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Loblaws "aged" New York strip - disappointing

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The Loblaws at St. Clair and Bathurst has an impressive-looking selection of aged steaks as part of its renovation (there's a funky looking meat locker feature at the back of the store now). Curious to try it, we splurged and shelled out $21 for an aged New York strip last night - we were sorely disappointed. The meat lacked flavour and it was actually gristly. The texture was also off - not tough exactly, but definitely not tender or juicy. Has anyone else tried the aged meats there? We've bought plenty of regular steaks from this same Loblaws in the past and generally the meat has been tender and flavourful. What an expensive disappointment!

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  1. There could be any number of reasons why the steak was not any good....but the notion Loblaw's, or any market or restaurant, specifically sources poor meat quality for aging or otherwise, is not one of them.

    Sometimes you just get a clunker.

    6 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      Yes, totally agree. Sometimes one particular piece of meat is just not as good as a previous purchase. We alternate between the Loblaws at Queen and Portland and Healthy Butcher. Sometimes Loblaws just has a great steak - Marbled, juicy and tender.

      1. re: fourunder

        "Sometimes you just get a clunker" That is a VERY true statement. While paying over $20 a pound for anything ($44.00 a kg and up!) and not having a great experience is disappointing, and frustrating and cause for complaint, the fact of the matter is that when buying ANY fresh protein, there are factors of the nature of the meat that can work against the pleasure of a good meal. These factors involved in the equation of a good steak would have any math geek salivating (pun intended) to figure out the correct formula to always have a great meal. With all the variables, there is no one correct answer. I suggest making sure that the purveyor knows you were not happy with your purchase. I am betting that you spend more than $10,000 a year on groceries and they would like to keep that business in their store. And try the steak again. Even from the same strip loin, there can be variances from one end to the other. And ask that they cut the meat BSO (back strap off). As with anything, a little inside knowledge on the craft of making the item while discussing same with the person who is doing the work may get you a better result.

        1. re: meathead2

          The difference between a clerk at Loblaws and a professional butcher is the latter would normally be able to identify a good quality cut.

          1. re: frogsteak

            Have you actually asked the meat counter staff if they are butchers or meat cutters? The top line meat counters at Loblaw, Sobeys and Costco do have real butchers on hand. The new staff they are training will all be meat cutters, but these large stores have hired a lot of butchers who lost their jobs in small shops that closed..

            1. re: jayt90

              i wouldn't ever ask the guy at the meat counter if he is a butcher or just a meat cutter. that's a pretty rude question to ask. i'd rather have low expectations and be surprised.

              1. re: frogsteak

                I don't think it is rude, because the large stores have all re-organized and are grandfathering their butchers. I am going to take advantage of the butchers' skills and knowledge while still available.

      2. Loblaws hardly has any reputation for aged meat or quality control. One could go 7 mins north, to Pusateri's, or the same south, to Oliffe, and be sure of what one was getting for about the same price. A mass-market grocery store is simply not catering to the quality section of the high-end trade. Yes. the Loblaws you mention has plenty of affluent shoppers; but are they knowledgeable and critical? Don't think so. Look at the crowds around the new gussied up prepared food section. Attractively laid out, high prices - and pretty vile food. Have not tried it all, of course. But again, if I want to spend that sort of money, I'll go to the tried and true, thank you very much.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Bigtigger

          That's a lovely insult to the OP...

          1. re: fourunder

            Not at all an insult to the OP - a comment on Loblaws' clientele and its lack of any reputation (to put it kindly) in terms of high-end cuts of meat. One hardly blames the OP for being seduced by the new and attractive meat locker, and indeed within a year or so its product may gain approval through consistent experience of quality. I was simply pointing out that in the meantime, there are at least two "tried and true" butchers where at a price point comparable - a few bucks more possibly, yes - you can be sure of what you're getting. This is an opinion, not an insult.

            1. re: Bigtigger

              Not at all an insult to the OP - a comment on Loblaws' clientele ...
              ~~~~~~~~~~

              You do realize the OP purchased the steaks there and therefore is, in fact the clientele you speak *Unkindly* of.

        2. Thanks

          1. It's good to see that they're making an effort to put out better quality meat. Are the prices comparable to butcher shops?

            2 Replies
            1. re: justxpete

              Didn't try them, but striploins were $25/lb. Prime, dry-aged minimum 28 days.

              1. re: jl_1978

                Wow! By comparison, Cumbraes Ribeye (my go-to) is $27/lb. Striploin is the same.

            2. I think it depends on the store. I've had some excellent aged steak at the 'Gardens' Loblaws and expensive shoe leather at the Jarvis store. Become friends with any chain butcher and watch the results. Nobody ever talks to these guys and they really appreciate your input and not being treated as an adjunct to the display case.

              1. Skip 28 day dry aged beef, it's barely a kid. I did testing a few years ago (think 1 or 2 of you were there) and we dry aged several standing dry primal ribs (cut down to a prime rib roast, and steaks for cooking - oh and burgers, burgers have never been the same). We started with dry aged at 28, 35, 42, 49, 56, and 63 days... Not eaten all at one time of course, over a summer. We found that 28 days was just the start, alright, but not much different than 14 days (really almost nothing). When we got up to the 40 - 60 days is when you really noticed a huge difference. We finally ended with an 80 (well actually 83 day) old dry aged primal and to say it was good was an understatement.

                So the question I have, are the roasts they cut from dry aged for the whole cycle, or wet aged, then hung to dry? It makes a huge difference, and when I say huge I should say it like HUGE to emphasize it.

                Now so you know, most bloblaws meat guys (same as any other grocery store) are just cutters, nothing else. They may have worked on a line cutting, but have never been butchers. Butchers are few and far between and are a commodity that you want to find, pay handsomely and listen too as much as possible. It may seem expensive, and it is, although the payoff is NEVER getting crappy cuts. They just won't serve them.

                Oh, also how did you cook it, was it rare blue, rare, etc. That makes a total difference, for me anything aged over 28 days should be able to be eaten at rare blue. The enzymatic breakdown of the cell walls is well under way and you should be almost able to gum it, no knife.

                Do yourself a favour, like dry aged beef, build your own little private slice of heaven. Buy a fridge specifically for that (cheapest you can find) put an electronic thermostat on it, and dry aged primal cuts of beef. Freeze what you don't eat as soon as it's cut.

                One last thing, ground beef from a rib roast that has been aging for 66 days will ruin every single burger you EVER eat again. Ever...