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Jun 2, 2014 10:10 AM

Parts and Labor - any thoughts?

Parts and Labor is a new restaurant and butcher in Baltimore. Has anyone been yet? Any thoughts?

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  1. I haven't eaten in the restaurant but I can say confidently they sell the best meat products from that counter in town. And it's not remotely close. I've been several times and so far I've bought:

    Skirt steak
    Oyster steak
    Ground beef
    Beef heart
    Various sausages

    Everything was so good, and the reason is that nearly everything is prime cut and it's all dry aged 30 days. The prices are lower than you'd find at Whole Foods, and are completely fair for the quality you are getting. I had been grinding my own meat for the last 6 years, but I may not continue after having theirs. A wonderful addition to Baltimore.

    19 Replies
    1. re: hotel

      I've read that but I've also read it's insanely expensive in an unnecessary sort of way. Interesting that you describe them as lower than Whole Foods. I had the impression that it was at least 50% more expensive. I can handle Whole Foods prices for good meat. I called them and they have been the only butcher within a 50 mile radius willing to cut a particular cut of beef.

      1. re: fldhkybnva

        Honestly I don't find it all that expensive. Literally the best ground beef I've ever had, 6 dollars a pound.

        1. re: hotel

          Thanks, I'll definitely be checking it out.

          1. re: hotel

            Quality is expensive. If you don't want good meat go to Mickey D's. This is pretty simple

            1. re: tartuffe

              Wow! There is expensive and there is EXPENSIVE! I don't mind paying for quality and given that I eat 90% grass fed meat I'm pretty sure that I'm used to paying more money for meat than most would ever even consider. However, there is a price for me which supersedes the value of a given quality. So you'd pay anything for this product? I was told by a friend that all the prices started at $25/lb which is why I asked about more specific details. There is a huge difference in ground beef for $25/lb and $6/lb. I truly hope you would not pay anyone the former price.

              With all of this talk about "where are the Balto Chowhounds" I thought I'd engage the board and ask a reasonable question but perhaps I'll continue to enjoy what is has to offer without asking the opinions of others.

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                Given the cuts ground beef normally comes from $25/lb seems ridicules.

                $6/lb should get you a nice blend of specific cuts or high quality ground trimmings.

                I think most small ranchers who sell grass "finished" beef butcher the whole animal and have no shortage of GB. If you buy a reasonable quantity they will probably adjust the fat % to your specs.

                1. re: Tom34

                  The $25/lb was just a general price someone mentioned to me which is why I posted and now have better, more accurate information. I wanted to visit the butcher but not if all of the cuts were at exorbitant prices. If it's cheaper than Whole Foods that's plenty reasonable for me. I actually was interested to check out the shop because they have cuts that I can't always get from the places I buy grass fed meat. Specifically, they offered to cut a spinalis steak which was not only impressive because no other butcher in the area could do it but also because they knew exactly what I was talking about.

                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    Prime Porterhouse steaks are <<on sale>>for $22.99 at Victor's Meats (aka Eddie's). I think I've paid $24/lb for NY strips at Cierello. Good meat is expensive. As a once-a-year splurge, though, it's worth it (at least to me :)).

                    1. re: isabellacat

                      I love Cierello! I go there regularly which is why I find the post above sort of offensive. I hate to even think of how much I spent on a ribeye there once :) I never said good meat shouldn't be expensive I just inquired as to the level of expense which I've repeatedly said is reasonable to me now that I know the actual price.

                2. re: fldhkybnva

                  Yeah that's just not true. I think I paid $11 per pound for skirt steak. Where enough to feed my wife and I was somewhere around 5 dollars. And it was incredible, see photo below. Next to the skirt is a piece of beef heart that I actually watched as it was sliced off the main hunk. $10 per pound. Yes, if you want their boneless ribeye or filet it's probably up around $25. But seriously, the quality is next level.

                  Actually I just found a photo of the burger patties I made. Again, prime cut meat, dry aged. My wife said "this is the best cheeseburger I've ever had."

                  I thought you asked a reasonable question, and I don't think I answered you in a condescending way, just trying to help. And yes I realize my opinion of expensive isn't the same as everyone elses. But man P&L rules hard and is worth every penny in my opinion.

                  1. re: hotel

                    Thanks for all of the information. My price quote was just based on hearsay so that's why I posted. The place seems great especially for a meat lover like me who has been searching for a good butcher. I don't have to drive to JW Trueth.

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      I get it. Also, I was not the person who made the McDonalds comment. Just wanted to clarify that.

                3. re: tartuffe

                  Telling someone who turns their nose at $25/lb ground beef to go to McDonalds is the most pretentious thing I've read in a while. They're's comments like this that alienate people.

                  I can't comment on prices at the butcher shop, but I was also under the impression that prices began at $25/lb... for everything. Apparently there's some bad intel out there.

                  FWIW, I'm not the biggest Spike fan and thought the meal I had there was absolutely top notch. The food and service were both great, prices were reasonable and I thought the space was really nice. Beer list was also a highlight.

                  1. re: gregb

                    Thanks, a few friends had dinner there and really liked it as well. Also thanks for your comments, I'm not a particularly sensitive person but that comment rubbed me the wrong way.

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      First of all I'm so glad I discovered this site.
                      You mentioned Ceriello. I haven't been to P&L but Ceriello has always been my go-to place for fine meats. I found a recipe in Bon Appetit's February issue for fajitas that called for skirt steak. Hadn't cooked with that cut before but getting it prime at C and with that marinade (secret ingredient - hot smoked Spanish paprika) grilled over charcoal was the best ever.

                      1. re: chinnyttown

                        I love Cierello. It's the first place I found hanger steak in the city and have indulged several time in a giant dry aged Cowboy ribeye. The deli is also great.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          What's the difference between hanger and skirt steak? I've never cooked either.

                          1. re: curioussheridan

                            Not sure exactly but skirt is the preferred cut for fajitas. It should be marinated; it's pretty thin and comes in a roll.

                            1. re: curioussheridan


                              Well, to be honest, they are different muscles :) They are similar though, both very flavorful. Skirt has a looser grain and is tougher. Hanger has a tighter grain, more tender since it's basically a part of the diaphragm that doesn't do much work and it has a more distinct flavor - it's sort of livery, some compare it to the taste of liver or kidneys - more earthy, if you will. There's only one hanger steak per cow so for a while Cierello was the only place that sold it but now it's more available.

                              With both, I sear in a super hot pan and slice against the grain.

            2. I ate there a couple of weeks ago. I don't remember exactly what I had but tried to sample one item from each section of the menu. The best thing I had was the farmhouse sausage.

              Overall, everything was good. The service was excellent. The ambience was hip and modern. I really like the decor and overall busy feel of the place.

              I left without a strong desire to go back mainly because of the concept. I am not a huge fan of seeking out atypical cuts of meat. They do have some standard items like pulled pork, a ribeye, a burger and their version of pit beef. If I went back, I think I would stick to some of the more traditional cuts and would probably like it more.

              Compared to Woodberry, I prefer the menu at Woodberry but like the dining area at Parts and Labor better.

              The beer, wine and cocktail list are excellent.

              About a week before they opened, I did buy a few items from the butcher. I purchased a smoked kielbasa, country ham, an uncooked sausage and a bone-in ribeye. The ribeye was good but not significantly better than other dry-aged options in town. The 2-year old country ham was excellent and I would definitely recommend this on the dine-in menu as well. It had a great nutty, smokey flavor to it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: pablog

                Thank you for a description of the menu rather than whining re price--if its too high, don't go there; quality is expensive. If you believe there's a similar place with markedly lower prices, let us know

                1. re: tartuffe

                  I'm not sure anyone on this thread needs convincing that quality isn't cheap. The comment which seemed to hit a nerve with you was based on an assumption (albeit an incorrect one) that ground beef was $25/lb which goes well beyond the "Quality is expensive" understanding.

              2. I went yesterday and bought smoked Liverwurst, andouille(nice kick), and ground beef (somewhat coarse grind and maybe 20% fat - used for burger). All were excellent.

                They had a Pit Beef and a Meatball Sandwich available until 3 in the retail shop.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mscoffee1

                  I'm planning to go this afternoon. I'm have steak on the mind for this weekend.

                2. Hi;
                  I hesitate to comment on Baltimore food but I just got in from Paris and at my wife's urging went to Parts & Labor without a reservation and was seated in a chair not a bar stool, which they think is cool I take it.
                  The menu is quite intriguing, meat-centered but with other stuff for those so inclined.
                  The bread was really good (I won't say "for Baltimore" to be nice), the Farm (pork) sausage with a startlingly good tomato relish was terrific, the steak was cooked "black and blue" perfectly and my Garnacha wine was reasonably priced and very good.
                  My bill for a couple, with no bottled water, dessert but one bottle of wine comes to about $80.00.
                  That does not seems unreasonable to me.
                  And their hot sauce was really hot.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: John Talbott

                      Given how far Baltimore has come, I think people can shelve their pompous snarky comments. Just the facts, please.

                    2. I had a good Italian sandwich ($10) (hoagie like but not a hoagie- different bread and dressed differently), They have more tables in the store where you can eat. They also have Pit Beef, Meatball, and today they had Pastrami with sauerkraut (cold sandwich). The sandwiches are available all day now. They also had pre packed gelato (Dolcezza) and grits and cornmeal from (Beilers in Pa) which I had not seen before.
                      I went to get some ground beef and got out of control.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: mscoffee1

                        I feel your pain. I went in there for a skirt steak and some ground beef last week. Walked out with a 2 pound cowboy cut ribeye. 50 bucks, [facepalm]. Although it was probably a top 3 steak in my eating career.

                        1. re: mscoffee1

                          This will likely happen to me. I can't be trusted in a butcher