Stopped in for my first purchase here - house-made sweet Italian sausage - $7/lb. is steep; however, it is a rare thing in America these days to purchase sausage and have the donor of the sausage looking at you from the deli case - the head of THE pig was for sale and staring up at me. Which is ultimately the reason for entering this shop in the first place, but I will get back to that.
So the question is: Is $7/lb. for sausage worth it?
In terms of taste, other than a sausage I recently had in a Breton village not far from Mont-St. Michel, this is the best sausage I have had in recent memory - seemingly low in fat content, medium ground which made it feel more substantial, whole spices like fennel seed, smelled great. Served sauteed with onion, peppers and tomatoes from the Waltham Fields Community Farm CSA, on toasted Portuguese rolls by Winter Hill Bakery bought at McKinnon's.
So perhaps the mere fact that our Tuesday night dinner was hyperlocal makes me, by default, the kind of sanctimonious ass that would regularly pay $7 / lb. for sausage. (In addition to being the kind of person that feels the need to brag about dining on Breton sausage - oh how precious! Oh, and the Breton sausage - from a French food truck...ha!)
Then I factor in more general muckety-muckery because, since having read Jonathan Safran Foer's "Eating Animals," I have been parsimonious in my meat eating, eschewing chicken completely although still the occasional sausage or steak, if for no other reason that I stopped reading after the chicken chapters because subconsciously I did not want to ruin all bacon for the end of time, like that book did for chicken. (Although I will admit that I have committed a fowl at Magoun's because I understand that buffalo sauce kills off the general uncleanliness of factory farmed chicken.)
So putting all politics and ethics aside, what it basically boils down to is that I really just want clean food that tastes the best. So on these metrics, I think a place like Dulock will get my continued support. I see the animal that I am eating, I know that it was selected and apportioned by my local butcher, and (on faith) it was raised in a way that will create a better taste in its flesh. Why shouldn't I be willing to pay double the price per pound for that guarantee?
Is it elitist snobbery? I guess it could be, to a point. I just keep coming back to the Fight Club dialogue about clean food and the book, which if only 50% of what he says is true, makes me sick.
For the one Yelp reviewer (so far) who sounds like had a great Porterhouse (http://www.yelp.com/biz/mf-dulock-pas...), clearly the answer of whether it is worth it is no. And unlike that review, I found Jamal to be very friendly, while Michael was engaged the whole time with another couple of customers.
In any case, expect to pay about double the typical supermarket rate, but will report back on other cuts of meat as sampled.
A few other notes:
They will always have pork and beef on hand via whole animals, and waste little. So as the week goes on, more unusual cuts I think will tend to predominate. Of course, a call ahead will guarantee what you want. Deliveries are on Tuesday or Thursday, and they will be getting in lamb and/or goat at this time in addition to the staples.
Apparently, there are no plans at this point to post on the website or Facebook what new animals are getting delivered, which is too bad - I think that would generate more interested customers.
They had a large slab of beef suet in the case, and not sure what to do with that. I think more nose-to-tail suggestions would also help the casual meat eater branch out.
One final note: DW proclaimed this dish of sausage and peppers to be the best I've ever made. Granted, she was really hungry....I blamed the sausages.