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MSP - The Strip Club

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I've been reading this blog for about a year and never felt the need to write until now. For the most part, I've just read, learned, and gratefully excepted the advice given. However, this past weekend I had an experience that differed so greatly with what I have read, that I thought I would share it. We, myself and three others, had dinner Sat. night at The Strip Club in St. Paul. I was very much looking forward to it but was dismally disappointed. Our reservations were for 8:00 and we were seated relatively promptly. Our server was quick to give us menus and our water glasses were filled. We ordered a round of drinks and I loved my Danny the Bucket (Lemoncello, Campari, lemonade). We ordered four small plates, two of which were excellent (Walleye Fritters, Foie Gras), one which was not quite what we expected (Poutine) and one which never showed up (Devil's Eggs) although it did make an apperance on our check. We enjoyed our drinks and small plates even though it was extremely warm, extremely noisy and extremely crowded on our balcony space. Also, it appeared that our server had forsaken us for a large party of 12 or so. We ordered another round of drinks when he came to take our entree orders around 9:00. Three drinks were delivered within minutes but he had forgotten mine. He brought it about 15 minutes later. Normally, I am not one to watch the clock but given the lateness of the hour and the size of the clock on the wall, it was hard not to do so. We had not yet received our meals by 10:00. At one point, the server flew by our table, acknowledged us and said the food would be out in two minutes. When it did arrive I was very unhappy. I had ordered the pork shoulder with black beans, sausage, chilies, kale, tomato & citrus. I was very surprised when I looked down and saw not black beans, but Cannellini beans which I do not care for. No mention of the substitution was made by the server. Also, there was one niblet of sausage (yes, I counted). Two of my friends enjoyed their meals but my husband was disappointed with the rib eye special, which was unfortunate as I am always on the hunt for an alternative to Manny's. When we finished our entrees, we had a wonderful desert. It was a large donut with a butterscotch syrup in the middle, covered in chocolate sauce. I have a sweet tooth and enjoyed it throughly, although I would have preferred not to have shared it! When all was said and done, it was 11:15 when we left and and we all worried about falling asleep on the ride home due to the extreme warmth of the room. Bottom line; the service seemed harried, the pace was French-like and the food was hit or miss.

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  1. So...after the smoke clears, will you give them another shot at getting everything right?

    1. Welcome leeniebeanie! Sorry to hear you had a bad experience at Strip Club. I think the place has great potential. But, I, alas, like you had a very disappointing experience. I think they must be great when they are on, and not so great on their off-days.

      I'd like to say (to RedTop) that I'll return to give them another shot, but, no, no probably I won't. At least, I haven't thus far. I do intend to try them for brunch, maybe.

      ~TDQ

      1. I am sorry you had a so-so experience. We have been to TSC four times and had fantastic experiences each time. It sounds like your server was preoccupied with the other party, which of course is unaccceptable, but luckily not the norm.

        Did you say anything to your server about the quality of your entree?

        Is your husband accustomed to grass-fed beef? It does taste quite different.

        1. Hello all - I may give them another shot (those walleye fritters were teriffic!) but it wouldn't be my first choice and it wouldn't be on a Saturday night. You all bring up some very good points (I am lovin' this site) especially regarding the difference in grass-fed beef. Thanks.

          1 Reply
          1. re: leeniebeanie

            I appreciated your review and hope you do try it again. The eggs are great-- definitely order them again (and hopefully you'll actually receive them next time)!

          2. Thanks for the review. I always appreciate these dissenting opinions on Chowhounds.

            If I had to guess, it sounds like your food and drinks were stuck behind the 12-top all night, which is regrettable, but no excuse for the service you received. We haven't been to Strip Club yet due to it's distance from us and the fact that I enjoy my beef (corn, silage, grain or grass-fed) unadulterated (except salt and pepper) and Strip Club appears to take Thousand Hills beef and put stuff on top of it (though I understand it can be ordered unmolested).

            I would hope you give it a second chance if you live in the area and, with luck, not draw the unenviable spot behind a big table in a restaurant with a small kitchen, and report back.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Foureyes137

              To be fair to the restaurant, YOU have the option of putting stuff on top of your thousand hills steak, but they do not, in advance, come pre-topped.

              In addition to the extremely well-crafted cocktails and thousand hills beef (with or without adornments) i think the small plates are generally delightful, as indicated in the above luke-warm review. Right right so its impossible to muck up foie, and the poutine wasn't what you expected (is it ever?) its really a shame that you didnt get your Devil's Eggs as they are incredibly delicious. Ive been very happy at the strip club with a couple of cocktails and a collection of small plates - and unlike some other small plate places around town it seems like they represent a pretty decent value (i want to say the eggs are about 3 dollars) im so tired of small plates having non-small prices, or if the prices are adjusted downard then they can go from small to micro plates - im lookin at you, solera.

              1. re: tex.s.toast

                Yes, agreed. The steak is on the menu and the "toppings" are ordered separately. I have only eaten the "unadulterated" steaks there -- never topped.

                www.domeats.com Check the menu for yourself.

                1. re: MSPD

                  I'm aware that the meats can come unadorned...hence my observation "though I understand it can be ordered unmolested", however...I find the option of putting blue cheese on a great piece of beef insulting. Yeah, I get it, I'm the weirdo...

                  1. re: Foureyes137

                    im definitely no purist, and really not a steak guy, but blue cheese on a steak strikes me as somewhat traditional.

                    bittman thinks so:http://bitten.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/...

                    I guess in terms of steakhouses and menu options better to offer and risk offending those who like their meat plane than not offer it and lose the business of people who want blue cheese, pistachio butter, basil or whatever else they will put on your steak for you.

                    Finally, for the record, i didnt mean to imply that you didnt know TSC offered their steaks sans-topping, but wanted to make sure that anyone referencing this thread did not get that impression.

            2. Just to be clear, one member of my party did order her NY Strip with blue cheese. It was thoughtfully put in a bowl and served on the side, not actually on the steak itself. She was able to determine how much or how little cheese she actually used. Also, it was a rather large portion. I am not sure if all the toppings are served that way or just the cheese. I do agree with Tex, however, that their strong suit may be the small plates. Not too mention the cocktails....

              1. Yikes. Reviews for this place (service, mainly) seem to be getting worse before they get better. I'm hesitant to try it any time but off hours.

                4 Replies
                1. re: BigE

                  We've always had great service and great food. I will admit that we are usually there at non-peak hours lately-- since the arrival of our baby, we don't tend to go out on Saturday nights much....

                  1. re: BigE

                    We had excellent service there again two weeks ago. The waiter was really great, and when he saw it was my birthday (when checking my ID, I didn't mention it), he brought over limoncellos for me, my husband, and himself to celebrate at the end of our dinner. I have only had great service there, including the chef (JD) stopping by my table 3 of the 4 times.

                    Do get a reservation, regardless of the day of week you will be dining.

                    1. re: LizzieB_MSP

                      Did I read that correctly ... the waitperson brought over a limoncello for himself in honor of your birthday? May be a topic for another board but - what on earth??!

                      1. re: KTFoley

                        That's not unheard of, particularly at a place that is trying to maintain a cheeky reputation.

                  2. It sounds to me like a place that got caught by surprise by a busy night in a generally down economy. If you cut your staffing and your ordering to keep the doors open and suddenly your business returns all at once you run out of stuff and the staff gets overwhelmed.

                    A lot of otherwise dependable restaurants are having off nights because of this. Your experience might not be representative of how it generally is (on the other hand it might be, I haven't eaten there so I have no opinion as far as that goes).

                    1. I ate there in April 09' and had the wildest experience ever at a restaurant. We called our server Woto and she blew our socks off with her poor service.

                      The food was fair and the cocktails were tiny.

                      1. jfood has been to TSC twice, both duringthe week, once as a single and once with 2 colleagues. And both times the food and service was exceptional.

                        December review:

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/578821

                        And he was back in February and ordered the steak without any toppings but with some onion rings.

                        So for all the people who experienced bad service or problem food, itis too bad, because when both hit on the same night TSC is a wonderful place to have a great steak.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: jfood

                          Does jfood ever go on Fri or Sat nights when they are most slammed?

                          ~TDQ

                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            Perhaps it was the absence of the space in between the words during and the in jfoods post that caught you off guard, TDQ, but it would appear that the first line of the post you replied to answers your question with a resounding: no.

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              jfood usually flies home to CT on thursday

                              1. re: jfood

                                We ate there on a Thursday night at the 6:15 p.m. seating. It wasn't packed. Woto was just in a mood that set the tone for the entire evening. Desert was fantastic the highlight of the evening was watching the door close behind us as we left the establishment.