Westchester Food Lover’s Guide: Meat
A carnivore’s delight.
Ruffled Feathers is a mini maze of wicker baskets, cold cases, and shelving filled with myriad homemade salads (try the “famous” coleslaw) plus indie brands of pantry staples. Yet what truly elevates this market to another level of delectableness is the golden, crisp rotisserie items; this is a genuine trussed-poultry paradise. Rotisserie chickens or Long Island ducks are fired up daily (except Sunday; the store is closed), and options increase by calling ahead: Cornish hens, whole turkey, turkey breast, whole filet mignon, pork loin, boneless leg of lamb, and whole suckling pigs. Prepare for some serious fingerlicking!
Before impersonal supermarket chains, there were places like Cole’s Market, with its handwritten signs, products on every surface, and customers and employees on a strictly first-name basis. Opened in 1910, this expanded farmhouse-turned-family-run grocery store offers bread, cheese, frozen ravioli from Yonkers-based JB & Son, fresh fruits and vegetables (local corn is a sweet winner), as well as family dinners (protein, potato dish, and vegetable serving four for about $25). The butcher counter is where Cole’s most excels, however, with 10 varieties of preservative-free sausage made on-premise (the broccoli rabe is a standout); ground-in-house square burgers; fresh chicken; sirloin steaks marinated in garlic, sundried tomato, and basil; and shish kebabs of all types. It’s also an essential stop for the holidays: Cole’s has top-notch fresh turkeys (more than 1,000 turkeys are sold at Thanksgiving) and leg of lamb plus accompanying homemade gravies that demand swipes with crusty bread.
Navigating the winding, narrow (two SUVs passing each other in opposite directions is not likely happening) country roads that lead to Hemlock Hill Farm makes a Southern Westchesterite feel like he or she is quite far from home. From White Plains, though, it’s a pretty, 25-minute ride—and, for meat lovers, one that’s worth it. Enter the low-slung building off of the barn and find cases stocked with pasture-raised cuts of antibiotic- and hormone-free beef, chicken, goose, lamb, and goat (the cattle are fed with Captain Lawrence Brewery grain). There’s also fantastic smoked bacon that will guarantee that you’ll never buy the shrink-wrapped supermarket variety again.
Look around while you’re waiting your turn at Village Prime Meats—you may spot an ex-Yankees outfielder, recording-industy mogul (rhymes with “rock and rola”), or other person of note. But the real stars at this old-fashioned butcher shop owned by Angelo Letizia (who made his first sausage at 14) are the prime meats—the only grade sold. Consider the organic chicken, dry-aged rack of lamb, beef tenderloin, and natural tender veal and lamb. If we had to pick one item? The “fresh” turkeys ($4/lb), birds that are never refrigerated below 36ºF and thus taste considerably better than the typical “deep-frozen” supermarket turkey.
Butchers are on-premise Monday through Saturday at any of the four locations of Battaglia Brothers Catering & Deli, a 25 year-old family-owned business that is part Italian deli, part prepared-foods purveyor (the heat-and-serve linguine with clam sauce is a winner), and part butcher shop and sausage smokehouse. It is the third part at which Battapaglia truly excels with fresh-cut-daily rib steaks, London broil, filet mignon, quail, rabbit, and pheasant. And that’s not all—you must try the funky house-made cured sausages, including hot or sweet soppressata and hot or sweet capicola.
More Meat: Top Meat Shops / Westchester’s King of Sausage
8 Southfield Ave
Dobbs Ferry, (914) 693-1114
battagliabrothers.com (plus three New Rochelle locations)
2147 Albany Post Rd Montrose
Hemlock Hill Farm
500 Croton Ave
Cortlandt Manor, (914) 737-2810
Longo’s Park Deli
203 S Regent St
Port Chester, (914) 939-3217
75 Garth Rd, Scarsdale
Village Prime Meats
475 Main St, Armonk
From an inconspicuous room comes a beautiful, delectable link.
Out of sight behind the butcher counter at Longo’s Park Deli in Port Chester is a walk-in. Enter and within is a narrow closet of a space (one butcher-width only) with shelves of food packaging materials on one side and a stainless-steel table and meat grinder on the other. On an almost daily basis, this is where magic happens—a ground-pork-and-seasonings-stuffed-into-casings kind of magic, that is. The tiny room is the site of the birth of an exceptional Italian sausage, where years of practice (10 years for current owner Tony Longo) have resulted in a pork link with impeccable texture, spicing, meat-to-fat ratio, juiciness, and flavor. There are sweet and hot varieties, of course, but also broccoli rabe, sundried tomato/basil, and peppers and onion, as well as a chicken sausage. Up to 500 pounds are sold weekly in summer. (Think of all the peppers and onions to be chopped!)
The market’s sausage-making prowess isn’t the only reason to visit—it offers many stellar takeout items. (Oh, that red potato salad!)