Isn't There Anything We Can Believe in Anymore?

Oy. It's only Monday, and already our innocence is lost.

Over in Brooklyn, the New York Post is claiming that Union Market's natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat is, well, not so much. The paper spoke with an unnamed meat supplier who claimed that the grocer's butcher department routinely supplements its inventory with "commodity meat" that is the "cheapest of the cheap."

Naturally, Marko Lalic, the co-owner of market's three locations, is claiming the allegations are (natural, hormone-free) bull -- or, more specifically, "absolutely outrageous" and "contrary to everything we stand for." But while it's certainly possible that the Post's unnamed source is himself bogus, the suggestion that the grocer is fleecing its upscale, gastronomically correct clientele with meat better suited for a dog's bowl is, well, tantamount to saying that the wild salmon sold at Whole Foods isn't really -- heavens! -- wild. Impossible!

On top of the possibility of a business making false claims to assuage its customers' liberal guilt while milking them of their money, we must also now contend with the specter of yet another high-end restaurant that is apparently kind of grody. The Red Rooster, home of We Are the World superlatives and killer sweet-potato doughnuts, racked up 31 points, or the equivalent of a 'C,' on its last DOH inspection. The New York Daily News reports that Marcus Samuelsson's popular Harlem restaurant is challenging the inspection so that it can hang a "Grade Pending" sign until it gets a new inspection.

Of course, the restaurant has plenty of company: Many upscale restaurants with an astounding number of inspection points are allowed to remain open. Including, as the Post reports, 5 Ninth, which continues to serve customers who are blissfully ignorant of its 94 points. The restaurant's kitchen is apparently a hotbed of cross-contamination, bare hands, and vermin -- which makes commodity meat sold at premium prices not seem like such a bad deal by comparison.

Have a tip or restaurant-related news? Send it to fork@villagevoice.com.

And follow us on Twitter: @ForkintheRoadVV.


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