Short Rib Shortage?

Much as I love Maine, I don’t ordinarily find many insights into New York City restaurant trends there. But this weekend, when I was eating at Francine Bistro, an excellent little restaurant in Camden owned by my friend Brian Hill, I heard some news. Namely, that short ribs might start disappearing from U.S. restaurant menus. Why? Brian’s friend Jim Kinnealey, whose Kinnealey Meats supplies most of Boston's great restaurants, reported that the lifting of the U.S. beef-export ban has allowed cooks in Korea to buy up all his short ribs (they use it for bulkogi, one of their national dishes). “When a big player – and Korea is obviously a big one – comes on the market, you know there will be changes,” says Kinnealey, who watched his short rib prices rise almost 50 percent in the last three months.

So far, it remains to be seen whether we’ll actually see less of the omnipresent short ribs—a quick search of New York City menu pages indicates that there are still plenty of them around, even on the hottest days of summer. Still, when something that was as ridiculously cheap as short ribs gets much pricier, it seems like it won’t be long before a new, delicious, rich and inexpensive meat cut takes its place.

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