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Savenors rib eye

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So, for a very special family BBQ yesterday we got 5.4 lbs of ribeye from Savenors at $24/pp. (You do the math, yep, it really was THAT much) We figured it was worth it to get the very best.
Grilled it to perfection...served it with some grilled peppers & onions and lots of other yummy sides, and proceeded to be completely underwhelmed. The steak I ate was fine, but unremarkable with very little flavor (keep in mind I tend not to like really strong, gamy, steak-y flavors so if I think it was flavorless, it must have REALLY been. It tasted more like a tenderloin or a filet to me vs. a ribeye) A few other foiks said their piece was flavorful but really really chewy. So apparently the steaks varied a bit. My question -- anyone else have this experience at Savenor's recently? I know they are supposedly the "best of the best" in Boston, and not being huge meat eaters, this was actually our first experience there --have to say not the best. Just wondering if it was just really bad luck, or if they have gone downhill lately, or...something else. I have to say I'm not feeling like we'll run back there anytime soon. I may give a call and let them know of our experience....just curious if anyone else has experienced similar...

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  1. I've had some that have been *great* and others that are as you describe - chewy to the point of being tough. I'm trying to think back, I'm not sure that I've bought any steaks other than ribeyes from them so it's tough to say about others (I might have bought porterhouses or strip steaks, which tend to be the only other cuts I buy as steaks)

    1. Sorry to hear that, it is is a bummer to splurge and be disappointed. Next time go to Fresh Pond Market, save yourself over 50% and get comparable or better (never had a flavorless or chewy steak from FPM) meat.

      Savenors has provided some beautiful, but overpriced roasts (rib and tenderloin) in the past. We have never had an issue with quality. We have never used them for steaks though, opting to be gouged by Dewars instead (which is always excellent). Seriously though, unless it is a Sunday (closed) we now get all our steaks (and other meats) at Fresh Pond Market.

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      Fresh Pond Market
      360 Huron Ave, B Cambridge, MA

      2 Replies
      1. re: Gabatta

        +1 on meat from Dewars. Lovely meats and very helpful butchers.

        1. re: hondodog

          +2 on Dewars.

      2. Has anyone ever shelled out the $$ for WF's aged steaks? I've loved all the roasts I've gotten from Fresh Pond Market, but never bought steaks. I was curious if the aged beef at WF is worth trying?

        -----
        Fresh Pond Market
        360 Huron Ave, B Cambridge, MA

        9 Replies
        1. re: Misterie

          I've been curious too. I was tempted to spring for one and asked the butcher waiting on me what they were like (It wasn't crowded at the time, so we could actually have a conversation). Basically he said he thought they were more tender, but not necessarily tastier than the non-aged steaks, which he said are the ones he personally consumes. When I opted to buy a no-aged porterhouse steak, he told me "Good choice." Which seemed to be his way of saying that the aged steaks aren't worth the extra moolah. But I'd still be curious to try one.

          And while I don't recall how much the aged Whole Food steaks sell for, I can't imagine they're more expensive than the top of the line steaks at Savenors. While not everything there is super-pricey, most things are. Heck, Savenors makes the excellent-but-also-expensive Fresh Pond Mkt look reasonable by comparison. Bottom line to me: WF usually offers the best-price on better beef.

          1. re: katzzz

            The Porterhouse we bought at Fresh Pond Market was $12.99/lb a few weeks back. That is roughly half of what you would pay at Whole Foods or Savenors. I am wondering on what comparison you are basing your comments?

            1. re: Gabatta

              the porterhouse I bought at Whole Foods was in the $12.99 vicinity. My comments are based on comparing prices at WF and Fresh Pond Mkt: Fresh Pond Mkt always comes up more expensive in my experience.

            2. re: katzzz

              I bought an aged WF porterhouse once. It was alright, but I preferred the non-aged in terms of price/performance.

              My experience comparing WF (boston cambridge st location) and Savenors (charles st) is that if you're looking at the top end of WF and the low end of Savenors that the latter is actually a better deal. The thing though is that Savenors pretty much starts where WF ends and quickly goes up from there.

              As an example, I've bought some tremendous prime standing rib roasts at savenors which have been cheaper than the (just ok, IMO) choice standing rib roasts from WF

              1. re: jgg13

                Agreed. But it's frustrating that there's not a lot of low-end (i.e., affordable) at Savenor's, and so much of that high priced stuff looks so good.

                Which reminds me. I recently noticed the homemade sausages in the freezer case at Formaggio. It was around $20 for four (or five? six? can't remember exactly). is there any way they're worth the money?

                1. re: katzzz

                  YMMV but I've typically been fairly disappointed with Formaggio's sausage, bacon, etc - and that's not just taking the price point into consideration.

                  1. re: jgg13

                    Yeah, hard for me to imagine that the sausage would be any better than De Pasquale's -- and not at about four times the price.

                    Come to think of it, what caught me eye at Formaggio's was their boudin sausage. I've never had real Cajun boudin and thought this might be a worthy version. But the staff person made them sound more French than Cajun, more delicate than robust and spicy. At $20 for a package, I didn't spring for them, but still wondering what they're like.

                    1. re: katzzz

                      I can't remember exactly which sausages I've had from them, but I know boudin wasn't one of them.

                      I'm a big fan of Karl's in Saugus for sausages. They excel at the german type stuff, and while their "other" stuff isn't always the most authentic they're still always quite tasty.

            3. re: Misterie

              I tried an aged (ribeye probably) WF steak, a few years back. Did not taste any difference. It may have been marginally more tender but I'm more interested in the taste. Have not bothered since.

            4. Quite honestly, I don't see the point in paying a premium like that for meat. Unless you're splurging on a really fine cut of dry-aged steak or wagu or some such thing, you'll do just about as well by heading to McKinnon's Meats in Davis Square, paying rock bottom prices for meat butchered in house, and let your grill work its magic. (I just paid about $2.50/lb for top round, to give you an idea of their prices)

              13 Replies
              1. re: Boston_Otter

                I've gotten killer Rib Eyes at McKinnon's for anywhere from $4.99 to $7.99 a pound.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  My favorite "cheap meat cheat" are their off-cut Filet Mignons. They're not pretty and are all kinds of goofy shapes, but the meat's fantastic and only $6.99/lb.

                2. re: Boston_Otter

                  I agree completely, Otter. I've purchased very good ribeye from MacKinnons for about $5.00/lb and they were great on the grill. Having a real butcher does make a difference. Tony's in Roslindale is also excellent, pricier than MacKinnon's but about half of what Savenor's charges. Interested in an earlier post on this thread about aged beef from WF. When I've had good aged beef at restaurants, there has been a marked and wonderful taste difference (e.g. Peter Lugar's in Brooklyn), and worth the rare splurge.

                  1. re: gourmaniac

                    I agree, really good DRY aged beef is awesome. Luger's rules!

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      you can dry age steaks yourself by wrapping them in a clean white towel, putting them in the refrigerator and changing the towel, every day or two. I got that tip from Barbara Tropp.

                      1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                        But of course...

                        9Lives who frequently posts here is a big home, dry-ager.

                        I just don't eat enough red meat to really be worth the fuss.

                  2. re: Boston_Otter

                    I don't doubt that a steak from McKinnon's can taste as good as one from Wlhole Foods or Savenors, but think for a lot of Whole Foods customers the point of paying a premium is to get meat that is ostensibly healthier, i.e. grass fed, no hormones, etc.

                    1. re: katzzz

                      That's a definite point. WF takes a lot of pride (usually) in letting you know where your meat is coming from. If I asked someone at McKinnon's if the beef was grass-fed without hormones, they'd probably laugh and say "Yeah, sure, buddy, whatever you say!"

                      1. re: Boston_Otter

                        That's exactly what they'd say at McKinnon's.

                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          Have to be careful I find at McKinnons. It's not unusual for advertised specials, like $9.99 tenderloin to be ungraded or select at best and of questionable quality.

                          That said, you can also find Choice Black Angus for bargain prices as well. You just have to keep your eyes open.

                          1. re: CapeCodGuy

                            Yah, even from one pack to the next the steaks can vary greatly!

                    2. re: Boston_Otter

                      I really like the sirloin strips at McKinnon's. They are only about $4.99 a lb. and noticeably better than run-of-the-mill supermarket steaks. The Porterhouse steaks I've purchased there have been tough, though.

                      1. re: Boston_Otter

                        I concur, and for that reason, I buy nearly all my meat from Nick at Coolidge Variety, in Watertown. It's not so much that his prices are good (they are!), because let's face it, even $12.99/lb adds up pretty quick if you're feeding a family. Nick has saved me tons of money by turning me on to cheap steaks, like chuck eye, and cutting/tying delicious roasts from random chunks you never would have guessed possible.

                        So +1000000000 on having a good butcher.

                        When we're looking for healthy, local, green meat, my wife usually picks up something frozen from the farmer's market. And that can be a whole other adventure ...

                      2. I got killer NY strips from Kinneally in Milton marketplace for $19.99 the other night.

                        The one thing I noticed was how well they held water. I'm no butcher and know zero about meat but when I get steaks from the supermarket they seem to lose half their mass in water lost after I cook it. I don't know how better to explain it.

                        I sear my steaks and never ever poke any holes in them to trap the flavor inside.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: typhoonfish

                          If it has been held wet, or wet aged (in a bag) they tend to do that. If they dry age even for a few day's all that icky water is gone...

                        2. I've always had good steaks from J. Pace in Saugus. Last time I got a couple 2" thick ribeyes and grilled them with a little Montreal seasoning and they were perfect. I think they were $14.99 a lb. Also had many really good porterhouse from them too. I found out the hard way that Pace can be an expensive place to shop when you're hungry.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: hhookk

                            I agree, have had some serious steaks that were purchased at Pace. Gorgeously marbled, etc. etc.

                          2. I buy a lot of my beef at Savenor's and haven't noticed any downhill pattern. I buy their prime skirt steak or hanger, occassionaly Waygu steak tips. IMO, they're great. Beatifully marbled and very flavorful.That said, I'd have been very disappointed to buy a rib roast and find it flavorless or chewy..especially at that price

                            I don't buy their ribeye..prime. I find the ribeye cut has enough marbling that prime/ choice doesn't make that much of a difference..especially in a roast; which is just several ribeyes not carved into steaks..:) Some dry aging improves the flavor.

                            For ribeye, I usually buy at Sulmona in the NE...especially for a roast. Not Sav's and have bought at WF..enjoyed both. I've bought good beef at Dewar's and McKinnons in Davis Sq; enjoyed but neither are particularly easy for me to get to.

                            1. The major point that seems to be missed here is that so many are trying to replicate that fine steakhouse Prime Aged taste, yet don't posess the necessary tools to cook them properly, ie: grills, or more likely infrared broilers, that exceed 800, 900 and up to 1200 degrees. Without that, one will never acheive steakhouse quality, no matter the cut and grade.