I swear! I know I am the only girl out there, but I detest Ukrops. I could go into all the philosophical reasons, like them squashing the ability for a really good store to come into Richmond, among many other things but I won’t. I dislike them for so many reasons and no one has the time to hear them all. I do, sadly however, LOVE their cake. I mean, love love. So I was in there the other day for my monthly fix of cake. The bakery is right near the meat section and I don’t know why but I went by the meat section. I really should know so much better than to do this. Other than the occasional ground pork, I do not buy meat at Ukrops because every time I have it has been wretched. Like an idiot, I peruse the meat section. I see these 2 veal shanks that… well frankly that just needed me to take them home and make them into something lovely. So I obliged. They were pretty…so pretty… and I am a sucker for pretty packaging. Why do you think I married my husband?
I seared them in butter and olive oil. I then added shallots and wine and mushrooms and I cooked them over a very low heat turning them every 10 minutes, keeping them moist , taking loving care of these little shanks. They simmered in liquid for a good long time. I added a touch of cream at the end. I plated it and then drizzled porcini and truffle oil over it. It was a thing of beauty. I had been looking forward to this meal for 2 days and I was sure it would not disappoint. I cut in and it was like sawing through leather with a butter knife. I tasted. All gristle. The two shanks were a pound and a half. I would tell you all said there was possibly ½ pound of meat that was edible between the two, but that is being extremely generous. It was terrible. The sauce was lovely, the meat seasoned well, just the meat itself was unlike anything I have ever put in my mouth.
Honestly I do not know what Ukrops does to their meat. I know it is all theirs now, but they might wish to consider having someone that knows what they are doing supply it again. I have had a filet from them, that again was pretty, but tough unlike I knew a filet could be. Same for a gourgous, thick pork chop, cooked barely to a full medium, tougher than nails.
There was a time I would tell you that what Ukrops brought to the table was unparalleled customer service however, that is not the case anymore. Long lines, few open registers and no one around on the floor to help when you can’t find things make for a frustrating experience. Sure, they still have those sweet guys that bring your grocery’s to your car, but I guess you have to buy a lot of groceries to get their service, because my 2-4 bags never bring that guy around, and with two kids and no cart returns in the parking lot, it makes for an unreasonable shopping experience.
So there is my rant on Ukrops. Thanks for bearing it, and I am sure, many Richmonders will disagree with me, because Ukrops, for reasons I do not understand, is beloved here. It is just one girls opinion. I would tell you if you want to support a local grocer, go to Ellwood’s. Again, just this gals two cents, because nothing this pretty should be so bad…. Anybody know of another great place to get cakes and cupcakes?