don't make it too often, but I love it. My kids won't touch it. Nor will they eat liver.

                                          2. re: FlavoursGal

                                            I'm on your daughter's side, FlavoursGal. Kids can be ridiculously narrow-minded (I sure was), but that doesn't justify tricking them IMO. Boo, hiss!

                                            Back to topic.... I think HB's hamburgers are overrated and too big, but I've really enjoyed their savoury pies, and have also bought good steaks and fabulous sausages there. (I have to confess though I once took a sausage home only to find it smelly and spoiled - I couldn't figure out how that slipped past them.) Vegetables are IMO overpriced and there obviously isn't much selection. Good range of dairy and some nice soft cheeses in particular.

                                            1. re: spigot

                                              You're right about tricking her, spigot. I did regret it afterwards.