Never mind how you prefer to have your steak prepared. These days, we’re more interested in what happens to these delicious cuts of beef before they’re thrown on the barbie. Were the cows grass-fed, organic or raised free-range? We asked Rob Rossi (chef at Bestellen and former Top Chef contestant) to pick the top cuts from the GTA’s happiest and healthiest herds.
Eyeing Cumbrae’s New York–style strip loin steak (courtesy of a grass-fed cow), Rossi takes a tentative bite. “I really like the texture with this one,” he says, sawing off a second piece. “This steak somehow tastes beefier than the others. Definitely the best of the bunch.”
1636 Bayview Ave. Price: $27.99/kg
Rossi gives the Friendly Butcher’s Bruce County grass-fed, hormone-free strip loin steak a quick poke with his fork, and nods. After examining the steak (“nice marbling”), he digs in. “This one’s not as flavourful as the others, but again the texture is great. Very tender.”
3269 Yonge St. Price: $19.99/kg
When our discerning judge takes a bite of this Rowe Farms-raised antibiotic-free, hormone-free steak (sold at Highland Farms), he takes a minute to collect his thoughts. “It’s almost on the ‘watery’ side. Not a lot of fat here.” Rossi tells us that he prefers “more marbling” in his steaks.
3300 Rutherford rd. Price: $22.99/kg
Oliffe’s strip loin steak sits on Rossi’s plate thanks to a P.E.I.-raised, grass-fed and hormone-free cow. Rossi describes this steak as “a little pale” for his liking and finds his first few bites “too chewy.” “Not my first choice,” the chef explains, before moving on to another steak.
1097A Yonge St. Price: $28/kg
Royal Beef’s hormone-free steak, which comes from “happy cows” raised in PEI, is a little leaner than the others. “But that’s OK,” explains Rossi. “It’s still quite tender, and I like the flavour.”
1968 Danforth Ave. Price: $20/kg
“I’m not sure about this one,” says Rossi, before trying a small bite of the Healthy Butcher’s organic, hormone-free strip loin steak. “Honestly, this tastes a little old — and not as in ‘aged old.’ Not my favourite.”
298 Eglinton Ave. Price: $33.89/kg