669 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park
Before the Meat House opened on Orange Avenue in Winter Park, carnivores wanting to purchase a steak cut to their liking had limited options. Now they have their own temple of animal protein and specialty items; the Meat House is a gourmet’s go-to.
It’s a little place, but it’s stuffed with visually appealing food items: from fresh undried pasta to local breads and charcuterie, a significant olive bar and an olive oil station where refillable quart containers can be purchased and topped up again and again for a small fee. Looking for sides to go with that porterhouse? Pre-roasted asparagus and glazed cipollini onions from the prepared foods case are at your fingertips.
Skip the unimpressive fish counter and go straight for the good stuff. The Meat House offers both USDA prime and choice cuts of New York strip, rib-eye and tenderloin. The employees could use a bit more seasoning: When I visited, the staff behind the counter couldn’t tell the man waiting next to me why a prime filet mignon was $6 more than a choice one, since the fat content in both is minuscule. Regardless, the New York strips I chose and grilled up at home were fantastically tender.
Tell the butchers it’s your first time – they give Meat House virgins a pre-wrapped sample of their signature house-marinated steak tips steeped in a brew of mustard seeds and Italian herbs. They also have a small freezer case containing some hard-to-find fowl like pheasant, poussin, duck breasts (uncooked, unmarinated!) and whole quail.