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Sep 6, 2007 06:27 AM

Reliable, high quality, no-nonsense butchers

As someone who just wants a plain, unaltered cut of meat to prepare, I grow tired of seeing so much fridge space in "boutique" butcher shops being taken up by kabobs and steaks coated in gloppy marinades. I understand that many folks don't want to fuss with their own seasoning, but for the rest of us, it usually means fewer options and hopeless predictability. Even Cumbrae's, arguably the city's finest meat establishment, choose to crowd their cases with half-prepared dreck. I don't mean to sound harsh, as I'm sure it's delicious, but it's also not what I'm looking for.

Where are the butchers that simply put out a good, diverse selection of quality meats for the cook to take home and do what they please? European Meats in Kensington and Whole Foods both come to mind, but any others?

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    1. There's a small butcher shop on the north side of Baldwin quite close to Augusta. It's basically a small storefront with a largely-built older man working the store most of the time. He DEFINITELY knows his meat, and it fits the bill for a no-nonsense butcher shop. There isn't a spot of anything but meat in the place (no sausages, pre-marinated products, etc.). Give them a try.

      I'm sorry I don't know the name.

      1 Reply
      1. re: xtal

        Max and Son's. The current butcher is Solly, the son.

      2. You should look at Vince Gasaparro's on Bloor at Shaw. Good quality, well stocked, and if there is something you want in particular they'll get it for you. I can't say enough about the quality of their chicken, ribs and beef products (a couple weeks ago we had a top sirloin for the first time upon their recommendation and it was magnificent). Also - these may be the nicest guys in town!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Delish

          i second vince gasparro's - it's my first choice for lamb.

          1. re: Kasia

            Yes - their lamb is great, too! So are all their pork products (tenderloins -mmmmmm) and they make a killer chicken sausage!

            1. re: Delish

              i third them for everything - ribs,chicken,sausages are great as well...
              and yeah, they are the nicest guys

        2. You didn't mention if you had a preference for anywhere in town... so I'll give you two - one east, one west. :)

          When I lived in the west end, one of my faves was Rui Gomes on Bloor near Ossington - a good straightforward Portuguese butcher which also carries an interesting (smallish) assortment of Portuguese and Brazilian groceries.

          Now that I live in the east end, I've started going to Mister Greek Meat Market on Danforth east of Pape (not be confused with the Mr Greek chain of restos). Smallish shop, so their selection isn't necessarily on par with European or Rui Gomes, but what they do have is excellent, reasonably priced and the guys I've been served by have always been knowledgeable. Their prepared souvlaki is excellent, as a bonus.

          2 Replies
          1. re: tartiflette

            Doesn't help the OP who is in the west end, but I will plug for Ellas on Pape south of Danforth. Definitely real butchering going on there, if you want it and they don't already have it out they will go to the back and you know, actually butcher for you.

            We've had some issues with Mr Greek not wanting to chop/trim lamb stew meat for us (obviously we understand that they weigh & we pay before they trim, but they have no problem with doing it at Ellas...) but I know other people who are very happy with them.

            1. re: julesrules

              The guys in Ellas are nice, My only criticism is they don't have bacon... because "Greek People don't eat a lot of bacon" ... which may be true, but it's sad, since, the day I went in to look for bacon, they said I was at least the 3rd person in that day looking for bacon.

          2. I haven't been in about 10 years, but there used to a place called Bloor Meat Market Ltd on Bloor in Bloor West Village. They still had sawdust on the floor and wrapped the meat with paper and string. They had this little teller window where you paid, and a little old lady would live in there with her stacks of coins. It was quaint, the service was great and the meat was good.

            Does anyone know if this is still around? I'm no longer in the area.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Jean Georges

              They are still there. I actually just moved to that area and Bloor Meat Market was recommended to me by a friend. They no longer have that 'quaint' atmosphere anymore. I didn't end up buying anything but the place was busy.

              1. re: Jean Georges

                Funny you mention them, as I live in the area as well and they're a prime source of my frustration. I know they're catering to the upper crust who just want something quick to throw in the oven, but it bothers me to know they could be so much better. I asked about special ordering a pork shoulder and they actually encouraged me to try somewhere else. Apparently my request was too exotic.

                1. re: SxCx

                  So SxCx, what butcher in that area do you go to?

                  1. re: camp1980

                    Despite my griping, I will stop into Bloor Meat Market on occasion if I need something I know they'll always have (see above). But beyond that, I don't really have a regular place here. I haven't lived here long but I've been meaning to check out some of the Ukrainian places like Kingsway Meat and so on.

                    1. re: SxCx

                      just drive east to Gasperro's at bloor/shaw - they'll hook you up and their meat is all around better than BMM in my humble opinion

                      1. re: SxCx

                        Kingsway Meat is ok. Just don't ask for anything by the name of the cut, but by what you intend to do with it - "shank? what? oh, goulash!"

                    2. re: SxCx

                      pork shoulder is available at a few of the european butcher shops in the bloor west village. i buy mine at kingsway meats on the rare occasions when i do pulled pork. bloor meat market doesn't sell pork shoulder because its one of the cheaper cuts and they didn't have much of a market for it anymore. i'm suprised someone didn't suggest another place to get it, they normally do if they don't carry something.

                      1. re: mikaylao

                        Summerhill Market will special order it in for you, all you have to do is ask them.

                      2. re: SxCx

                        I have to agree with you. The service at Bloor Meat Market is terrible. I went one day, looking for picanha and they succeeded in making me feel bad for asking if they carried something out of the ordinary! The guy was mumbling under his breath and glaring at me. I wanted to complain to the owner... but HE WAS THE OWNER!!! My worst butcher experience ever.

                        Now I go to Medium Rare where the service and meat are amazing.