Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Strip Club

Visited on Saturday, June 21st with Janelle and Scott

Outside of The Strip Club

Erin's Review
I had read a lot about The Strip Club on various local blogs, and most reviews were pretty good. Ben was probably more excited about trying this place out than I was - he loves steak houses. I thought the menu was much more inventive than is usually found at a steak house, so I was intrigued. I decided I didn't really want to have my own steak here, because they are fairly expensive and I can never finish the whole thing, so Ben got the NY Strip, and I got 3 small plates. He had a little of my food, and I got to have a few bites of his steak.

The first thing I noticed about the food when it came out was how pretty it was. It was very beautifully prepared, and was really fun to photograph. Janelle and Scott did the same thing we did, Scott got a steak, and Janelle got 3 small plates, so I had plenty of food to photograph that night. Here are Janelle's dishes. She seemed to like them all, but did say that if she went back, she'd get a steak instead.

Big Al's Hotbed Salad Meat on a Stick Pavarti's Hot Peach

On the whole, the 3 small plates I ordered were very good. First, the asparagus was tasty, and I liked the sauce that came with it a lot. It was kind of an unusual flavor, as I'm used to just have plain asparagus with maybe a little sauce. I liked the sauce almost more than the asparagus itself, it was a combination of sundried tomatoes, roasted peppers, and mushrooms. I'm normally not a huge mushroom fan, but these had a good consistency and weren't super mushy which is usually what I don't like.

Asparagus and Mushroom Tartine

The mashed potato pie was not exactly what I was expecting - for some reason I was picturing a little bit more (like maybe a whole pie dish filled with mashed potatoes?? wishful thinking), but it literally is a little pie crust with mashed potatoes on it. I did not taste any bleu cheese, so I don't think there was really much in there. Normally that is not really a flavor you can mask. I did like this dish, but I thought it was pretty bland. More cheese would be better, and maybe even putting the bacon and the scallions in the mashed potato mixture... but then it wouldn't have been as pretty.

Mashed Potato Pie

Now, for the deviled eggs. The 3 plain eggs I got were great - the sauce was spicy which was an interesting accompaniment to the eggs. The 2 pink eggs totally freaked me out. I know that is irrational, but for some reason I thought they were some other type of egg (like not from a chicken) completely. I have no idea why I thought that, but the sight of those pink eggs just kind of made my stomach turn. I did eat them, and I have to say they were not good. They were pretty..... tough, almost. Overly chewy. Ew. I did ask our waiter what kind of eggs they were, and apparently they are pickled in beet juice or something. I didn't taste any beet flavor at all, but maybe I was too put off by the color and the over-chewiness.

The Devil's Eggs

I tried a few bites of Ben's steak too - I liked it a lot, the sauce was very tasty. It wasn't what I would have chosen, I would have probably gone for the bleu cheese sauce. I also had a glass of wine, the Casa Solar Tempranillo, which came in a pretty small glass (I thought at least) but seemed fairly reasonably priced and was a good complement to my meal.

I enjoyed the Strip Club - it is a cozy place. I don't know if I'd go back, because it isn't really convenient to our house, and there isn't really a lot near there, but it was fun to try once! I really liked how the owner came over and talked to us. He seemed very down to earth and really wanted to make sure we had a good experience.


Inside of Strip Club
(Tim the owner is in the middle of this photo talking to another table)

Ben's Review
Erin's co-worker Janelle and her husband Scott had won a gift certificate to the Strip Club playing bingo and Janelle knew that we had it on our list so we arranged to have dinner last Saturday night. I love the Strip Club's url (http://domeats.com), I'm sure they had a tough time finding a url given that most permutations of "strip club" were probably taken :)

When we arrived Janelle and Scott had already been seated right inside the door in front of a big window. The front of the restaurant kind of faces west, towards downtown St. Paul so the blinds were down as the sun was low at that time. I have to say that the Strip Club is not really in a picturesque neighborhood anyways, so having the shades down wasn't a big deal. It's located in a residential area where you would expect a corner market to be, but instead there is a nice steakhouse. It seems a little out of place, I'm surprised it's even zoned to allow alcohol to be served.

Outside of The Strip Club

Scott had ordered a pint can of Surly Furious which tempted me, but I went for the bottle of Bell's Two Hearted instead. The drinks at the Strip Club are a little pricey; my beer was $5 for a bottle and the Miller Lite is even $3.75. They have a list of specialty drinks, some that looked good, but I stuck with beer. They don't list them, but I would guess they have some good scotch too.

I had high hopes for the Strip Club after checking out the menu. For the first time in recent memory I knew what I wanted before we even got there, I was going to get the New York strip steak, which seems to be their signature dish. The steak comes plain but you can order a "sauce accompaniment" for a couple dollars. I got the "love you long time" sauce which consisted of ginger, scallions, red chilies, sesame, and soy. Being an Asian food fan I figured that was right up my alley.

Thousand Hills Cattle Co. New York Strip

Our food arrived promptly and it looked REALLY good. We were a little weirded out by Erin's purple deviled eggs, but I'll let her get into that a little more. My steak came with steamed carrots that I had kind of written off as nothing more than just a simple vegetable garnish, but I was impressed with how many I got and how good they were. I actually FINISHED the vegetables on my plate, vegetables that I had barely even acknowledged on the menu. I was a little proud :)

The steak was done as a I requested, medium, and was delicious. I was glad I got the sauce as it added a great flavor and some texture to the steak. I don't recall how big the steak was, but I would guess around 10-12 ounces.

After we had finished eating a busboy came around and took our dishes while we were chatting. A little while later our server, Bill, came back and brought us our check. Janelle handed Bill the gift card and asked to thank the owner for donating the gift card to the bingo game, so Bill went to fetch the owner. A minute later the busboy came back over and introduced himself as Tim, one of the owners of the Strip Club (pictured in one of the photos above). I thought it was real cool that he actually works in the restaurant in such an unassuming role as clearing dishes. He was very friendly and made sure we enjoyed our time there. That definitely left a positive impression on me, if I go back that will probably be a reason why.

Inside of Strip Club
  • Service: Our server Bill was great and meeting Tim the owner was cool.
  • Food: Excellent steak and sauce, but no bread unless you order it? That's a bummer.
  • Drinks: Drinks are expensive, but they've got a good bottled selection. They have two taps: Rush River IPA and Rush River Amber. Good beers, but a random choice for only two taps.
  • Ambiance: I like the restaurant, its a small place with a spiral staircase to an even smaller upper level. It was pleasantly busy on a Saturday night.
  • Price: It's a steak house so it costs a little more than a standard place, but the food isn't unreasonable.
  • Convenience: Located just east of downtown Saint Paul, there's no parking lot so you'll have to find a spot on the street.
Deets

The Strip Club
378 Maria Ave
St. Paul

Recommended for atmosphere and interesting menu

4 comments:

Julia said...

If you go back, you should definitely order some cocktails. Aaron, one of the other owners, is a genius. He's never made me a drink I didn't like. I'll admit, I'm a bit biased, since I know Tim and Aaron from Town Talk, but I wouldn't keep going back if everything wasn't fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Ben,
The windows are so big so that you can see downtown St. Paul. You have to sit upstairs though.
Deano

Rett said...

I'm glad that they carried the strip club theme into the sauce names, but I think they could have taken it a bit further. For example, your server could be partially nude, or maybe the only form of accepted payment is one dollar bills. Man I should really get into restaurants, I have so many good ideas.

Liz said...

We went to The Strip Club last week and really enjoyed ourselves. We sat upstairs by the fireplace which gave us an awesome view of the skyline-- try it up there next time. We didn't chat with Tim but we did chat with JD the chef. He couldn't have been nicer or more helpful.

My husband thoroughly enjoyed his cocktail (Brandy Old Fashioned) and strip steak with blue cheese sauce. The sauce was incredible. We shared some of the eggs, which I *loved* but I knew about the pink eggs :) We also had another small plate (red snapper over garbanzo beans and tomatoes) and entree (wild rice sausages).

They also added a few sandwiches to the dinner menu, which I believe is a new thing.

We'll definitely be back!