Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Ukrops Rant

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?

14 comments:

Chef E said...

Oh, I have one store in particular I do not buy any meat products, for that very same reason...never has been good, so you go ahead and rant all you want...when we work hard on a dish we are dreaming about and it turns out just down right inedible, well it stinks, so feeling your pain here :)

5 Star Foodie said...

Sorry about your experience with this store. It would be so inconvenient to go to several stores to get your ingredients. Hey, maybe they'll open a Wegmans in your area soon?

clinzy said...

You're not alone in your Ukrop's ranting!! I'm no chef, but I still don't like shopping there. Oh, and in response to 5 Star Foodie - I don't think Richmond will ever get a Wegmans, because the Wegmans family is all buddy-buddy with the Ukrops family, so they don't want to have a turf war. That's the story I heard, anyway.

anne said...

I'm with you -- I don't do my grocery shopping at Ukrop's (can't afford to) but I stop just short of making up fake birthdays for myself to find an excuse for Ukrop's cake. Mmmmmmm cake.....

Anonymous said...

Ukrops can't even make a decent biscuit.

Paul H said...

I lost my local Ukrops on Grace Street last year and I miss it terribly. Now I either go to Kroger (yuck!) or travel two or three miles to another store. I liked my store. The people were always friendly, the store was small and manageable and the lines were short.

I saved money by buying the store brand and showing up for the early morning discounts. Now VCU owns the property and it will probably turn into a combo parking garage/dorm.

Mommy Gourmet said...

Paul,

I am sorry. I know the individual managers of a store can make all the difference. I still stand my total dislike for them, but I AM sorry you don't have the store you love.

Whine Me said...

i haven't had much luck with ukrops lately myself. i have decided that for meat i am heading to tom leonard's, vegetables - community farmers market (sometimes you can get some great meats there as well) and dry goods at trader joe's. thanks for posting this.

Paul H said...

It wasn't so much that I loved the store as loved having a choice of stores. I find Kroger as unpleasant as you do Ukrops.

Mommy Gourmet said...

I feel you on the choice of stores, nothing like being stuck going to a store you hate, or having to drive 15 minutes to get to one you don't mind.

debracarroll@comcast.net said...

My comment has more to do with personnel. I went to the Laburnum Avenue store recently, only to spend 10 minutes longer than necessary in line waiting for the cashier to chit-chat with the customer in front of me...a fellow cashier, still in uniform. Additionally, she was trying to use coupons for items she didn't buy, etc. Despite my sighs of disgust, the social-hour continued without a 2nd thought to the other customers in line. Bloom's has recently opened in my area, and is a much better alternative to this particular Ukrops and Food Lion.

Kate McHugh said...

I COMPLETELY agree w you -- I have never been a big Ukrop's fan but have now relented a bit now that Trader Joe's has been 'let into the market' -- the rumor I heard was that Ukrops is thinking of selling to Harris Teeter -- that they have a gentleman's agreement that Ukrop's won't go invade the NOR/VB area if HT won't come up to Wmsbg north... and now that Mr Ukrop's is getting up there in age he's thinking of selling to HT...

Anonymous said...

Well, unless you live under a rock, you will all have heard by now that Ukrop's has sold to a Dutch company that will bring Martin's stores to the area. Thus, opening the way for other stores to come to the area. Have you ever tried Trader Joes or Whole Foods?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a filet of karma to me. Veal is cruell.