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Healthy Butcher-YUM

Splendid Wine Snob Jan 29, 2007 10:57 AM

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. AmandaEd Jan 29, 2007 11:45 AM

    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
      Splendid Wine Snob Jan 29, 2007 11:51 AM

      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
        AmandaEd Jan 29, 2007 11:56 AM

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

        1. re: AmandaEd
          Splendid Wine Snob Jan 29, 2007 12:09 PM

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

    2. Full tummy Jan 29, 2007 12:19 PM

      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. c
        Canada Eats Jan 29, 2007 04:21 PM

        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. e
          embee Jan 29, 2007 05:14 PM

          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
            pescatarian Jan 30, 2007 10:00 AM

            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
              TwinklyTerrapin Jan 30, 2007 10:56 AM

              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
                embee Jan 30, 2007 01:36 PM

                I think it is meant to target both.

                1. re: TwinklyTerrapin
                  dannyboy Jan 31, 2007 06:39 AM

                  i agree w/Twinkly

                  1. re: TwinklyTerrapin
                    pescatarian Feb 2, 2007 04:12 AM

                    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
                      SirAlain Feb 11, 2007 07:33 PM

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

                  2. mtampoya Jan 29, 2007 05:19 PM

                    Do they let you smell their meat before purchase?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mtampoya
                      embee Jan 30, 2007 09:51 AM

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

                    2. garlicscapes Jan 29, 2007 07:12 PM

                      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. k
                        Kasia Jan 29, 2007 07:46 PM

                        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. SharkfinSoup Jan 30, 2007 09:52 AM

                          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. f
                            flashy_mcflash Jan 30, 2007 10:58 AM

                            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. t
                              TwinklyTerrapin Jan 30, 2007 11:00 AM

                              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. m
                                mickeyj Jan 31, 2007 03:42 AM

                                They also carry Thuet bread.

                                The porkchops are excellent.

                                1. TorontoJo Jan 31, 2007 04:37 AM

                                  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. f
                                    FlavoursGal Feb 1, 2007 05:46 PM

                                    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
                                      robb Feb 2, 2007 04:34 AM

                                      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
                                        FlavoursGal Feb 3, 2007 02:32 PM

                                        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
                                          embee Feb 3, 2007 03:43 PM

                                          Will she eat a tongue sandwich at a deli??

                                          1. re: embee
                                            FlavoursGal Feb 3, 2007 07:45 PM

                                            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
                                            spigot Feb 3, 2007 05:29 PM

                                            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
                                              FlavoursGal Feb 3, 2007 07:47 PM

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

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