Meet and Eat: NY »

Conversations with chefs and food personalities in New York City.

Meet & Eat: Tom Mylan, Marlow & Daughters

Guilty pleasures? Bullet-proof Chinese delivery from Sunny Garden. Obviously not local or pastured but chock-full of MSG. I like them because they change their oil more than any of the other places so their egg rolls don't taste stale.

Editor's note: We are no stranger to Mr. Mylan. We have attended his pig roasts, his pig butchering classes, and most recently, have watched the growth of his new butcher shop, Marlow & Daughters. With that, Laren Spirer helps us get to know the man with the meat cleaver even better.

20081223tommylan.JPGName: Tom Mylan
Location: Williamsburg
Occupation: Butcher, Marlow & Daughters
URL: tomthebutcher.blogspot.com

Marlow & Daughters is not your typical butcher shop. Tell us a little about what makes it different? We only get local, pastured animals and we buy the whole animal.

What will we find there that we are unlikely to find anywhere else in the city? Local pastured meat--most places get their meat from the Midwest or West Coast already cut up and in little cryovac bags--and all the pieces-parts that come with whole animals like kidneys, leaf lard, trotters, and liver. Also people behind the counter that can tell you what to do with them. We've had to figure out a lot of ways to cook a beef heart at the restaurants.

Do you sell anything else besides meat? We sell house-made charcuterie, local cheeses, pastured eggs, and pantry staples from olive oil to bulk spices plus local organic produce from Guy Jones.

Why is it important for people to become more informed about the origins of the meat they're eating? If you don't know where your meat comes from then you probably don't want to know where your meat comes from. The way animals are raised in the U.S. mass meat market is really terrifying.

How and where did you learn your butchering skills? I learned to break animals at Fleisher's Meats in Kingston, New York from Josh Applestone and Aaron Lenz. I spent a month and a half sleeping in Josh and Jessica's TV room with a huge Egyptian tortoise named Moe (who breathed heavy) and a Mastiff named BooBoo, to get up and cut meat with them all day.

Any tips for the home cook who wants to buy meat in larger pieces and break it down at home? Buy a small hand saw and a five-inch boning knife. That's all you really need to take most things apart.

You are also the in-house butcher for Marlow & Sons, Diner and Bonita. Does that leave you time for anything else besides meat? Well, I'm planning our wedding with my wife-to-be Annaliese Griffin for next summer. We've rented a big crazy house in southern Vermont that was built in 1835. It has 21 beds and a huge kitchen so we're just going to invite friends up to hang out, cook, and drink wine for a week before we get married in the backyard.

Also I'm writing a lot. I bought a tiny Netbook laptop and I've been writing wherever I can after work for my blogs and paying food writing gigs.

Where do you like to eat when you're not working? Tangra Masala for Indian-Chinese in Sunnyside, Queens.

Favorite meat dish in New York (not at your affiliated restaurants)? I always get the steak tartare at Roebling Tea Room. I know where their meat comes from and the fried chick peas really do it for me

Best pizza in the city? Bella Via in Long Island City. They have a coal fired brick pizza oven that is crazy hot and their crust is perfectly salty. Why can't anyone put some salt in their crust?

Favorite burger? A black-and-blue cheeseburger at Diner. Hands down the best in the city. I'd rather have a rare burger than a steak. Steaks are for stupid people.

Favorite bagel? Bergen Bagel on Bergen and Flatbush Avenue. Their bagels are huge and chewy and they have insane schmears.

Best late-night eats? Roti Boti in Jackson Heights. They're a cafeteria for Pakistani car service drivers and they are always open. It's some of the best food in the city for the least amount of money. I still need to go there to see a cricket game on the big screen.

Undiscovered gem? There is more awesome food in New York than I could possibly eat in a lifetime and most of it is not at a fine dining establishment. When I want something new I just get on the train and head to Queens or South Brooklyn and wander around until I find something good. It doesn't take long and it's way more fun than trying to get a reservation. That said, I like Zenkichi in Brooklyn which is reservation only.

Guilty pleasures? Bullet-proof Chinese delivery from Sunny Garden. Obviously not local or pastured but chock-full of MSG. I like them because they change their oil more than any of the other places so their egg rolls don't taste stale.

Food you won't eat? Offal of dubious origin. Kidneys, livers, etc. are literally piss and blood filters so I want to know how that animal was raised before I put a piece of its toxin-catcher in my mouth.

Most memorable New York City meal? The Sammy Sosa sandwich I bought with my first New York City paycheck. I was so broke after three weeks of moving here and not finding a job that I was getting by on a few hard-boiled eggs a day and expired baloney sandwiches. When I cashed that first check I went out and bought this crazy sandwich from a bodega down the block and ate it in the sunshine on the street with an ice cold Diet Pepsi. You can keep your bullshit wine list and your fried testicle tasting menu, that is the real shit for me.

Everyone has a go-to person they call for restaurant recommendations. Who's yours? Dennis Spina. I ask him where I should go and he tells me to go fuck myself. Not true. He has a sensitive palate and a low tolerance for bullshit.

What's the best recommendation he has given you? I never listen to him.

Marlow & Daughters

95 Broadway, Williamsburg NY 11211 (map)
718-388-5700

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