DeBragga and Spitler Will Supply Great Steakhouse Meat. Should You Buy It?Steakhouses are valued for one thing: their meat. There are no chefs, and no one goes there for the décor. So if the meat is available elsewhere, such as DeBragga and Spitler’s new retail operation, why bother with the steakhouse? The beef supplier, one of New York’s most established, was once the source for most of the city’s top steakhouses, and still supplies some of the best, such as Craftsteak and BLT Prime. Now you can buy a steak that is “exactly, absolutely” the same, says DeBragga’s Marc Sarrazin. Other top meat operations, like elite-meat specialist Pat LaFrieda, and small-farm evangelist Heritage Food USA, have made their stuff available to the public as well. So the question is this: Is it worth it?
Back of the House
Hamburgers Are in ‘Vogue’Hidden away at the back of this month’s Vogue is a pretty interesting essay by Jeffrey Steingarten on the current state of hamburger science (sadly, not online). Bracketing out how bizarre it is that the dean of American food writers should be publishing his scientific food forays amid images of Caroline Trentini jumping in Prada and furs, the piece has lots of interest for New Yorkers: There are more burger insights from Pat LaFrieda, the city’s undisputed top burger producer, and an explanation of what makes Ryan Skeen’s burger at Resto so good, in spite of its always being overcooked. The best part, though, is the revelations of burger science from the London lab of legendary chef Heston Blumenthal.
Related: Shake Shack Hamburger and Little Owl Pork Chops Can Soon Be Yours
LaFrieda Saves the Good Stuff for Restaurants
A sharp-eyed Eater reader wondered if our report about Pat LaFrieda breaking into the retail market was inaccurate: “I believe they already supply retail markets. The Jubilee market at Trump Place gets deliveries from there all the time.” The answer? The trucks carry commodity meat, of the kind commonly found in supermarkets, but never the high-end stuff LaFrieda sells to the likes of the little owl, the Spotted Pig, and so on. VP Mark Pastore confirms this, telling us, “We sell them regular commodity items. However Market Table will be the first place to carry our chopped beef, burgers, and heritage meats direct from us to the customer. We do not sell LaFrieda burgers or heritage products to anyone but restaurants at this time.” So there you have it. If you’re going to hijack that LaFrieda meat truck, make sure it’s the one bound for the Shake Shack.
EaterWire: Trump Trumps LaFrieda, Petraske to LIC, More [Eater]
Earlier: Shake Shack Hamburger and Little Owl Pork Chops Can Soon Be Yours [Grub Street]
Shake Shack Hamburger and Little Owl Pork Chops Can Soon Be Yours
The famous ground-beef mixture from Pat LaFrieda has been the talk of burger circles the last few years — a dizzying time in which the Spotted Pig, Shake Shack, Stand, and half a dozen other contenders have taken the previously humble sandwich to the proverbial next level. The source of all that burger greatness, as Men’s Vogue recently wrote, is LaFrieda, the city’s top source for high-end wholesale meats. Scratch the wholesale part! Soon, and for the first time ever, the burger that launched a thousand blog posts will be available at the retail counter at Market Table, Joey Campanero and Mike Price’s new restaurant in the West Village.
Back of the House
Progressive Purveyor Cornering the Market on Boutique Meat
Like Old MacDonald’s farm, which had a duck duck here and a duck duck there, the web of artisanal-meat sources has been spread pretty wide. There’s no central terminal, no Union Square Greenmarket where the best small-farm beef, pork, and lamb congregates; and the lack of infrastructure has been holding up the works as New York’s best restaurants move from generic commodity meat to the Haute Barnyard versions preferred by chefs. Now, though, Pat LaFrieda, the city’s most progressive wholesale meat supplier, is quickly becoming the source of “boutique” meats.