Kosher & Halal Butchers
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
Kosher butchers used to be found all over New York. But much like conventional butcher shops, kosher meat markets have fallen victim to the one-stop-shopping trend and are now much harder to find. Moreover, most remaining kosher butchers no longer cut meat to order. Every kosher shop I visited while researching this article sold shrink-wrapped meat that had been cut in a back room.
“Years ago, a customer would come in and say, ‘I want a shoulder,’ and the butcher would toss it on the scale, trim it, and so forth,” the owner of the Crown Kosher Meat Market in Crown Heights (413 Kingston Ave., between Empire Boulevard and Montgomery Street, Brooklyn, 718-774-9300), Mendy Raitport, said. “Today’s customer wants everything already packaged on the shelf, so they can get it and go. There’s no real call anymore for the guy who takes the piece of meat and cuts it in front of you. Me, I’m not a showman, so I don’t mind.”
But one specialty butcher category appears to be growing. Halal butchers, which serve the Muslim market, are showing up all over the city.
Much like kosher meat, halal meat must be slaughtered and processed under strict religious standards and supervision, and it’s won fans even among non-Muslims. At the Fertile Crescent (570 Atlantic Ave. at Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-797-3066), a Muslim grocery with a butcher counter in the back, owner Hamed Nabawy said he’s seeing an increasing number of American customers. “It’s a growing part of our business,” he said. “When they try it, they recommend it others.” After sampling his veal chops and spicy merguez sausage, it’s easy to see why.