Where to buy Brian Flannery beef in San Francisco?
Or is there a better aged beef to buy?
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Larger Whole Foods locations with dry-aging lockers will sell you some nicely dry-aged beef.
Back in February, I bought a terrific dry-aged prime rib from the location on 3rd Street. It was $18.99 a pound for USDA Prime. While this wasn't cheap, it was a better deal than mail-ordering the same roast from Lobel's. They only needed a day's notice and the butcher was very helpful, cutting the meat off the bone and tying it back onto ribs without complaint. The finished roast looked and tasted incredible.
You said "They only needed a day's notice and the butcher was very helpful, cutting the meat off the bone and tying it back onto ribs without complaint." The whole point of going to a butcher is to have the meat prepared the way that you want it to be done. They do the work, that is their job. You want a chicken boned? Ask. If you want a leg of lamb butterflied. Ask. How would you feel if your surgeon complained about sewing you up? This is a big button for me. I remember many years ago a young kid working at Magnani's balked when I asked him to cut out the backbone and flatten a whole chicken I was purchasing. I'm not buying my meat from Safeway, all wrapped up in cellophane. Butcher's are really good at what they do (exception for the snarky teenager), they enjoy what they do, and they're not 'doing you a favor' they are doing their job.
I buy Bryan Flannery beef in Corte Madera at Bryan's Fine Foods. The double-cut prime Rib Eyes are amazing.
My family just did a taste-off. We had a single-cut bone-in Rib Eye from Schwab’s in Palo Alto, a double-cut Rib Eye from Cafe Rouge in Berkeley and the double-cut from Bryan's.
Our favorite was Bryan's. Well marbled, dense, and aged, it was tender and flavorful. A great steak.
The Schwab’s steak was not aged nearly as long, had weaker flavor and a watery texture. (The steak to buy at Schwab's is a Fred's Steak - marinated top sirloin that has great flavor.)
The thick steak from Cafe Rouge had more age on it and the distinct mineral tang that long aging produces. It was a darker in color than either of the others. While tender, the tang and aroma was more pronounced than I prefer.
I much prefer double-cuts to single cuts. The extra thickness allows the outsides to brown and caramelize nicely while the inside can be cooked to medium rare. A thinner steak cooks too fast to develop the crusty outside that results in good mouth feel when eating.
It's always helpful to allow the steaks 10 minutes to rest to re-absorb the juices prior to cutting. We simply slice the double-cuts into thick slices so that everyone gets to enjoy the tender eye as well as the more flavorful lifter surrounding it.
The meat counter at Bryan's in Corte Madera usually has many great steaks to choose from. Often, they look so good I buy one or two more than I needed that day and Bryan's will cryovac them for me so that they keep well in the freezer.
There's also a Bryan's on California Street in Laurel Village in San Francisco. Same famiily, run by Bryan's brother I believe, which has excellent product as well. I've been happy with the steaks there, but, I do think the Bryan's in Corte Madera is better.