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What is it with Massachusetts and steak tips?

I grew up in Connecticut but didn't eat out much there and left to live in Massachusetts when I was about 21 years old. So I can't vouch for this myself but................are steak tips more a Massachusetts thing than other NE states?

My brother has lived in CT all his life and never had steak tips til I took him to New Bridge. And recently my sister-in-law brought her nephew up for a Celtics game and he remembered the steak tips he'd eat on his last visit-2 years ago! When I asked her about it she was hard pressed to think of many/any CT places she knew of that had tips on the menu.

What are your favorite places for tips in the Boston area? I like them marinated and a little charred.

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NewBridge Cafe
650 Washington Ave, Chelsea, MA 02150

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  1. Maybe it's a frugal swamp-Yankee thing: flap meat is pretty cheap and responds well to marinating and grilling over high heat, the kind of preparation that many tavern kitchens are equipped to do.

    Some favorites: New Bridge (still fine after all these years), Sadie's Saloon, Sonny Noto's in Eastie, The Paddock, J.J. Foley's Cafe (South End), Doyle's Cafe, The Stockyard (actually sirloin there), Rincon Limeno (lomo saltado, though that also might be a nicer cut of steak in there).

    Any place you see doing bavette steak is using the same cut: Ten Tables Cambridge, Harvest, and the Blue Room serve it periodically, often in something that looks like a steak frites.

    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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    Rincon Limeno
    409 Chelsea St, Boston, MA 02128

    J.J. Foley's
    117 E Berkeley St, Boston, MA 02118

    Ten Tables
    5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

    NewBridge Cafe
    650 Washington Ave, Chelsea, MA 02150

    Sonny Noto's Restaurant
    22 Central Sq, Boston, MA 02128

    The Blue Room
    Hampshire and Portland streets, Cambridge, MA 02139

    2 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Newbridge is great. Also, went to Sadies in Waltham on Sunday and it is as good as ever.

      1. re: MC Slim JB

        What is it with the other parts of the country without them? Goat Hill Grille in Beverly used to have great tips...not the same now.

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        Goat Hill Grille
        90 Rantoul St, Beverly, MA 01915

      2. I know that they are called tri-tips in other parts of the country, but they do seem to be more of a Massachusetts thing (along with bar pizza).

        MC mentioned most of my favorites. I'll add a few others--Salem Wood Cafe in Malden, Cronin's in Quincy, Strip T's in Watertown, and Barefoot Bob's in Hull (the latter of which has the added benefits of ocean breezes from across the street, an always-interesting mix of brawny bikers, wealthy suburbanites, and slacker dudes from the beach across the street, and a cheesy outdoor tiki bar).

        5 Replies
        1. re: hiddenboston

          Actually, tri-tip and flap are different cuts: tri-tip is from the bottom sirloin, flap from the short loin near the flank. But I'm not certain that every local place that serves steak tips is using flap: it's just pretty common to do so around here.

          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            I've become a big fan of bavette, flap steak or tips. Most markets don't display the whole steak (seen it in an Asian mkt) but sell it as steak tips. If you want the whole piece, about 4 lbs, I've had the butcher sell it to me uncut and I can cut the bavette steaks myself or cook as a toast or steak tips. Bought at Shaw's in Back Bay and Market Basket at Somerville...really tasty cut and takes well to marinades...soy ginger or a tomato based bbq sauce chars nicely. I prefer rare but anything less done than Med keeps a good texture

          2. re: hiddenboston

            I grew up in upstate NY and we knew what a bar pizza was - we called them bar pies.

            Didn't hear of steak tips until I moved to the Boston area though. ALso never heard of bonless wings, toasted subs, or bulky rolls....and in NY, chowder sometimes was made with tomatoes. :-o

            1. re: LStaff

              The Ninety Nine, the locally-headquartered casual dining chain, claims to have invented the boneless Buffalo "wing". Many more restaurants are offering them now that demand for real chicken wings has driven their price higher than boneless breast meat.

              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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              Ninety Nine Restaurant
              10 Main St, Stoneham, MA 02180

            2. re: hiddenboston

              There is definitely a linguistic element at work - in NYC this cut is apparently called bohemian steak: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/411180

            3. I still love the tips at Newbridge (just search the name on this board). The steak has great flavor and just enough char to it.

              1. Champion's Pub on Foster St. in Peabody has great tips and really good onion rings.

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                Champion's Pub
                114 Foster St, Peabody, MA 01960

                1. I like the steak tips at Brody's Pub in Peabody. When I want to stay home and grill up some tips on the barbie you can't find much better than the Bourbon tips @ MB. Who knew? :)

                  1. New Bridge is the gold standard for many, including me. Their salad dressing is also excellent. Throw in a half dozen cherrystones as an app and I'm in heaven.

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                    NewBridge Cafe
                    650 Washington Ave, Chelsea, MA 02150

                    1. If you are at the Newbridge for their steak tips, try the combo with pork tips, nice and tender to compliment the flavor of the steak tips.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: chuck s

                        Floramo's in Chelsea is also good, & they have a larger menu & is more of a dinner place than a bar room. They also used to own a bar across the street (drawing a blank on the name now) that used to be the New Bridge's biggest competiton in the "tip wars" in Chelsea but they sold it a while back.

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                        Floramo's
                        213 Everett Ave, Chelsea, MA 02150

                        1. re: southie_chick

                          You're talking about The Club House. When I lived in Chelsea that was my brother and sister-in-law's favorite place to eat when they visited. They marinated the flavor right out of their steak tips if you ask me!

                        2. re: chuck s

                          Have you had the combo, steak and lamb tips? Superb!!

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                          NewBridge Cafe
                          650 Washington Ave, Chelsea, MA 02150

                        3. I came across this post because someone on the Washington DC Board was looking for steak tips in DC (they don't exist!).

                          I grew up North of Boston and steak tips were on just about every single bar/pub/grill menu. I ate them all the time growing, preferably with french fries or mashed potatoes.

                          My favorite version of the dish was at Brodies in Peabody. I don't even know if Brodies still exists but their steak tips were awesome. They also had a really great house salad dressing.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Elyssa

                            Brodie's is till there and their tips are very good but i think Champion's (on Foster St) has them beat.

                          2. Wow! Haven't eaten steak tips since Callahan's on Needham St. In Newton closed (or was it Highland ave in Needham). They were my favorite, with their special blue cheese dipping sauce. Those were the days. Now it's turkey tips for me. I digress.
                            Enjoy,
                            CocoDan

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: CocoDan

                              Needham Street in Newton it was. How they went out of business with the crowds I used to see, I'll never know.

                              Halfway Cafe has decent tips, at a good price. Turkey as well.

                            2. I'm a Peabody girl and I have to agree with Steve, Champions has Brodie's beat with the tips, but Brodie's has great chicken wings.

                              1. While we're (back) on the subject - what cut of meat do you think should be used for steak tips? When I buy them to make at home I get what is sold around here as sirloin tips. But I had the disconcerting experience of buying "steak tips" at the new Meat House in Brookline last week, only to find when I got home that about 2/3 of them were flat cuts like flank or skirt, and 1/3 was large cubes that could have been round or chuck.

                                For the record - the flat cuts grilled up tender and delicious, the cubes were tougher and not so flavorful.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: BobB

                                  I'm pretty sure Costco labels this cut as "flap steak", IMHO Costco is the only place to buy tips.

                                    1. re: jgg13

                                      Is what is sold in supermarkets as steak tips flap meat, and is it cut into strips in house? I love the flavor (especially after marinatng) and texture, but I'd prefer a wider piece that I can slice up for a steak sandwich. I used to use flank steak for this but never find any for less than $6.99 lb.

                                      1. re: drb

                                        drb,

                                        All you need to do is introduce yourself to the supermarket butcher on duty. Whenever meat is on sale, you can request special cuts to your preference in size or portion. I will request larger cuts or whole pieces of meat, e.g. chuck eye roasts, top butt sirloin, tri-tip or top blade roasts/flat iron steak. You can seam the meat portions out quite easily. for flap meat cuts, ask for the pieces whole or not cut up or sliced in any way.

                                        1. re: drb

                                          As you can see with BobB's post, what gets sold in supermarkets can vary ... flap meat has a particular look to it, so you can pretty much identify if that's what it is or not. Also, since you mentioned price - unsurprisingly it tends to be the more pricey steak tips in stores that I see which turn out to actually be flap.

                                          1. re: jgg13

                                            Speaking of regional differences, the Flap meat that is used for steak tips here in MA is also used for Mexican "Carne Asada" or "Ranchera" found throughout Southern California where I grew up. However, they cut the meat much differently for that preparation. Instead of thick cross-wise strips, they do a thin horizontal slice across the whole section. This yields a thin, wide stretch of meat that looks almost like beef-jerky when cooked. What's so frustrating is that it is nearly impossible to find it cut this way here in MA. I think I found it cut that way at Mckinnon's in Malden some time ago but never since. Even though it is essentially the same cut of meat, I prefer the thin slices of the Mexican style because they really take the marinade well and cook nearly instantly on the grill. They pre-marinate the meat in the local carnicerias and Mexican grocery stores and when you order it they place it in a plastic bag, pour additional marinade on top along with orange slices and green onion, and tie the bag off for travel. The flavor is a very intense citrus and garlic blend with plenty of cumin and Mexican oregano. I've tried making it myself with Costco Flap but its not the same....

                                            1. re: supag32

                                              I don't shop at Costco..nothing against them but geographically impractical.. Do they sell the whole steak or is it precut into "tips?" If the whole steak, just cut it in the way you prefer. If it's already cut, does Costco cut on site?

                                              Otherwise do what fourunder says and what I said back in April about asking a butcher to give you a larger steak....again, cut as desired, and any good Mexican cookbook can give you marinade ideas.