Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Le Marchand du Bourg: The Best Dry Aged Rib Steaks in Montreal

Fig.1. Master butcher Marc Bourg standing in front of his signature, 40 day old, dry aged rib steaks, and as you can see by the picture, it's the whole rib.

Le Marchand du Bourg is a place I stumbled on by chance. I was walking along Beaubien Street just east of Papineau when I came across signs on the window declaring meat to be within. As I peered through the window, owner Marc Bourg kindly opened the door for me and assured me that I would be safe inside. I walked in, always eager to gaze at meat, but saw none. Where meat fridges should have been sat a large wooden church pew, and wooden shelves festooned with books, little sculptures, straw baskets and other various antiques; all that seemed edible on the shelf was Marc's home-made, Montreal steak spice. Opposite the shelves, an old counter also made of wood. The counter holds a cash register, an old wooden analog radio--the kind with a dial--and a rotary phone--also the kind with a dial. In the back of the store looms a large walk in fridge fashioned to look like an old, wooden cabin, complete with wood shingles and large windows. There are no packaged meat products in Marc's shop wrapped in cellophane or hermetically sealed. Marc cuts your meat in the walk-in fridge while you look on: you choose the animal, the cut and the size. The animals that Marc sells are lamb, veal, pork (all from Quebec), and of course, beef, his specialty. Marc's beef is Angus, and he's one of the few butchers in the city who dry ages his rib steaks. "I age my ribs whole for forty days, I have to set myself apart. That's why I don't sell chicken, everybody has chicken, but not everybody has dry aged beef."
Marc Bourg decided to open Boucherie Le Marchand du Bourg because he couldn't take the everyday practices that went on in the big supermarkets anymore. "The amount of waste is disgusting, at the end of every day, so much meat went into the garbage, I couldn't take it anymore." Marc’s passion is evident as he tells me that people need to change the way they buy their meat. That meat shouldn’t be bought in bulk and forgotten in the freezer, instead, we should just buy what we need and eat it right away.
While the dry-aged rib steaks need to be ordered in advance, Marc does sell other cuts of meat like filet mignon and flank that can be purchased on the spot. Pork cuts are also available 'sur place' but lamb and veal need to be ordered.
Getting to know Mark is an investment in meat: He's the type of butcher you can just ring up when you need some meat, he's the type of man who'll have your order ready and packaged for you (wrapped in nice brown paper) if you're in a hurry, and he's the type of person who'll sit next to you on his church pew and engage in friendly discussions ranging from summer barbecues to the importance of treating animals humanely.

Fig.2. Marc's butcher shop is a step back in time, a time when the neighbourhood butcher new your name and what your favorite cut of meat was.

Fig.3. The walk in fridge in, Le Marche Du Bourg has a a big window so you can see Marc at work.

Fig.4. Marc at work.

Fig.5. Two, 40 day old ribs aching to meet my cast iron pan. Did I mention my pan was scorching hot?

Le Marchand du Bourg: 1661 Beaubien east, (near Papineau) 514-439-3373

1 comment:

Tosh said...

oooh .. you make me so agitated!(in a good way). Truly "Back to the Future". :D