Great brunches, biergartens and steak houses turn up in unexpected places.
In the last two years, the old-fashioned butcher shop has gained new cachet among ingredient-obsessed diners as many chefs have paired their meat counters with eat-in facilities that turn them into steakhouses, biergartens and breakfast spots.
Today’s new carnivores are not squeamish about raw meat and enjoy the illusion of plain brown-paper style at restaurants named Orlando Meats, Miami’s Quality Meats or just The Butcher Shop in West Palm.
The payoff for chefs and restaurateurs is a wider variety of meat, short ribs, bavettes, coulottes, pork T-bones, lamb bacon cut to their liking and house-made sausages, salami, smoked meats, marrow and charcuterie.
Jimmy P’s Butcher Shop and Deli/ Charred/Jimmy P’s Burgers and More
Jimmy P’s, a must-shop for Naples gourmets for 30 years, always had tables for fans to eat what could be Florida’s finest burgers. Then in 2015, the Pepper family opened Charred next door and pioneered butcher-centric fine dining. A year later, they added a burger spot.
The key ingredients everywhere are first-rate meat, Wagyu beef, Berkshire pork, prime lamb in chops, steaks, roast, sausages and jerky. Plus, alligator, rabbit, ground elk, venison, foie gras and demi glace and rubs to use at home.
They come together at Jimmy P’s Burgers and More naturally in monster dogs and Wagyu burgers topped with pastrami or onion ring stacks and hearty chili.
The grand display is dinner at Charred, which can start with bone marrow, Wagyu carpaccio or sweetbreads, and move on to a 2-pound porterhouse for $85. Add foie gras, black truffle and demi glace for another $21. Whether steak or burger, get a side of andouille-jalapeno corn, charred.
The Butcher Shop
Pairing prime meat with biergartens was an old-world and hipster idea from the Nizniks in West Palm Beach and Miami’s Wynwood. Igor Niznik first took over a beloved West Palm butcher shop called Charlie’s, and son Fred added the Miami location.
The retail stock is simple and meaty, fresh beef from skirt to tri-tip, pork and organic chicken, seven burger mixes, from lentil, walnut and veggie to prime sirloin and brisket and sausages galore from chorizos to European brats, currywurst and kabanos.
If meat comes first, add 15 beers, pierogies, spaetzle and butcher-shop chicharrones with Thai chili sauce, and you have a butcher shop biergarten made for 2018.
Even where there’s no actual butcher shop, smart restaurants pay homage to old-school craft, none more so than New York City’s Quality Meats, now in an Art Deco hotel in South Beach. The chandeliers are made from meat hooks, the logo is a “safe handling’’ stamp on butcher paper and the reception desk is a meat counter lined with old cleavers.
There is real meat-cutting skill in the kitchen, which makes, smokes and cures its own charcuterie, whips up foie gras parfaits and chorizo vinaigrette. Witty chefs cook up mac ‘n’ Cheetos and serve the house bacon with peanut butter and jalapeno.
Sure, there’s lobster and fish (salmon, crusted like an everything bagel), but meat is the heart of the menu: Tomahawk steak, Wagyu brisket pastrami and 3½-pound double rib steak. For the stout-hearted, desserts are beautifully plated with glazed fruit and shaved chocolate — in old-fashioned white butcher cups.
Orlando Meats is now a cool place for breakfast, lunch and a steak-and-eggs brunch (with pickled mayo) in the Mills 50 area, but it started five years ago as a new-era butcher shop, and that remains its chief calling.
That means nose-to-tail butchery of beef, pork, goat, lamb and chickens that Edgar Massoni and crew seek out on Florida farms and ranches — grass-fed heirloom breeds, humanely treated.
Orlando Meats gets full use of the meat — shoppers can take home pork jowls and hocks, oxtail, chicken feet, lard, tallow and organ meats as well as hefty roasts and chops.
Let them do the cooking, and the purity of the meat products gets modern smarts and a punch of fermentation, like a ham-and-egg scramble with mustard and sauerkraut, a foot-long with banana ketchup or a chocolate miso doughnut. Wash it down with ginger kombucha or bone broth.
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