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Best Meat/Butcher?

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I am looking to buy a piece of meat to roast or grill for 6 people, and my thinking is to get either a very large (5lbs.) Porterhouse or half a Shell Steak.

I like Harvey's Guss very much but was thinking of ordering from either Niman Ranch in Northern California or Lobel's in New York. Has anybody, by any chance, eaten steaks from all of these places?

Is there anywhere else that should be considered?

Thanks.

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  1. Frustrated by the "Select" grade beef available in my local(Ventura County) markets I tried Niman Ranch. I am happy to report that the steaks, lamb chops and shortribs I order were wonderful. Niman Ranch has a great website and ordering online is a breeze.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Mary C...

      All Niman Ranch products bought at random at the market by our family (pork, sausage and, I think, humble or not so humble franks) have been excellent.

    2. Are you a member of Costco? Their meat is some of the best available in Southern California. Great steaks, chops, roasts, etc - of every variety. This is worth the membership alone.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Tom P

        Yes, Costco is great...for the money... but nowhere near as good as Harvey Guss which Fidelixi has already acknowledged positively (but finally abjured) above. I think the man with the interesting handle (Marxist Basque?) is looking for the creme de la creme of prime beef... from New York or perhaps direct from Kobe.

      2. Harvey Guss can't be beat for the price/quality ratio.

        Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to ordering a porterhouse from Lobel's for my birthday next month.

        From all I've read, I don't believe there is a better piece of steak available anywhere. Of course it comes at quite a price.

        If you do go with Lobel's let us know how you liked it.

        1. I have never tasted anything like the steak I ordered from Lobels. The first time I wasin Ne York and I tried some oftheir cooked products and a porterhouse I think it was. It was so outstanding that I saved a piece for my brother -- a dedicated meat eater to taste. Even after a stint in the freezer he swooned. The next time I ordereed from Lobels for a special family dinner. I think that time was a few t-bones, something else, and shortribs which I grilled. The flavor and texture are unbelieveable and when you think about the value for the money (eventhough it is quite a bit of money) -- there is next to no shrinkage, it is worth every bite. My formerly vegetarian niece was chewing the bones and every bit dissappeared.

          1. I've had great steaks from both Lobels and Niman. The Niman is very distinctive: it's from older animals and I don't believe it's dry-aged as long (i might be wrong). The flavor is much wilder and deeper, to my taste. The Lobels was a pretty amazing steak, maybe 5 inches thick and very pure old-fashioned steakhouse flavor. We also had good steaks from Peter Luger, but I would recommend the other two by a hair.

            1. Thinking of a local butcher, I've only been able to come up with Bristol Farms (I've only been to the one in Manhattan Beach for meat) and Whole Foods (ditto, National and Barrington). Both are good. Anyone else know of a good butcher on the Westside? I know there's one near Pico & Beverlywood, and one around Robertson & Venice, but I haven't paid a visit. Sometimes I come across recipes using something like a butterflied, boned leg of lamb and would like to have a butcher to rely on.- Aileen

              1. Thank you for the feedback. I decided to order a 36 oz. Porterhouse from Lobel's and to also buy the same cut from Harvey's Guss, and then to compare the two. I will be grilling Saturday night and report accordingly.

                1. About fifteen years ago, a major change to Los Angeles. The grades of meat available to consumers went down a full notch. Whereas before, USDA choice was typical in all markets (with prime being always available), now finding choice can be a chore, Select is not very good. The upshot is that Costco has USDA choice meat. Unless you're willing to pay twice as much (at an expensive, exclusive butcher), Costco's the way to go...

                  1. About fifteen years ago, a major change came to Los Angeles. The grades of meat available to consumers went down a full notch. Whereas before, USDA choice was typical in all markets (with prime being always available), now finding choice can be a chore, Select is not very good. The upshot is that Costco has USDA choice meat. Unless you're willing to pay twice as much (at an expensive, exclusive butcher), Costco's the way to go...