(probably not your mother’s butcher: a detail of the meat case at Marlow & Daughters)
Marlow & Daughters
The post which appears just before this one describes a dinner which, although it did not include meats from the Williamsburg butcher shop Marlow & Daughters, was almost a natural segue from the three meals which immediately preceded it, which did. The connection is their components, which were importantly either blood or liver (discouraging all but the heartiest meat eating readers), specifically the blood sausage in the Huevos Flamencos and the poached links of lamb liver sausage which dominated the meal the previous night.
It was only a coincidence that we had also enjoyed lunches with two different kinds of delicious liverwurst sandwiches on Monday and Tuesday (thanks again to the Union Square Greenmarket and the people at Flying Pigs Farm), but it appears that in those four days we were deep inside territory many might consider (excuse the pun) too gutsy for their taste.
The lamb liver sausage was the third in a series of dinners inspired by our visit to Marlow & Daughters on Sunday after our afternoon visiting Williamsburg galleries. We’ve long been fans of the restaurants Diner and Marlow & Sons, which share a connection with each other and with Tom Mylan, their former in-house butcher. Now Mylan is a food blogger, and has his own Broadway meat shop, for which he purchases only local, pasture-raised whole animals and then butchers them on-site. The meat can often be cut to order, and there’s a generous charcuterie selection.
We had been reading exciting things about his independent venture and had been impressed with Mylan’s appearance on NPR’s “All things considered” last spring, but hadn’t actually visited the site until now.
On Sunday we brought home two beautiful, thick, sirloin steaks. They looked like giant tournedos to me, but still somehow managed to tip the scales at only about 6 ounces each. Perfect. It was almost closing time when we arrived, but when the butcher I spoke to saw how disappointed I was that there was only one steak left in the counter, he told us that if we could wait a few minutes he’d cut two in any size we wanted from a large slab of dry-aged beef he had in the cooler. Wow. I was impressed.
It took me all the way back to the little full-service Italian grocery store down the street from the house where I grew up, in pre-breakdown Detroit: I was probably thirteen or fourteen, and my first (after-school) job was as a stock boy and bag packer at “Nino’s Market” (it was probably only the size of our Manhattan apartment), and I clearly remember that, after the manager, who was the proud and very hot young son of the owner, the butcher was treated like a God!
I’ve never been afraid of meat since.
We also bought half a pound of beautiful house-cured guanciale, since it seemed about time for Pasta alla Gricia once again. We never tire of that dish, which ideally includes properly-cured pork jowl, but a number of different pasta choices (we usually use a penne). We first enjoyed it in 1996, in the form of Spaghetti alla Gricia, while sitting at a table on the street outside the Piccola Trattoria da Lucia, in Rome’s Trastevere (Chiuso il lunedì). We went back to the Vicolo del Mattonato two days later, and at least once again the next time we were in Rome one year later (the founder’s son, Renato Bizzarri, who succeeded his mother in running the restaurant, recognized us as soon as we sat down).
Back at Marlow & Daughters, I looked around for lamb, and was sorry to hear from another butcher that the shop was altogether out of it. Then he told me that he did have some lamb liver sausage in the back and wondered if it might interest us. He was asking the right guys: we were both game, and of course the medium-dark, purply sausage itself looked and smelled like game. I knew I already had the wintry vegetables which would complement it. We asked him to wrap up two links (11 or 12 ounces total).
The small shop also has some great cheeses, a small selection of pickles and preserves, milk, some fresh vegetables and fruit, and a carefully-selected assortment of dry food products. Heaven.
This is a more complete description of our three Marlow & Daughters meals, whose vegetable ingredients (as well as the ice cream) were all gathered from the Union Square Greenmarket:
dinner, December 8, 2009
- pumpkin-based potage, which included a rich duck stock, red onion and fresh cider
- pan-sauteed sirloin steaks, finished with olive oil and lemon; accompanied by red French fingerling potatoes from Paffenroth Gardens roasted with fresh rosemary; and gently-sauteed upland cress, also from Paffenroth Gardens
- wine: Ercavio Tempranillo Roble Castilla 2007, from K&D Wine and Spirits
dinner, December 9, 2009
- olives and grissini
- Pasta alla Gricia (in this case, Rao’s penne rigate, with a sauce of guanciale, pecorino and lots of ground pepper)
- wine: Sannio Falanghina 2005 Mastroberardino, from 67wine
dinner, December 10, 2009
- rich Muscovy duck soup (a lagniappe from our Thanksgiving dinner), served with thin slices of “Flax Seed Armadillo” bread from Bobolink Dairy
- poached lamb liver sausage links, served with whole-grain Dijon mustard; accompanied by oven fries roasted together with garlic and thyme and finished with parsley; and blanched and sauteed red mustard greens (sort-of-frisée) from Lani’s Farm
- Ginger Crème Brulee ice cream from Ronnybrook Farm Dairy
- wine: Austrian Zweigelt, Weingut Hofer Zweigelt 2008, from Appellation Wines
[image at the top from Rotating Corpse]