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Check, Please!

Readers give our food critic something to chew on.

Q:My husband and I would like to suggest two new categories for your Best of Denver list. We have been searching for the best butcher and the best fish market in town, and we thought you could help.

A:The Best of Denver 2000 just came out, but I’d hate for your surf-and-turf shopping to be dependent on next year’s edition. So in the meantime, my favorite in both of these categories happens to be one place: Sir Loin Meat Shoppe in Aurora (1910 South Havana Street, 303-751-0707).

Longtime Denverites may remember the first Sir Loin, which the Schultz family opened in 1967 at the corner of 11th Avenue and Ogden Street in Capitol Hill. In 1973 they moved the shop to its current location, and last year Michael and Linda Pissare bought the place. I’ve been going to this excellent butcher and fish market for five years, and I didn’t notice any change in the quality of meat or seafood after the Pissares bought it — hell, I didn’t even know they’d bought it until very recently.

Like any good butcher, Sir Loin gets it meats from a variety of sources, depending on the price and cut. Since beef prices fluctuate on a daily basis, the trick is keeping the prices consistent for the customer, and I’d say Sir Loin does an excellent job at that. Most of the beef comes from Iowa and Nebraska, with some from Colorado and some from Washington. Sir Loin carries prime as well as choice, and usually has buffalo, elk and venison on hand, too.

The Pissares now get their live lobsters straight from Nova Scotia, which cuts down on the time the critters spend in a holding tank. And, of course, there’s all the usual seafood, tip-top fresh and beautifully displayed, as well as live crabs and sushi-grade fish when the price is right. And they can special-order just about anything.

Add to all of that a very congenial, knowledgeable and accommodating bunch of butchers (you want the guys walking around with knives sticking out of their belts to be fairly friendly), and Sir Loin becomes the city’s prime spot for one-stop shopping.

 
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