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Best Steak Tartare and Best Steak Frites?

lekkereten Dec 2, 2009 04:57 PM

Where to have the best steak tartare and best steak frites in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville or Arlington?

  1. d
    DoubleMan Dec 7, 2009 07:58 PM

    I miss the Chez Henri tartare.

    Big portion, good price, and the drizzle of chili oil was just perfect.

    1. m
      minneapolite Dec 7, 2009 05:41 PM

      The Washington Square Tavern has a wonderful steak frites and i'm rather surpirsed not to see it mentioned. I'll go to the bar alone from time to time when i need to treat myself. Great spot, overall.
      per their menu: "House Dry Aged Sirloin, Broccolini, Truffled Fries & Demi Glaze * $23"

      1. BobB Dec 7, 2009 10:42 AM

        I had the absolute best (tenderest, tastiest, perfectly cooked crisp outside, red inside) hangar steak I've ever eaten in my life a few nights ago at Metropolis in the South End. It came with truffled mashed potatoes, not frites, but I'm writing about it here anyway because it was just THAT good!

        1. k
          kstone129 Dec 7, 2009 10:40 AM

          I'm addicted to the steak frites at Kingston Station. They use prime skirt, with a tasty but not overpowering herb butter on top. Medium-rare, and it's fantastic. Their fries are usually perfect - seasoned just right. Extra tasty when they've soaked up some of the juices from the steak. Love the aioli served with it. Love to wash this meal down with either the rye & ginger manhattan, or a cold Miller High Life.

          1. g
            gyppielou Dec 7, 2009 06:49 AM

            the ONLY steak frites


            1. g
              Gabatta Dec 6, 2009 04:05 PM

              Tried the steak frites at Acquitaine recently. The beef was rather tough and was woefully underseasoned. The fries were decent, but not good enough to make up for the steak. I left more than half of the steak on the plate (and I will eat just about any beef). Couple that with obnoxious front of the house service (a topic for another thread), and we won't be back soon (if ever).

              I'd skip this if in search of the best.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Gabatta
                Jolyon Helterman Dec 6, 2009 06:10 PM

                I like the steak tartare at Gaslight (I think the roasted mushrooms and aioli complement the good beef taste rather nicely), Grill 23, and Brasserie Jo (about the only thing I like there...). Agree that the Butcher Shop one is a tad over-vinegared.

                Kitfo, even so-so kitfo, is always tasty.

                1. re: Jolyon Helterman
                  bear Dec 7, 2009 02:44 AM

                  I'm not steak tartare expert, but I also really enjoyed the Gaslight version.

                2. re: Gabatta
                  gyppielou Dec 7, 2009 03:31 PM

                  I missed this earlier. Sorry you didn't have a great experience. Was it cooked med rare? Any higher and that cut of beef will suffer. What wow's me about aquitaine is the black truffled sauce, the dressed greens, the frites together usually make an unforgettable dish.

                  1. re: gyppielou
                    Gabatta Dec 7, 2009 06:42 PM

                    It was ordered MR, but probably came out a bit past that which was probably part of the issue. However, the particular piece of meat was rather tough and not very flavorful. The truffle sauce was too weak to bring the flavor back in unfortunately.

                3. b
                  BackBayGirl Dec 6, 2009 10:59 AM

                  Brasserie Jo is great for steak frites.

                  1. t
                    thesmoker8 Dec 5, 2009 11:56 AM

                    I'm with scubajane. Was at the butcher shop a couple weeks ago and the tartare was pretty amazing. their terrines were really great as well.

                    1. MC Slim JB Dec 3, 2009 07:05 AM

                      Agree with a lot of the steak frites recs already. Spot-on about the SDLT frites. Kingston Station does a surprisingly good one, a deal on its late-night menu. I too recommend the prime skirt steak frites at Grill 23, at $29 a relative bargain there. Long time since I had it, but Pierrot did a fine one once.

                      I'm not wild about the Barbara Lynch Gruppo (No 9* / Butcher Shop / Drink) tartares, as I think they're overseasoned: ditto ESK's version. Last I tried it, the one at Gaslight was really bad, trying hard to disguise any raw-beef flavor under a thick layer of duxelles. My fave is probably the most traditional, at Brasserie Jo. Would throw in the kitfo at Addis Red Sea.

                      * not currently on the No. 9 menu


                      4 Replies
                      1. re: MC Slim JB
                        lipoff Dec 3, 2009 08:17 AM

                        My favorite steak tartare is also at Brasserie Jo.

                        I also agree that the best yook hwe I've had around here is at Wu Chon House.

                        I really like the Franklin Cafe, but I had terrible steak frites there one time last year, so I would not recommend them for that. I haven't had the steak frites at Grill 23, but given the generally high quality of their meat, that seems like a good suggestion.

                        1. re: lipoff
                          MC Slim JB Dec 3, 2009 08:20 AM

                          That reminds me: I recently had a steak tartare at the Franklin that was a once-in-a-blue-moon (I was going to say very rare) disappointment there.


                        2. re: MC Slim JB
                          Niblet Dec 3, 2009 08:17 AM

                          Agree completely about steak frites at Kingston Station.

                          But I disagree with you on the tartare. Last week I had a wicked craving for steak tartare, and stopped into Brasserie Jo. I just really don't like the ground texture and didn't even finish half of it. Plus I miss the way they used to put the yolk on top. I wish I'd gone instead to Butcher Shop or any other Barbara Lynch place as it's chopped not ground, and seems to have more flavor than the Brassier Jo version.

                          1. re: Niblet
                            MC Slim JB Dec 3, 2009 08:23 AM

                            I agree that the hand-cut texture is superior: always makes me think of Restaurant Zinc, the long-gone place (now Stix or 33, I forget which) that did the first hand-cut version I ever sampled in Boston.


                        3. l
                          lekkereten Dec 3, 2009 08:00 AM

                          I searched all over the board before I posted and did not get any results for the topic you just posted. Thanks for that, and more importantly how did you retrieve it? Is there an archive you need to search separately, seeing this topic is over a year old? Thanks.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: lekkereten
                            Allstonian Dec 3, 2009 09:08 AM

                            After you do a board search which gives results for the past 12 months, you can refine those search parameters - there are several drop-down boxes and so on. One of those is "Date," and you can then adjust your search to "past 5 years."

                            That said, if your query doesn't give results within the last year, my feeling is that it's entirely fair to ask again on the board - restaurants open, close, go downhill, improve dramatically, and so on.

                            1. re: lekkereten
                              sophie fox Dec 3, 2009 09:24 AM

                              Welcome, lekkereten. It's sort of a rite of passage, I guess, to be lectured about seacrh. Search is fine if it works, but if I don't see a result from the last year, I always ask again. It could be a subject well worth bumping.

                              There are NO dumb questions! :-)

                              1. re: sophie fox
                                lekkereten Dec 3, 2009 09:56 AM

                                Thanks for the search tips and welcome words. :) I appreciate all the fresh news, esp on steak tartare - have an insane craving for that right now.

                                1. re: lekkereten
                                  Taralli Dec 3, 2009 10:17 AM

                                  Grill 23:

                                  Steak tartare* $15 w/bacon & eggs, molly’s potato bread toasts

                            2. barleywino Dec 3, 2009 03:07 AM

                              try also the beef carpaccio at Scampo if you like raw beef, and the Kobe at O-ya (no frites though)

                              1. galangatron Dec 2, 2009 08:02 PM

                                i like the yuk hwe (korean beef tartare) at wuchon house in somerville. the kitfo (ethiopian beef tartare) at habesha is really good too but it's in malden

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: galangatron
                                  mgcmonkey Dec 2, 2009 08:34 PM

                                  Steak Frites - Aquitaine, Brasserie Jo, Gaslight and Sel De La Terre all have good versions. Edge to Sel De La Terre cause of their fries.

                                2. BarmyFotheringayPhipps Dec 2, 2009 07:24 PM

                                  I almost always get the steak frites at Brasserie Jo, alternating between the Parisian style with mustard butter and the version with roquefort butter. They have steak tartare as well, but I've not had it. The frites there are just outstanding.

                                  I had a very nice steak frites at Beacon Hill Bistro a while back, but I've only been there the one time, so I don't know that I would call it the "best" in the area.

                                  1. s
                                    scubajane Dec 2, 2009 05:02 PM

                                    best steak tartare = butcher shop in the south end

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: scubajane
                                      ac106 Dec 2, 2009 06:29 PM

                                      best steak tartare = Central Kitchen

                                      1. re: ac106
                                        hcbk0702 Dec 2, 2009 07:31 PM

                                        Actually, the best steak tartare is at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon (pricey though). Haven't tried anything notable in the Boston area.

                                        For steak frites, perhaps try Grill 23 ($29)? They use prime skirt steaks and it's unlikely you'll find many places using better beef for their steak frites. Not really steak frites, but Craigie on Main has a grass-fed hangar steak à la poêle, with roasted bone marrow, corned beef cheek, creamed spinich, and sweet potato fries ($36). Very pricey, but it does sound appealing.

                                        1. re: hcbk0702
                                          ac106 Dec 3, 2009 02:39 AM

                                          Well, when lekkereten posts on the NYC board, that will be a very helpful rec but since this is the Boston board....

                                        2. re: ac106
                                          mgcmonkey Dec 3, 2009 10:41 AM

                                          agree that the central kitchen version was pretty good. haven't had it recently though..not sure if anything has changed. iirc the dish came with a delicious quail egg.

                                          1. re: mgcmonkey
                                            lekkereten Dec 4, 2009 11:07 AM

                                            Reporting back: Decided to go to Central Kitchen last night. Used to frequent it when it first opened, but I had not been there much in recent years. To my delight both steak tartare and steak frites were on the menu. We shared these after a dozen oysters. Good quantity of food for two.
                                            - Mignonette was too spicy, would have overwhelmed the oysters. Prefer oyster as is anyway, so had it on bread. CK used to do a blood orange/champagne (iirc?) mignonette in their early days. It was amazing, would like to see that back.
                                            - Steak tartare was hand-cut. Agree with MC Slim JB on that point. Had a quail egg on top, cute, but should have been yolk only, no egg white please. We thought tartare was too cold and that the flavors would have come out much better if less chilled. I liked it though.
                                            - Steak frites. Frites were average, steak was good cut of meat, nicely grilled. Liked the garlic butter and watercress salad.
                                            Not the best steak tartare and steak frites I have had, but both were quite tasty. Will go back to CK, if not to try their Foie Gras Toad-in-a-hole. That sounded very intruiging!

                                            1. re: lekkereten
                                              mgcmonkey Dec 4, 2009 01:48 PM

                                              never really liked ck's steak frites. i remember the fries were pretty bad the couple times i had it. glad to hear the steak tartare still comes with a quail egg.

                                        3. re: scubajane
                                          fmcoxe6188 Dec 3, 2009 05:04 AM

                                          Similar Im sure- but the steak tartare at Drink is pretty incredible

                                          1. re: fmcoxe6188
                                            rlh Dec 3, 2009 02:08 PM

                                            True, it's mighty tasty at Drink, but it is also pretty incredibly small for $12 or so as well, even if yo don't share one of the three bites.

                                            1. re: rlh
                                              rlh Dec 9, 2009 10:12 AM

                                              Just had the Eastern Standard rendition last night - it's great - more classic style (and not at all overseasoned), much larger and with decent shoestring fries for the same price as the three bites at Drink - my new go-to dish at Eastern Standard.

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