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M3: confused waitress or weird definition?

Allstonian and I went to M3 this evening prior to the Carolina Chocolate Drops show at the Somerville, in part because we had recently noticed that they had a chicken-fried steak on the menu and I'm still looking for a quality rendition of that dish hereabouts. When the waitress took our order, I asked first what cut they used for the chicken fried steak. (The time Deep Ellum served me a chicken-fried skirt steak made me gunshy.)

Waitress: "It's the breast."

Me: "No, I'm sorry, I was asking about the chicken-fried STEAK. What cut of steak is it?"

Waitress: "Right. It's the breast. It's a chicken breast."

Me: "The chicken-fried steak is a chicken breast?"

Waitress: "Right. They pound it out and flatten it and bread it, that's what makes it a steak."

Me: "Okay. That's...that's not what a chicken fried steak is."

So we finished ordering, and the waitress went away to put the orders in. I unwrapped my silver from my napkin and realized that the fork had cremated macaroni and cheese all over it. I looked over at Allstonian, showed her the fork, and shouted over the blaring Depeche Mode song on the way-too-loud soundsystem, "Do you just wanna bag this? I have a really bad feeling about this meal." She immediately concurred and stood to leave. I walked over to the waitress and said "You know what, we're just gonna go. Can you kill that order?"

As we were leaving, I thought it best to explain to the hostess why we were leaving, so I handed her the silver and -- very politely -- suggested maybe someone needed to have a chat with the dishwashers. As I was walking up, I swear I think I heard the manager explaining to the waitress, "No, the chicken fried steak is..." Since at that point our mind was already made up that this wasn't going to be our night to try this restaurant and we already had our raincoats back on, I didn't press the point at the time, but I'm still curious.

DOES M3 serve a chicken schnitzel and call it a chicken-fried steak? Or was this waitress just totally unclear on what this menu item was, so she started talking out of her ass when asked a question about it? Either one of these things are serious points off, but I'm still willing to give this place another shot, on the assumption that they were having a really bad night.

However, our dinner at Amsterdam Falafel was entirely tasty and the Chocolate Drops were amazing as always, so we pulled the night out regardless.

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  1. Kudos for spotting that the universe was aligned against you eating at M3 and making the move. It beats staying and getting pissed off.

    1. Hilarious... it's nice when your server knows what the heck (s)he is talking about. Thanks for the heads up. Born & bred Bostonian, Bruins Fan, and Irish as they come... but I went to school in TX, ("Did time." IMO, any time in TX is 'doing time.') and developed an affinity for chicken fried steak among other local specialties & novelties. Hope someone can report the REAL review of the CFS! Haven't been to M3 yet... will have to check it out. (but it'll be difficult to drag a guy like me away from Redbones if I'm in the Square...as spotty as they might be with the 'cue, I still love the place, the decor... the tap selection... oh yeah, and my southern-born wife likes their collards. )

      1 Reply
      1. re: BBQJesse

        I've been doing time here for 34 of my 46 years on this planet. That waitress might have gotten herself shot down here. Dipstick.

      2. Try typing 'steak' into Yelp's search. I did see one person say it wasn't what they were expecting (but were they expecting chicken?) but there are enough mentions of it that I think *someone* would have bitched if it were chix.

        OTOH half of them are saying 'country fried' so who knows.

        1. The menu has Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Buttermilk Chicken Fried Steak. I think your ditzy waitress was correct, it's a pounded breast of chicken, looks like you dodged a bullet and saved some green to try another place.

          3 Replies
          1. re: treb

            You can totally use buttermilk to make chicken fried steak. I do it myself. For that matter, the menu has a chicken and biscuits dish that is a boneless fried chicken dish, which is another data point against the CFS being chicken, I guess.

            1. re: treb

              Did she get confused between the Buttermilk Fried Chicken and the Chicken Fried Steak?

              1. re: Kat

                No, Jenny Ondioline and I both asked her several times over because we were so flabbergasted by her insistence that it was chicken, and finally resorted to pointing out the item on the menu - "Buttermilk Chicken Fried Steak." She continued to insist that it was chicken.

            2. Chicken Fried is its own subgenre in meat cooking. Breaded in thick batter and fried, you can have Chicken Fried Steak, Chicken Fried Chicken, Chicken Fried Fish, etc.

              I think your waitress was just confused about the whole "chicken" thing. The Chicken Fried Steak is steak, and not a notable cut.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Boston_Otter

                Proper CFS is top round. Other lean cuts are also acceptable. As I said, the time I ordered CFS at Deep Ellum and was served skirt steak is an example of CFS gone horribly wrong. Also, it's not a "thick batter," which implies that the coating ingredients are mixed together.

                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                  I spent most of my childhood in rural Texas, and it was always cube steak, and the batter always seemed to be pretty thick. Also, always white gravy, never brown. But I think there's as many versions as there are high school football fans ...

                  1. re: ClippyZ

                    I too, typically, see Cube streak (in TX) but here... my experience is that they use whatever they think is ok for the day. Yes, It's supposed to be a little stringy, and I think the texture of the cube helps to hold the batter. Do you guys dare to print this thread out for her/them @ M3? (evil. sorry.)

                    I think it's great to find so many northeastern CFS proponents! ...not to mention everyone from everywhere to also provide a 'proper' CFS primer!
                    :-) Slainte to all.