International Meat Market, Astoria Queens

We arrived in New York with an “Alisbayan” box (did you know they had such things?) filled meat1 with 200 plus capiz boxes that were to be used as favors at my nephew’s upcoming wedding. That along with three “smuggler” sized suitcases with two more nested within meant we were a liability to any yellow taxi cab at the JFK airport. My brother-in-law surprised us by picking us up with a rented van and we cruised back to Manhattan in mini-van splendor. The following day, the rented van was parked just outside the apartment, just begging for an excursion. In answer to the question “Where’s the Meat?” we piled into the van and headed to the borough of Queens (the largest of the five NY boroughs at over 100 square miles), just over one of the midtown bridges in search of the Greek section of Astoria. First stop was the International Meat Market on Grand Avenue in Astoria, Queens.

A medium sized Greek owned butcher packed to the gills with some of the finest meat you have ever seen. The window had a whole side of lamb hanging, sides of beef, whole rabbits, pork and veal on display. meat4The cases within the store held even more… racks of veal, enormous osso buco, tails of young cows, several cuts of pork, beef and lamb. My sister picked up an order for an aged hunk of roast beef which they trimmed in front of us and sliced a few spectacular steaks while leaving a four-rib roast. The meat was a deep deep red or burgundy, the result of having aged and some of the moisture having evaporated, leaving an intensely flavorful meat. This is where the meat was… We also picked up a rack of veal (veal chops are my absolute favorite meat) that was roasted later that day and just simply the best way to sink back into that New York frame of mind.

While we were waiting for the beef, I checked out some of the other meat2 refrigerated cases and discovered they carried an extensive selection of products from D’Artagnan – that famous provedore of foie gras and other gout-causing goodies. They had the most enormous looking Poussin (young chicken, so it’s unusual to see them so enormous), organic free-range chickens, duck breasts (magret), etc. I didn’t see any foie gras but perhaps it was available for special order. This was, by the way, a neighborhood butcher but the selection was just simply superb. The neighborhood must be eating very well indeed.

Besides the meat, the store carried other food products starting .meat5
with gourmet salts, superb olive oils, truffle and other flavored oils, spices, olives, pastas, dry goods and other greek specialties. I purchased some French sea salt and some spices. I couldn’t resist taking this photo of the lamb and close by but not captured were several skinned rabbits that my daughter had the hibbie-jibbies about as she has a pet rabbit at home. The International Meat Market is located at 36-12 30th Avenue, Astoria New York 11103. Ring them at 718-626-6656 if you need more detailed directions.


4 Responses

  1. I miss the great old days in Greece when only few people owned ovens. Even if they did, it has been (hopefully stil exists) a tradition on Sunday morning to queue at the bakery with your TAPSI.. its a flat metal dish where they put ther meat for roasting.
    Of course its simply rub with salt and pepper and some garlic
    then around 1 or 2pm (used to be alternating bakeries) all the women collect their roast lamb. You only pay a little for using the bakery’s huge oven.

    Its not suprrising to roast the HEAD as well, they make soup PATSA with the brains.

    Rabbits? Not very popular in Athens but in the islands and the villages they hunt wild rabbits and COOK THEM IN TOMATO STEW, gently bubbling for hours with lots of onions.
    its called STEFADO.

    Looks like I can live in Queens with this market you have described here.

    Enjoy and I will as well (might be in Nice, France soon) cnat wait to visit the marche!

  2. In Manila they actually sell these canvas balikbayan box covers that are pretty handy when travelling — they’re a bit more discreet and they have handles making it easier to lift the boxes from the baggage claim conveyor belt.

  3. Wysgal I bought one of those canvas covers at Ace Hardware at Shoemart for P800. It looked good, I must say. But when we got to U.S. customs they actually cut a hole in the box to see the contents but somehow the lock and canvas was intact! It means they can look at anything and open all your locks… but for the return trip, my sister’s stock of balikbayan boxes is of a smaller size so they dont fit the canvas cover…hmmm, shouldn’t there be a standard?

  4. Can’t believe I missed this place on a recent trip to NY. Will certainly get there next time. I did actually try rabbit while in NY and it was fantastic



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