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The Strip Club

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My first visit tonight prior to a Wild game (could not get into Meritage). The service was great overall and I really liked the atmosphere. I started with a Ceasar saladd which was really nice. They lightly grill the lettuce before they serve it. The dressing was outstanding. I then had the New York strip. The meat was said to be grass fed. I found it to be very lean and too chewy. It was cooked perfectly meduim rare but it was very hard to chew. We also tried the seafood special which was scallops stuffed with crab meat in a spicy sauce. Great dish. Very rich but enjoyable. Would I go back? Tough to say. Everything was great except for the one key thing, the meat.

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Meritage
410 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102

The Strip Club
378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

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  1. I've had similar experiences with grass-fed beef from heritage breeds. The cattle exercise more so they have hard bodies. It seems like this translates directly into tougher meat. A few years ago I tried skirt steak from a grass-fed Scottish highland breed and it was like beef-flavored chewing gum.

    Maybe a rib-eye or hamburger is still good when it's grass fed, but NY strip is not the most tender cut even from corn-fed feedlot cows.

    Maybe they can do something to improve the texture by dry-aging the beef. Maybe they just used a poor grade. I suspect there is big variance from one animal to the next even when they're the same breed raised by the same rancher.

    11 Replies
    1. re: JimGrinsfelder

      I enjoy the chewier texture of a grass fed steak. It is definitely a different mouthfeel than a corn fed steak... but I find the flavor to be so much better, much "beefier."

      I'm sure there are different things that can be done to make the texture more reminiscent of a cornfed cow, but for me, it's just a matter of understanding that this is the way beef is supposed to be, that the cornfed beef is essentially artificial.... it's like the difference between high fructose corn syrup and sugar.... But that's just me-- I only eat grassfed beef.

      1. re: mtullius

        "this is the way beef is supposed to be...if humans weren't raising it as food"

        Fixed.

        The fact is that cattle, as we know it, exist on this planet solely to provide humans with their products so they are supposed to eat whatever makes them the way we want them. I mean the things can barely reproduce without us anymore. Sure...when bison grazed in Meso-America, it was likely rare that they happened upon a field of corn, but the fact remains, what a cow is "supposed" to eat is entirely a product of human need.

        If humans want more milk and more tender beef, they're going to feed the animal high-calorie feed like corn. Eating grass-fed beef may make you feel better about your environmental impact, but if we really cared, we'd stop eating beef.

        That said, I purchase grass-fed beef exclusively for things like stew meat, ground beef and some roasts out of my environmental guilt. It has a good grassy "barnyardy" flavor and imparts that to it's milk as well (great cheese). It makes lousy steaks however. I appreciate Strip Club's (and Red Stag's) commitment...but in the end I'm with Jim and Latinpig...if I'm going to go to the expense (environmental, monetary and healthwise) I'd rather the steak be fatty, tender and delicious. Good food and cocktails otherwise though.

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        The Strip Club
        378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

        1. re: Foureyes137

          I disagree on several points, but to keep the focus solely on the food side of things, I disagree that grassfed steaks are lousy. You're obviously entitled to believe that they are. My point was that they may take some getting used to... For me, the extra chewiness is a bonus, as is the extra beefy flavor. One just has to expect that a grassfed steak is going to taste (or chew) differently than a cornfed steak.

          1. re: Foureyes137

            One of my concerns about feedlot beef is that it seems to harbor the harmful strains of e coli that don't exist in grassfed animals (due to ph of the digestive tract having to do with the difference in food.) Even though the animals have been feedlot fed rather than grassfed for some years now, that's apparently not long enough for the animals' digestive tracts to have evolved as to this.

            (Although I do acknowledge your general point that if the natural environment is so changed from what it was, we need to take that into account in figuring out what is natural. It's just that evolution has a different timetable.)

            So, anyway, have you had any of the grassfed beef at the Strip Club and do you focus on your same cuts (eg ground beef) there? I know they pride themselves on being able to cook the grassfed beef well. (I don't mean "well done." I mean "proficiently.")

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            The Strip Club
            378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

            1. re: karykat

              I have. I've had the "chef's" burger, a ribeye and a sirloin, my wife has had the filet. I didn't put anything on the steaks (the sirloin was a special I believe)...which is part of Strip Club's thing. If the beef were so good, why would you cover it in blue cheese or shallots? The ribeye was passable, the sirloin was like chewing a shoe and the burger was good enough, but the mushroom demi put upon it saturated the bun which then fell apart while trying to eat it...so the beef was good, the execution was not.

              And to be clear, cheap beef is cheap beef and it's damn near toxic. "Cornfed" and "Feedlot" are not synonyms. There is grain-fed beef that is grazed and treated like the little princes we expect (Kobe/Wagyu are fed grain) rather than the miserable commodities feedlot beef has become. I say again: The less fat a steak has, the less flavor and the more the cow walks around looking for grass to eat AND the less fat it has, the tougher it is.

              Does anyone know: is grass-fed beef graded by the USDA (Select/Choice/Prime)?

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              The Strip Club
              378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

              1. re: Foureyes137

                It makes sense to me that grass fed beef may be tougher (and may have to be cooked differently, which I thought was one of the Strip Club's claims to fame.)

                My concern is the environmental one and the health ones that go with the feedlot beef.

                And toughness and a little different flavor come with grassfed beef, I believe.

                I think there is a Minnesota producer that has grassfed beef that is finished with corn or grain. Can't remember who that is. Anyone know?

                That is intended to address the flavor part, I think. Not sure if it addresses the toughness.

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                The Strip Club
                378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

                1. re: karykat

                  Dakota Farms is the grass-fed, corn-finished purveyor. It's a more tender product than Thousand Hills which is who Strip Club uses.

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                  The Strip Club
                  378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

                  1. re: Foureyes137

                    Good to know. Thanks.

                  2. re: karykat

                    Hill and Vale in Wykopf is grass fed, corn finished. Clancey's and Seward both carry a lot of their beef, which is my personal favorite for home cooking.

                    I don't know where to buy the retail Dakota Farms meat, which is referenced above, as another option.

                    I really can't say enough about the value and quality of Hill and Vale tho...
                    even if the meat can be a touch inconsistant in the marbling.

                    1. re: mitch cumstein

                      I got a few steaks from Hill and Vale (at Clancy's) this summer and they were hands down the best I've ever purchased.

                      My thoughts on grass fed (Thousand Hills, specifically) is that it does have a different flavor, but not necessarily a bad one. The amount of marbling is usually lower, which may lead to a less tender steak, but it is still a good experience.

                  3. re: Foureyes137

                    The USDA grades at the request of the meat processor.

                    At this point, there isn't a separate grading standard for grass-fed.

          2. I think the strengths of the Strip Club are their small plates, braised dishes, cocktails, service and atmosphere. I have been there numerous times and only ordered a steak once. It was fine (I like grass-fed beef generally speaking), but not as interesting as the other items on the menu there. So in other words, I would recommend going back and trying more small plates or anything braised.

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            The Strip Club
            378 Maria Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55106

            2 Replies
            1. re: LauraB

              As I said, everything else was very enjoyable. If I went back, I would not order steak again and probably be very happy.. Shoe leather is shoe leather. There is no way around it.

              1. re: Latinpig

                Wow. Shoe leather? Everything is subjective, of course, but I keep coming back to the NY Strip when I go to TSC. The pork belly is great, and there was an awesome marlin special this summer, but I gotta have my strip fix on a regular basis.

                To the earlier poster who said "If the beef were so good, why would you cover it in blue cheese or shallots?"...you can get the sauce on the side. Or not at all. It's your choice.

            2. Shoe leather is shoe leather, but a seared, grass-fed steak is nothing like shoe leather. I think its time to move away from this idea that steak should derive it's flavor solely from rendered fat. Seems to me its a response to the "lean era" where fat was considered anathema (and the filet mignon king), but there has to be more going on with a $30+ cut of meat than just fat.

              I appreciate the nuance and texture of grass fed meat, even though it takes more time to chew. If you are going to order it, you might as well have it done right, and TSC does it absolutely right.