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Strip T's lunch - what did I miss?

I hope I am not put through the wringer for this posting, but I am wondering what happened…

I've had Strip T's on my list for a while now, and DH and I stopped in yesterday for lunch. I had the much lauded cauliflower sammie,and DH had the fish sandwich. We also ordered sweet potato fries and a side caesar salad. We were bitterly disappointed. The sandwiches were literally just *dripping* with grease every bite. The fish was nice and fresh and well prepared, and the hint of spicy pickled green tomato was lovely, but the sauce/grease factor just ruined it. I couldn't really taste anything in the cauliflower sandwich except grease and greens from the broccoli rabe. I left half and didn't even take it home. The salad was likewise just swimming in an overly acidic dressing. Fries were acceptable with a great aioli dip.

Did we order wrong? Is this a misfire of the kitchen, right after the holidays? I know this place has been the darling of the boards of late, and I don't want to do them wrong, but we really were bummed out!

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  1. It has always been my impression that the magic happens at night

    1. The Caesar is a rare surviving holdover from dad's menu. I've had the cauliflower sandwich, and while it's not exactly health food, I thought it was incredible. Possible that the opening of Ribelle has subtracted talent and hurt quality control, but it was my Lunch Spot of 2013: I had a good dozen high-quality lunches throughout this year there, with the cauliflower sandwich and the queso de cabeza sandwich counting as highlights. (I've had excellent fried fish at dinner, never as a lunch sandwich.)


      1. Really bummed to hear you had such a bad experience. I was there Thursday for lunch and my burger and caesar side salad were both exemplary. I so wish your lunch had been just as good! :( But it is also true that the true magic happens at dinner...

        1. My first trip to Strip T's was for dinner and has been the best meal I've eaten since moving to Boston in June. I've since been for lunch three times, had three different things (eggplant banh mi, Cobb salad, chicken pho real sandwich) and have been consistently underwhelmed. I won't be returning for lunch, but look forward to my next dinner.

          7 Replies
          1. re: marketpeach

            thanks.....glad to know it isn't just me, although seems like there have been both positive and negative experiences.

            1. re: Science Chick

              I'm a big fan of the eggplant banh mi for lunch but I haven't tried much else. My husband is very fond of their chili when they have it and he likes their take on Cobb salad which includes pork belly and some very good blue cheese, but it isn't "traditional" Cobb so it might not please others.

              1. re: teezeetoo

                Of the three things I've had, the Cobb salad was my favorite. I found the eggplant banh mi to be so greasy it was nearly inedible... I wonder if the oil temp was off.

                1. re: marketpeach

                  I have had it probably 5 times and it's hit the mark each of them. I do think any difference in the temperature or any length of time spent in the pan could alter it. I've wondered sometimes, with any restaurant, if I've hit it on the regular chef's day off! It is true that lunch at Strip T's still tries to bridge the old menu and the new one, but I've found that approach appealing. Still, it may also be true that managing Ribelle's and Strip T's results in some off days. I hope you give it another shot in the evening and discover the things worth returning for.

                  1. re: marketpeach

                    Had the Cobb salad on Monday at lunch and thought the salad was well dressed with the brown butter vinaigrette. My 6-year-old was gobbling the salad up. That pork belly was perfectly crisped on the outside. Since the kid couldn't have anymore, I obliged and took the rest of the pork belly (5 pieces) off her hands. We also had the filet o' fish and I thought the cole slaw was a little too acidic combined with the thin-sliced green tomatoes. The fish was fine, not too greasy. They were real busy and service was friendly considering how busy they were. We sat at the counter.

                    1. re: marketpeach

                      That was my experience with the banh mi as well. Definitely one of the worst sandwiches I've eaten, sadly.

                      1. re: maillard

                        That they call it a bahn mi threw me off when I ordered it. What I expected was not the greasy, fried monstrosity which arrived. It certainly was not like any bahn mi I have enjoyed.

              2. I have had both amazing and extremely mediocre meals at lunch there; my first visit featured their banh mi, their oxtail salad, and the mushroom plate -- everything was fantastic.

                The last time I went, I got the famous cauliflower sandwich, and it was, as you say, dripping with grease -- soaking through the bread, running down my fingers. It was so heavy and greasy that I gave up halfway through, as well.

                My table also ordered a banh mi to split, but our waitress came out to apologize, telling us the chef refused to cut the sandwich in half.

                11 Replies
                  1. re: foodieX2

                    Yeah, our waitress came out looking really cowed and embarrassed, and sort of whispered, "Um, the chef says he won't split the banh mi for you because it'd... ruin its integrity... I'm very sorry..." and we just said no problem, can we have a knife? It was very bizarre, and sort of turned me off of Strip-Ts.

                    1. re: Boston_Otter

                      That is so strange its funny! Was Todd English in the kitchen?

                      It's one thing to say I'll have the bahn mi but can you hold the xyz, add some mayo and catsup but to ask the kitchen to cut it for you? How does that impact its "integrity"? LMAO

                      1. re: foodieX2

                        The odd thing was, we didn't even ask for it to be cut in half. We told our waitress we wanted a banh mi to share, and she said "I'll have them split it for you," but I guess the kitchen shot her down.

                        1. re: foodieX2

                          I don't get the Todd English reference.

                            1. re: foodieX2

                              There are plenty of apt criticisms of English, however I don't ever remember hearing of him refusing to accommodate simple special requests. Quite the contrary actually, Olives and Figs were always extremely accommodating to simple special requests.

                              1. re: black_lab

                                its ego that drove the chef to refuse to cut a sandwich, something English has in spades.

                        2. re: Boston_Otter

                          Same reason he leaves the foot on the fried chicken legs: a twee, precious affectation that he really should have grown out of by now.

                      2. re: Boston_Otter

                        Would hate to see the chef charge your table with a meat clever if you attempted to cut that bahn mi in half yourself.

                      3. The best thing to get at lunch at the burger, since it's not available at dinner. I haven't been in a while but going back next week.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Bugsey34

                          The burger and the fish & chips are now available Mon-Thurs 5-6:30pm.

                        2. I feel the same way. I just don't get this place. I have been there once for lunch and once for dinner. The space is meh at best and the food is good, but not so good to deserve the attention it gets. I would love to have someone explain to me how it is one of the best places in the Boston area.

                          My guess is that people like the overly casual atmosphere combined with high end food. Kinda a reverse snob thing. For that I'd rather go to Highland Kitchen.


                          7 Replies
                          1. re: hungrytommy

                            When Strip T's first opened up, it was a wonderland of ideas and flavors...a young chef learning and pushing his boundaries. Since Ribelle opened and Tim is not in house, the spontaneity of the menu and stylistic flourishes have diminished in my opinion.

                            1. re: Bob Dobalina

                              We've tried most everything on the lunch menu and the only item that truly Wows me is the same one that had me raving them early on- the grilled romaine oxtail dish. have never had it not taste perfect. The burger first wowed me but lately (and the meat cut mixture does change) it hasn't been as great for me. And i seem to be the only person on the planet who notices and really dislikes the acrid taste of food processor'ed garlic that dominates the caesar dressing there.

                              dobs, I am guessing that the lunch menu not changing /lack of spontaneity may be the result of an edict from Tim, for staffing or other reasons. Wouldn't it be fun ( and certainly more in keeping with the 'founding spirit' of the reborn ST's) if the lunch menu saw more regular changes?

                              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                In defense of Strip T's, it is still a wonderland of ideas and flavors, and the way I go about ordering hasn't changed despite myriad changes in the kitchen staff. I opt for whatever is on the specials board whether it's lunch or dinner service.

                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                  I just had a whole Maslow weekend with our first trip to Ribelle on Friday night and a trip to Strip T's on Saturday night. Crazy, I know, but it just happened that way, I swear! Yes, we are busting out of our clothes, I know you were wondering.

                                  I must say we were disappointed with Strip T's. Ribelle had a lot more "wow, these flavors are amazing" moments. We ate:

                                  Truffled Egg Toast - my husband loved this, I am not a fan of peppers and there was also something sweet somewhere that threw me off

                                  Roasted Carrots - loved how the carrots were roasted, but there were too many sweet flavors on one dish. The intense hazelnut reminded me so much of hazelnut gelato that I've had in Italy that maybe it was my own palate that ruined it.

                                  Escarole Salad - Excellent. A punch of acidity from something pickled on the plate, plus squash and parmesan. Loved it.

                                  Pappardelle Bolognese with Kale - The pasta itself was excellent, I thought the bolognese was good but not amazing. Pork rinds added a cool texture play when you took bites with every part of the dish in it.

                                  Rigatoni with Octopus - I loved this but my husband (who is Italian and extremely picky about tomato quality and tomato sauce, so take this with a grain of salt) thought the sauce was too concentrated, that it had been simmered too long. I, on the other hand, thought the concentrated roasted sweetness of the sauce was excellent, and the octopus itself was cooked perfectly.

                                  Olive Oil Ice Cream - I loved this, but my husband hated it. Again, he's Italian, so don't listen to him. Olive oil goes on certain things and that's that for him. It was odd, though, because the first bites I took from the top of the scoop of ice cream had no olive oil flavor, but the bottom definitely did. But yet there wasn't olive oil in the bowl, so I'm not sure how they are making this ice cream? Unless the oil was just not mixed through completely? Mysterious but delicious.

                                  Drinks: I had the Progress and Needs (rum, ginger beer and honey shrub) and loved it, it was so delicious, perfectly mixed, not too sweet. Reminded me of the quality of cocktail I find at Sycamore. We also loved the extensive amaro list, which endears us to any restaurant, though I actually drank a barolo chinato which is what New England winters are made for. I got a crazy generous pour.

                                  STRIP T'S:

                                  Nachos with chicken (special of the night): Delicious, though some pieces of the chicken had some small bones in it?! Homemade tortilla chips... it was great, but, you know, it's nachos.

                                  Tako Yaki: Had someone not told me there was octopus in this I honestly would have not known. It was just an odd tasting fritter.

                                  Braised Short Rib: The short ribs were good, but I love them no matter the garnish. Beans were also good, a piece of bacon... I never make short ribs at home but if I did I could have made this myself.

                                  Fried Lobster Stew: I expected this to be amazing and it was OK. Fried lobster, with a turnip broth... no standout flavors.

                                  Sourdough Brioche Donut: Good but after I ate it I said to myself "that wasn't worth the calories, I should have left some on the plate". It was uninspired for some reason for me. The last time we were there (probably a year ago) we had a cider donut dessert that I still remember lovingly. So maybe my standards were too high.

                                  Now that I've typed this all out I realize the comparison is even worse than it was in my mind after the two meals. I will miss Strip T's if this is the direction it's taking but will embrace RIbelle with open arms!

                                  1. re: Bugsey34

                                    Your description of Takoyaki is pretty accurate for any takoyaki, honestly. The octopus is always just a tiny symbolic piece and the fritters never really taste like octopus -- they're just little fried balls with takoyaki sauce, typically.

                                    1. re: Boston_Otter

                                      that's funny. this is my fav app on the current menu! i could make a meal out of them. and i do taste the tako. but i really do squirm about paying $9 for 4 little balls....

                                    2. re: Bugsey34

                                      You got a lot of dishes I love off the recent Ribelle menus. Olive oil ice cream has the oil blended to an ice cream base just before it goes into the ice cream maker.


                                2. So sorry you had a bad lunch experience. I went there last Friday with the chowpup and a great lunch. We ordered the handmade chips, wicked small Caesar, NY pho real sandwich and eggplant bahn mi. They mixed up our order and gave us two NY pho real sandwiches instead, but they looked so good that we kept them both. They were outstanding. The baguette on which they were served was the best I have had since returning from France earlier this year. Sandwich was warm and aromatic with a hint of heat from the Sriracha. Caesar was its usual garlicky goodness in a bowl. Server gave chowpup a chunky chocolate chip cookie to make up for the incorrect order, which was nice. It was our first time for lunch. I had two excellent dinners here, but then a recent third one which was somewhat underwhelming, like your lunch. maybe depends on who is in the kitchen.

                                  1. Great post, looks like the line can't replicate the chefs menu.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: treb

                                      exactly….this seemed like an execution issue to me. Fryer must have not been hot enough, hence everything dripping with oil.