My review on a couple weeks ago led me on a hunt for the cut of meat that I discovered while dining there, the beef shoulder tender or bistro (petite) filet, which comes from the teres major muscle.
Since I did not find it in the grocery stores, I turned to the one place locally that I know deals in specialty meats: the Corner Butcher Shop in La Verne. They specialize in premium meats, such as USDA Prime beef, 24 different flavors of house made sausages and exotic meats such as ostrich and alligator.
I asked about the cut I was looking for, using every name I could find for it off Wikipedia, but none of them seemed to strike a chord. After much discussion, one of the owners, Will, graciously invited me into the back, where he showed me a giant slab of chuck and described how the coveted ribeye meat would be attached to the end of the tougher chuck.
Pulling away some of the top layers of meat from that end of the chuck, he showed me a small section of beef shaped like a pork tenderloin. He explained that this was probably what I was looking for and he described it as a butcher’s cut, or “the kind of meat butchers pull out and take home in their pocket because they know it’s good.”
He explained that although it was more tender than the surrounding meat, because it was still part of the less expensive chuck section, it would be priced accordingly ($5.99/lb for USDA Prime chuck). Never one to pass up a deal, I had him trim and wrap it up for me to try cooking at home.
Besides going above and beyond the call of duty to educate and answer customers’ questions about meat, the Corner Butcher Shop also offers a dine-in and takeout menu. Thus, while my meat was being prepared, I ordered a tri-tip salad ($7.65) and pulled pork sandwich with a side of baked beans ($7.65) to take home for lunch.
The fresh romaine salad was decorated with bright red tomatoes, crisp cucumbers and red onions, black beans and corn. Nestled on top was four slices of well-seasoned, freshly grilled tri-tip. My only regret was that I hastily drizzled the Memphis-style house BBQ sauce and ranch dressing over the salad and steak without tasting the meat first, thus interfering with its true flavor.
The pulled pork sandwich was about half a pound of incredibly moist, slow smoked, hand pulled pork piled on a brioche bun and topped with a vinegar-based North Carolina slaw. The small ramekin of baked beans started off with a hint of smoky sweetness with a faint hint of pineapple, finishing off with a bit of heat. It all easily got the nod of approval from my husband.
Later, I improvised an easy version of an online recipe. I seasoned the shoulder tender with salt and pepper and seared it in a pan with oil, minced garlic and thyme. Then I put the pan in the oven (preheated at 400 degrees F) for a few minutes.
I pulled it out, taking care to use a hot mitt on the pan handle, then seared the other side on the stovetop and placed it back in the oven to repeat the process. After resting for 5 minutes, I sliced and served it. It literally disappeared within minutes, with even my normally picky children devouring twice what they would normally consume on a good night.
My husband agreed it was just as tender and scrumptious as the beef we enjoyed at Waffa’s. Thanks to the Corner Butcher Shop, I was able to eat and cook like a gourmet chef, all in one day.
The Corner Butcher Shop
Address: 2359 Foothill Blvd., La Verne
Business Hours: Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Phone Number: (909) 596-6345
Price Range: $5 - $9.95
Type of Cuisine: BBQ, Meats
Standout Dish: BBQ Pork Sandwich