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Salem Wood Cafe, Malden -- Was I Dreaming, or Were Those Steak Tips...

hiddenboston Nov 2, 2006 02:24 AM

...as good as (gulp) those at the New Bridge Cafe? Indeed, we went to the Salem Wood Cafe tonight and could not believe how good the tips were there. Tender chunks of steak with little gristle, marinated in a slightly sweet sauce, and cooked just right.

The other food was good there, too, including a special they had tonight--a type of lasagna that had sheets of pasta rolled into cylinders (help me out here! Is it called tortelli or something like that?), a baked sweet potato, decent rolls of bread, good salads, etc.

Those steak tips, though....man, were they ever good...

  1. hiddenboston Jan 14, 2007 03:32 PM

    As much as I love the Salem Wood Cafe, I have to say that New Bridge Cafe still does it for me as far as steak tips are concerned. We went to the New Bridge Cafe last night and the steak tips were the best, period. And the turkey tips were at least as good. But the tips at Salem Wood aren't too far back...

    1. h
      hondo883 Jan 14, 2007 01:18 AM

      After all the great hype I've heard about the Salem Wood, I and 5 friends went to try it on Wednesday night. Upon walking in the door to an empty dining room at 8:30, we were told by the waitress that the kitchen was closed, and that next time we come we should call ahead to see if they are serving food. I was quite disappointed and dismayed by this revelation. It doesn't seem like a good way to run a restaurant. Still want to try the tips though.

      1 Reply
      1. re: hondo883
        macca Jan 14, 2007 10:26 AM

        Yeah- there were 8 of us who went for lunch, and the waitress told us that we should call with such a big party. It was weird, as there were only a few people there. It was open, however, and the tips were fabulous.

      2. b
        bak Jan 13, 2007 05:08 PM

        love their food, and they use to do take out and you could eat at the bar, but not now. Every Wednesday in the Hearld they have a coupon for % off your bill, alcohol and lobster not included, use this a few times. Stopped going because of the no take-out and no eating at the bar. Hope they change that soon

        1. b
          Big Momma Jan 13, 2007 04:27 PM

          We've eaten at the Salem Wood twice in the past month and the meals have been very good and so reasonably priced I never can believe it when I get the check.

          The first time we went I had the surf and turf and while the steak tips were good, they weren't the best I've had. The baked stuffed shrimp that came with it were delicious. Last night I had the shrimp scampi and it was very good; the pasta was perfectly al dente. I can't say I've had fresher shrimp anywhere.

          My son is a chicken tender "connoisseur" and said they were the best he's ever had, and ordered them both times we went.

          Both times we went my daughter had the chicken and broccoli with garlic and olive oil on the homemade fusilli. It was delicious. My husband has had both the seafood alfredo and the tortelli? (lasagna type dish) and they were great.

          As appetizers we had the crab cakes last night and they were very good with a nice red pepper sauce. My daughter ordered the garlic rolls and she said they were great. My son is also a fan of mozzarella sticks with marinara and he loves them. I have to say here that the Salem Wood's red sauce is the best I've had in any restaurant, including the few places I've tried in the North End. I am well-versed in Italian cooking and red sauce is something that makes or breaks it for me as far as my judging an Italian kitchen's abilities. My husband is native Italian and he loves the food there. That's rare for him.

          Each dish comes with a very fresh salad.

          The rolls are served hot and the service is very down-home and unpretentious. Eating at the Salem Wood is like going to your aunt's house for dinner.

          It's not just the quality of the food either, but the quantity. We brought most of our food home because it's just so much. There's nothing like nice leftovers for lunch!

          We left at 8:30 and they were turning patrons away at the door in order to maintain a level of service because the waits were getting long. The kitchen was backed up and the hostess and server kept apologizing for the waits. It was worth the wait.

          We spoke with the owner last night about take-out and she explained that the kitchen is tiny and that her son and daughter-in-law are the only chefs and that aside from the dishwasher they can't fit any more personnel in the kitchen, so there's no plan for take-out service at this time, though if you call at a slow time they'll try to accomodate you. It's amazing to me that two people in the kitchen can serve as many tables that they do and maintain the level of quality food they put out.

          1. Bob Dobalina Nov 2, 2006 01:01 PM

            I think you meant Tortiglione?

            Tortelli was a fictional bar wench.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Bob Dobalina
              hiddenboston Nov 2, 2006 01:14 PM

              Hee hee! My bad. No, it wasn't Tortiglione, at least that's not what they called it. I guess it's sometimes called lasagna rollatini, but they called it something like torelli or tortelli or something like that. It was good, though! Four pieces of baked, rolled lasagna stuffed with various cheeses in a good red sauce.

              1. re: hiddenboston
                b
                buffet king Nov 2, 2006 02:02 PM

                Does the Salem Wood Cafe have take-out available? I read on line that they stopped doing take-out to provide better service to their dining customers. What side order came with the steak tips?

                1. re: buffet king
                  hiddenboston Nov 2, 2006 02:13 PM

                  My guess is that they don't do takeout. I looked for a takeout menu and couldn't find one, and I didn't see anyone coming in there to pick up orders.

                  The steak tips came with a garden salad as well as a baked sweet potato, which was really good.

            2. hiddenboston Nov 2, 2006 12:37 PM

              I've had some outstanding steak tips over the past few years (Cronin's in Quincy, Joe Sent Me and the Druid in Cambridge, Strip Ts in Watertown, Donovan's in Dorchester), but the tips at Salme Wood were probably better than all those. I may need to hit Salem Wood and New Bridge on the same day, just to see how close in quality they are.

              1. macca Nov 2, 2006 10:17 AM

                Glad you enjoyed it. I was surprised at how good they were, too. I haven't been to the New Bridge in a few years, but will have to go soon to do a tadte test!!
                Did't have sweet potatoes ready at lunchtime, so we went with the fries. I ordered my fries well done, and they were nice and crispy. Next time I am trying the lamp tips.

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