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MSP Best Butcher/Grocery for Steaks

cherrylime Jul 28, 2009 07:38 PM

I know we're supposed to be economizing but we've had way too many economical/crappy steaks this summer (including at restaurants) What's your favorite butcher or grocery for a steak splurge? Near St. Paul and east metro is a big plus but we'll go wherever at this point. Is there a good bet at the St. Paul Farmer's Market? It seems like most vendors have only frozen which makes sense but I don't think that's what we're after..Whole Foods steaks always look really good but we haven't had them. They're also really pricey which would be fine for the splurge aspect if this is what others agree would fit the bill. I would love all your big meaty opinions on this...

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    BigE RE: cherrylime Jul 29, 2009 06:40 AM

    Even though they have become a chain, my personal choice is still Von Hanson's. Beautiful thick steaks at prices on par with the big chains. I know one of the local food writers did an article a few years back looking for the best steak. She went to places like Kowalski's, Whole Food, Clancy's. and she ended up choosing Von Hanson's .

    If you were to go to one of the chain grocery stores, I find Festival to be far and away the best of the bunch.

    1. k
      kevin47 RE: cherrylime Jul 29, 2009 06:47 AM

      In your neck of the woods, I'd go with Von Hansons.

      1. k
        KC612 RE: cherrylime Jul 29, 2009 07:32 AM

        I really like the dry aged bone in ribeyes from Lunds. Quite spendy, but quite tasty as well. I also go to Everetts on 38th and Cedar if I don't want to spend the $20 lb. for the steaks at Lunds.

        1. mitch cumstein RE: cherrylime Jul 29, 2009 08:22 AM

          I have been cooking exclusively porterhouse from Hill and Vale farms all summer. They are a farm in Wykof(sp?) that features a corn and grass diet fed beef, so you get a great texture, as well as a more developed marble than most local grass fed beef. Really great stuff. I consistantly get them at the Seward Co-op, usually $12.99/LB, and they out perform the dry aged and prime cuts from Whole Foods, Kowalski's and Lunds/Byerly's. I am really happy with them. There is a farm called Chasebrook that I believe is in Milaca, that has a similar feed program, that is on the Farmer's market tour this summer. I have a ribeye from them in the freezer and it looks really nice, but I have not fired it up yet, so I can't speak from experience on it yet. I'm sure a call to Hill and Vale could give you closer option, but Seward is just across the river.

          Seward Co-op Grocery and Deli
          2823 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

          5 Replies
          1. re: mitch cumstein
            cherrylime RE: mitch cumstein Jul 29, 2009 09:19 AM

            Mitch, yeah Seward is practically St. Paul. I think by limiting to St. Paul I was trying to avoid having lots of people say Clancy's. Linden Hills is not easy to get to from almost anywhere. I might call Hill and Vale and see if they have them at Mississippi Market. Maybe we'll try Von Hanson's again too.. haven't been there in awhile.

            Really BigE? Festival's better than Lund's or Byerly's? We'll have to give them a try too because $20/lb seems kind of obscene these days...

            1. re: cherrylime
              BigE RE: cherrylime Jul 30, 2009 08:22 AM

              cherrylime, I meant Festival versus Cub and Rainbow. But price-wise, I'll take Festival or Lund's and Byerly's (throw Kowalski's in there) any day.

            2. re: mitch cumstein
              ike. RE: mitch cumstein Jul 29, 2009 09:55 AM

              I will second the H&V ribeye from Seward. It's absolutely the best steak you can buy for the $. The guys behind the counter are really nice too. While you're there, be sure to pick a few different homemade sausages and some beautiful ground bison for burgers. Man I love that place.

              1. re: ike.
                tex.s.toast RE: ike. Jul 29, 2009 11:32 AM

                The bulk breakfast sausage at the seward meat counter is, in particular, really delicious, and a good bye at 5/lb.

                1. re: ike.
                  soupkitten RE: ike. Jul 29, 2009 02:21 PM

                  3rding the seward steaks. they are tops. i think the meat dept. at seward needs to get more credit. they truly are friendly and are very willing to do special orders and cuts. esp since lund's/byerly's no longer has real butchers in the stores, this is a very good thing! love their fresh-ground bison and the handmade sausages too.

              2. bob s RE: cherrylime Jul 29, 2009 09:57 AM

                Here's a rundown from City Pages that Dara M-G did a few years back:


                1. p
                  phimoez RE: cherrylime Jul 29, 2009 06:27 PM

                  I really like the steak at Costco. They have butchers on site and they often have Prime cuts.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: phimoez
                    dalewest RE: phimoez Jul 29, 2009 08:15 PM

                    Yeah, most of my steak dollars go to Costco. Yes is it probably factory/feedlot type beef but for the money the quality is quite good. If you have the know-how and patience you could age it a week or so in your fridge and have a product similar to what Lunds sells for about 3 times the price.

                    As Phimoez noted, since the economy tanked, they have had Prime class beef pretty regularly too.

                    The steaks are thick cut and you can buy an entire vac packed prime cut yourself if you what to cut it up yourself.

                    1. re: dalewest
                      cherrylime RE: dalewest Jul 29, 2009 09:16 PM

                      yeah we've done that..bought the bone in or boneless ribroast and cut it up ourselves (even from cub..) it's usually a couple bucks less a pound that way and you can make them as thick as you want. The thickness of the cut is usually a pretty big consideration for us..

                      1. re: dalewest
                        rjayasuriya RE: dalewest Jul 30, 2009 07:06 AM

                        I agree on Costco steaks. Personally I prefer their rib eyes to the ones at Von Hansen's. You can't go wrong with the price either...I've gotten rib eyes at Costco for $5.89/lb.

                    2. g
                      getgot211 RE: cherrylime Jul 30, 2009 12:01 PM

                      looks like dry-aged ribeyes are on sale for 10/lb at byerly's/lunds this week.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: getgot211
                        Danny RE: getgot211 Jul 31, 2009 06:17 AM

                        One note on the dry aged meat at Lund's and Byerly's: For many years, it was Dry Aged Prime. Dara's article refers to this too. A while back, L&B stopped carrying Prime beef. Everything is now choice - the once dry aged prime meats are now dry aged choice.

                      2. j
                        JimGrinsfelder RE: cherrylime Jul 30, 2009 08:57 PM

                        I live near Macalester. Whole Foods has terrific rib eye steaks. As far as I know, they are not aged. If you want aged beef, maybe Widmer's, but I'm not a huge fan.

                        Whole Foods rib eyes are my favorite. Normal price is $14.99 to $16.99. I've spotted them on sale for as low as $9.99.

                        Try Speedy on Como if you want budget steaks.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: JimGrinsfelder
                          cherrylime RE: JimGrinsfelder Aug 5, 2009 10:37 PM

                          I really think those prices at Whole Foods are INsane..unless they're the best steaks ever..We have yet to try the Seward Coop Steaks but that's definitely our next get. Maybe we'll get a Seward ribeye and a WF ribeye and compare. I'd do that just to see if they're justified for charging that price. All I know is I got 2 ribeyes from the WF meat counter in St. Paul and it was pushing $50! I sheepishly handed them back and said sorry, I had no idea. Interestingly, the meat counter guy was very cool and said "no problem, these steaks really add up.."

                          1. re: cherrylime
                            JimGrinsfelder RE: cherrylime Aug 5, 2009 11:54 PM


                            Here's how I think about the price on the WF ribeyes...

                            1. It's a lot of money.
                            2. I eat them less than once per month.
                            3. The steaks at Kowalskis, Widmers, Speedy, etc... just do not compare in terms of flavor and tenderness. In my experience, they are not even close. And they still cost $8 or $9 / lb. Maybe Byerly's/Lunds is as good, dunno. Haven't shopped there much in the last 10 years.
                            4. I compare the price to Manny's or Morton's or Ruth's Chris because, frankly, the ribeyes I've made from WF are as good as the steaks I've had at high-end steakhouses.

                            And that's how I justify $14.99 / lb for ribeyes. And two steaks feed 4 people in our house. I can spend $40 - $50 on two steaks and another $10 on the rest of the meal and for $15 / person I get a meal that's as good or better than what'd cost at least $60 / person at the steakhouses. So, in that respect, it's a bargain.

                            The thing I think is a crying shame is what's happened to the price of flank steak. Not too log ago it was $3.99 / lb for really good flank steak. It got popular and now it's $7.99, $9.99 and even $11.99.

                            1. re: JimGrinsfelder
                              cherrylime RE: JimGrinsfelder Aug 7, 2009 11:06 AM

                              Yes, I do that kind of math in my head regarding restaurant vs grocery too. It does make sense. Also, this summer I've paid $28 for steaks (not including sides) in restaurants that were not good, so in that way it makes even more sense. I think we'll try the comparison with a WF ribeye and a Seward Coop ribeye this weekend. I'll let you know how it turns out...

                        2. m
                          magz0r RE: cherrylime Jul 31, 2009 11:58 AM

                          I am biased since I grew up in the neighborhood, but Everett's on 38th & Cedar in MPLS is a great butcher shop. Their boneless ribeyes and NY strips are $9.99 or $10.99/lb, every day. Good cuts of meat and the guys there know their stuff.

                          1. h
                            Haricotsv2 RE: cherrylime Aug 2, 2009 04:19 PM

                            Porterhouse steaks from Widmer's (St. Clair and Prior, St. Paul) were great last night. My experience with Whole Foods is that their free range beef is on the tough side.

                            1. g
                              getgot211 RE: cherrylime Aug 2, 2009 07:14 PM

                              tried the ribeye from Seward yesterday. it was pretty damn good, though I'd still give the nod to Clancey's.


                              I've never been to that store and I don't think I've even seen it mentioned around here. but last year a friend who lives not far from it brought some ribeyes and they were very good.

                              obviously not a likely choice for the op.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: getgot211
                                Fudist RE: getgot211 Aug 2, 2009 08:43 PM

                                I've never been a fan of Widmers. The Porterhouse and T-Bones were both way too tough for my taste.

                              2. k
                                keg RE: cherrylime Sep 27, 2009 06:27 AM

                                Mississippi Market W. 7th has a fledgling meat program. The case has been a bit sparse since the beginning in the new store. They were featuring some source verified Wisconsin Angus last week. I forget all the claims, but I think it was pharm free, and looked well marbled. They're fresh grinding Thousand Hills beef, rather than selling the vacuum pack. They've also started making some fresh sausage. They used to carry Lorentz sausage, but no more. I cross the river for Sewards meat counter.

                                1. a
                                  amgarrison RE: cherrylime Sep 27, 2009 10:58 AM

                                  Clancey's Meat & Fish in Linden Hills, hands down, no question. Eric and Ross are the masters of their trade, and really cool guys.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: amgarrison
                                    foreverhungry RE: amgarrison Sep 29, 2009 09:07 AM

                                    To be honest, I'm not all that impressed by Clancey's. I've had bad luck with their service there, and their prices are obscenely high. Yes, I understand their products are great quality, but I can get the same quality at Everetts on 38th and Cedar without having to sell my car. As other posters noted, Whole Foods has excellent quality, and my one experience with Seward co-op meat products has also been excellent. All are cheaper than Clancey's (except perhaps WF, though WF can have excellent deals on sale), and they all do it without the attitude of superiority that Clancey's has.

                                    1. re: foreverhungry
                                      JimGrinsfelder RE: foreverhungry Sep 29, 2009 08:40 PM

                                      My only problem with Clancey's is I have to drive 20 blocks from the Crosstown up city streets after doing 20-30 minutes on the freeway. It's about 45 minutes for a one-way trip. WF is a 5 minute walk.

                                  2. a
                                    amgarrison RE: cherrylime Sep 30, 2009 07:10 AM

                                    I understand the ease of going to Whole Foods versus Clancey's, but I prefer to support the local guy. And in my opinion, Clancey's is of a higher quality. I work in the industry, and it's the best meat I've seen around here. Those guys are really amazing at what they do. I've been there when they get the whole steer in and break it down. It's one of the most amazing things I've seen.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: amgarrison
                                      getgot211 RE: amgarrison Sep 30, 2009 12:12 PM

                                      I've tried pretty much every place but WF(don't really shop there, if I'm paying that much its going to local places). Clancey's wins w/o question. the quality of the meat is unmatched. as is the knowledge of the staff. I asked for flanken short ribs at Seward a few weeks ago and the guy looked at me like I was speaking another language. then spent 10 minutes telling me that flank steaks and short ribs are two different cuts and trying to sell me each...fyi, I'm not a patient person. you aren't gonna stump the people at Clancey's.

                                      1. re: getgot211
                                        amgarrison RE: getgot211 Sep 30, 2009 03:33 PM

                                        I agree completely.

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