I thought there was a lot of fuss last year when McCall's Meat and Fish opened in Los Feliz. That was just a tempest in a teapot compared to the hullabaloo that has surrounded the opening of Lindy & Grundy's butcher shop last week. The shop, run Erika Nakamura and Amelia Posada, has gained national attention in publications from Bon Appetite to the New York Times and local press from KCRW and the Los Angeles Times to just about every food blog and newsletter in the region. Nakamura and Posada source whole animals that have been raised sustainably on local ranches and butcher them on-site.
The two female butchers are the only shop locally that breaks down their meat from whole carcasses. They have a track on the ceiling that takes the meat on hooks from the entrance to the back where they wield their knives. They have cultivated relationships with ranchers who do not use antibiotics or hormones and who raise the animals on pastures, not in pens. Their uniqueness both in concept and in gender in a male-dominated industry has led to extensive coverage which has caused them to sell out of most of their cuts of meat on a daily basis.
When I visited on Saturday I lucked out and visited during a time when they were less busy, although the shelves were rather bare as lots of other folks had the same idea as I did. Fortunately the butchers were carving up a lamb and sliced four frenched lamb chops for me. They were beautifully trimmed and Nakamura gave me some of her famous "lamb mix" which I used to season the meat. I grilled the lamb chops for ten to eleven minutes on my bbq using generous amounts of the seasoning and they came out wonderfully with a great lamby flavor. There was enough fat to keep the meat juicy but not too much that it was fatty.
Posada and Nakamura have worked to become a neighborhood fixture in their only one week of operation. They ask customers names and recognize repeat visitors. It is old fashioned but likely better than most any butcher shop was "back in the day." Breaking down whole animals means that they have all cuts of meat, not just the most popular, which gives them an opportunity to educate their customers on unusual cuts and try new things.
Lindy & Grundy also has dry aged beef, which they age on-site in their aging room in the back. The dry aged product is expensive, reflecting the investment in aging the beef for more than a month, but looked like an enticing way to celebrate a special occasion at home. If you want something in particular, I recommend that you call ahead so you are not disappointed. Just don't take the last few lamb chops. I want them!
Lindy & Grundy: 801 North Fairfax Avenue, just north of Melrose Avenue. Mid City. Phone: (323) 951-0804. Website: http://www.lindyandgrundy.com/index.htm