Pino's Prime Meats: Just down the block on Sullivan Street from St. Anthony's — the home church of the San Gennaro Festival — Pino's occupies a space that has been a butcher shop for nearly a century, and in the same family for 70 years. The shop is small, the floor covered with sawdust, and a meat case dominates the room, filled with luscious steaks like porterhouses and New York strips.
While these can be exceedingly high-priced, Pino's reserves a special cut for the locals – something called a Newport steak (shown with the shop's 200-year-old brass pistone), rimmed with fat, well-aged, and impossibly tender. It sells for about a third of the price of the fancier steaks.
Hefty as batons, the frankfurters are the best in town. Pino's was recently threatened with eviction, so go soon. 149 Sullivan St, 212-475-8134
Morscher's Pork Store: Other German butchers in Ridgewood like Karl Ehmer and Forest Pork Store are long gone, leaving Morscher's almost the last Teutonic flesh palace standing. Founded in 1957, Morscher's historic façade features a cartoon of a guy wearing a fedora going ga-ga over a round table heaped with charcuterie.
The shop, which is grandfathered in by the city to run a smoker, turns out wunderbar wursts, kielbasas, Vienna-style franks, pounded veal schnitzels, liverwurst, and something called lachsschinken, which the shop translates "dry ham." It's a lot like a smoked prosciutto, at a fraction of the price. 58-44 Catalpa Ave, Ridgewood, Queens, 718-821-1040.
Faicco's Italian Specialties: Like the Germans, Italians from Southern Italy prefer pork over beef and lamb, and they fashion it into all sorts of dried and fresh sausages. The original Faicco's was founded in 1900 in Greenwich Village (the second iteration still exists on Bleecker Street) by Edward Faicco, who emigrated from Sorrento, Italy.
In the 1940s, most sausage-making operations were transferred from the original shop to a new store in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, where the most esteemed product remains soppressata, a humongous dried salami that spends several days curing in the wet and dry rooms upstairs (see the Eater video).
Downstairs also find a vast range of fresh pork and chicken sausages, together with pork, veal, beef and lamb, and imported Italian products galore. 6511 11th Ave, Brooklyn, 718-236-0119.
Sikorski Meat Market: While the Eastern European butcher shops that once dominated Williamsburg's Bedford Avenue are sadly a thing of the past, Greenpoint remains a redoubt of Polish butcher shops licensed to smoke their own meat, which means mainly kielbasas in a half-dozen shapes and sizes and supremely tasty hams.
The two contenders for best ham in the neighborhood have always been Steve's Meat Market and Sikorski's, both approximately 40 years old, and Eater paid a visit to both places to see which is currently doing the best.
While Steve's ham was slightly silkier, and the premises considerably more picturesque, Sikorski's had a smokier taste, and a better distribution of fat. Use it to make the borough's best ham sandwich, or toasted ham-and-cheese. 603 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, 718-389-6181.
Albanese Meats and Poultry: Billing himself as "Moe the Butcher" and the "Last Butcher in Little Italy," 90-year-old Moe Albanese has turned butchering into a species of performance art. In his ancient and nearly empty shop – only a few forms of meat and poultry are on display – the center of attention is a giant hunk of beef resting on a free-standing butcher block so crazed with cuts the meat sinks deeply into it.
From this he cuts your porterhouse with so much care, using knife after knife, that it takes at least 15 minutes. Don't let him cut too much of the fat off! The steak is superb – but expensive as hell. 238 Elizabeth Street, 212-966-1788.
Lobel's Prime Meats: This Upper East Side luxury beef mainstay traces its roots to a butcher shop founded in 1840 in Germany, before moving to Boston and thence to New York, where it was established 70 years ago.
Butcher David Lobel (shown above) – also an attorney – is a fifth-generation member of the founding family. He presides over the preparation of the shop's prime steaks, of which the New York strip and the filet mignon are the most popular, dry-aged four to six weeks. On the lower end, Lobel's is a killer place to get ground beef for hamburgers. 1096 Madison Ave, 212-737-1372.
Sun Ming Jan: For nearly 30 years (the shopkeeper's estimate) Sun Ming Jan has been turning out the Cantonese sausages known as lap cheong, which are subtly flavored, slightly sweet, and red as a firecracker.
These come in innumerable sizes and shapes, from stubby little nuggets to elongated sticks tied in pairs with twine. Sun Ming Jan is mainly a manufacturing facility, with an order window protected by a window screen that the proprietor, who speaks rudimentary English, steps behind in his salesman capacity when you're ready to order. Duck, pork, and chicken products also available, and don't miss the black-lacquered pork belly, also known as Chinese bacon. 111 Hester St, 212-965-8833.
Staubitz Market: "Our meat market started out in Germany, too, but we've been much longer in New York than Lobel's," the head butcher proudly told me at Cobble Hill's Staubitz Market, which was established in the neighborhood when it was known as South Brooklyn back in 1917. The place is now a butcher and gourmet grocery, peddling some of the best looking prime meat you've ever seen.
One of the virtues of this establishment is the range of steaks offered – not just filets, strips, porterhouses, and ribeyes, but prime versions of skirt, hanger, and Newport steaks, too, at correspondingly lower prices. And there's no better place in the five boroughs to experience that old butcher shop feel, with the smell of blood in your nostrils. 222 Court St, Brooklyn, 718-624-0014
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