For years, people have been asking about artisanal butcher shops, and for years, our list has been pretty much the same: Alexander's Prime Meats in San Gabriel and Huntington Meats and Marconda Meats in the Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax, with the occasional nod to the contents of the meat cases at the various How's supermarkets, and the great but not-quite-public selection at Harvey Guss near Beverly Hills. (Call a day ahead; they'll set you up.) Los Angeles is a good place to find ducks killed to order and marinated quail, but not, as it turns out, to buy a steak. The rock star butcher thing raging in Brooklyn, Chicago and the Bay Area has been slow to come to town.
So in some circles, the opening of McCall's Meat and Fish Company in Los Feliz a couple of weeks ago was greeted as a trickle of cool water from Lourdes. After the buildup, customers may have been expecting a grand carnal palace instead of a modest storefront up on Hillhurst. Nathan McCall and Karen Yoo may have stamped their tickets in some of the finest restaurants in the country, but McCall still looks a little uneasy with a meat saw, and the products on display are as sparse as $7,500 frocks in a Beverly Hills boutique.
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You will find neither braising cuts, nor offal, nor rare-breed cattle, although such beef as exists is grass-fed and sustainably raised, and the fish tends to be the stuff greenlighted by the Monterey watch list. The herbed sausage links were really good - Yoo tosses a few sprigs of thyme tied in butcher string in with the purchase, which is a nice touch - and the tiny squid were both thoroughly cleaned and impeccably fresh, which is the way you want to see your squid. And you have to love a butcher whose first impulse is to run into the back and pull out a blackened, wizened log of 28-day dry-aged prime ribeye, which cleans up into steaks of pure beauty.
Sign onto the shop's Twitter feed, @mccallsmandf, for advance notice of such Alaskan black cod, marrow bones, and bone-in shortribs as may come into stock.
McCall's Meat & Fish Company: 2117 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz; (323) 667-0674.