Posted by: 4pack | October 2, 2008

“Ideal Diet”: Eat Meat From Restaurants And Food Stores That Prepare From Whole Animal

MOST MEN OVER 40 EAT MEAT…AND THERE IS A MOVEMENT WITHIN THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY TO BRING IN THE “WHOLE ANIMAL” AND THUS AVOID HAVING PRE-PACKAGED MEATS …OUTSTANDING…THERE ARE CUTS OF BEEF THAT ARE FLAVORFUL AND LESS COMMONLY SERVED WHICH INCREASE THE ENJOYMENT OF EATING, WHICH IS KEY TO EATING SMALLER PORTIONS AND REMAIN UNDER 2,000 CALORIES…GREAT EXCERPTS BELOW AND PLEASE REVIEW THE ANGUS BEEF CHART TO GET UP TO SPEED ON THE VARIOUS CUTS AVAILABLE…MORE ON THIS LATER.

“…he is a believer in avoiding packaged meat, no matter how impressive its provenance. The advantages, he believes, are not just culinary and ecological but also ethical: his cooks “see what’s coming in the door.”

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/01/dining/01whole.html?_r=1&oref=slogin&pagewanted=all

“Mr. Cosentino draws the line at breaking down steers in his kitchen (he has a network of small-scale ranchers and processors who supply his beef), but he is a believer in avoiding packaged meat, no matter how impressive its provenance. The advantages, he believes, are not just culinary and ecological but also ethical: his cooks “see what’s coming in the door.”

To drive home the point, he has taken his staff to witness animal slaughters. After that, he said: “I don’t have mistakes anymore. They don’t burn meat. They don’t miscount. There are no screw-ups.”

While other restaurant kitchens might occasionally see whole animals — say, a pig or lamb ordered to add some excitement to the specials menu — comparing that to what goes on at Incanto or Diner and its siblings is like comparing a roller coaster to a car without brakes. Certainly it’s the most fuss anyone has ever made to get a good burger.

For years, Diner has tried to get grass-fed meat with sufficient regularity to keep customers in burgers seven days a week. Their needs were met for a while by Josh Applestone, a butcher who supplied top-notch ground beef.

But last year, Mr. Applestone, who, with his wife, Jessica, runs Fleisher’s Meats, retail shops in Kingston and Rhinebeck, decided to rejigger his business model so that his wholesale customers would have to buy whole or half animals. He gave them two options: he’d either carve the carcasses himself when he made his delivery, or train restaurant staff to do it themselves.

Mr. Applestone currently carves sides of beef for Flatbush Farm, a Brooklyn restaurant; he has taught the sous-chef at Casa Mono to break down a pig. No one else, though, chose to go as far as the Diner crowd: they decided a full-time butcher was precisely what they needed. “It’s like we cracked the code,” Mr. Tarlow said.

Crucial to this bit of meat cryptography is Mr. Mylan, who had been the manager of Marlow’s grocery store. Last October, he moved in with the Applestone family, and while the restaurant paid his salary, he learned to handle band saws and meat hooks. After a month, he returned to Williamsburg with new skills, a knife belt and a certain swagger.

“He came back with muscles,” said Mr. Firth.

Mr. Mylan, 32, an inveterate culinary hobbyist, has long cured and concocted things in his apartment. Since his reinvention as a meatcutter, he’s become a local culinary celebrity, teaching sold-out classes in butchering at Brooklyn Kitchen, a Williamsburg housewares shop.

Ms. Fidanza hopes that Diner’s practices might serve as a model for other restaurants. “It’s easier than people think,” she said.

As Mr. Mylan pointed out, this is not a novel concept. “When I was growing up in Reno,” he said, “every good-sized hotel-casino had their own ranch and their own slaughterhouse. It’s not that weird an idea. It just seems weird to us because our cultural memory is so short.”

That level of vertical integration is probably out of reach for Mr. Firth and Mr. Tarlow, but they are moving ahead with the next phase of their plan: a butcher shop. They have just leased a space a block over from Diner, at 95 Broadway. Called Marlow & Daughters, it could open as soon as the end of the year.

The store will be the first retailer in the city offering nothing but local meat from small farms, cut to order, seven days a week. It will also supply Marlow & Sons, Diner and both Bonita locations, allowing them more leeway in menu planning.

But almost certainly there will still be that sense of economy — a consciousness of waste, the need to use everything. Or almost everything.

“We really want to use beef suet in the deep fryer,” Ms. Fidanza said, “but everybody has a different opinion on that. I’m not interested in offending people. It’s kind of heartbreaking, because it’s just so delicious. And it makes so much sense.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: