Restaurant Review: Tip Tap Room in Beacon Hill

Chef Brian Poe reinvents the New England classic, steak tips, at his new Beacon Hill restaurant Tip Tap Room.

By Brittany Jasnoff | Boston Magazine |
Restaurant Review: Tip Tap Room in Beacon Hill

Photo by Ekaterina Smirnova

Steak tips are a pub staple, of course, but can you theme an entire restaurant around them? To find out, we headed to chef Brian Poe’s aptly named Tip Tap Room, an industrial Beacon Hill space located on a stretch of Cambridge Street that attracts a diverse group of MGHers, Suffolk grad students, and Government Center office workers. The “tap” part of the restaurant’s name comes from the 36 draft brews available, but Poe’s main focus seems to be on the “tips”—including everything from wild game to, oddly enough, peach cobbler.

Shtick aside, Poe’s cooking is serious business—especially when it comes to the bold appetizers. Crisp fried goat-cheese balls served with duck-fat-fried prosciutto and grilled asparagus “tips” ($10.75) were balanced by a bright carrot-ginger purée, while rock shrimp wrapped in crunchy kataifi and nori ($11.75) came coated in an addictive sweet-and-sour chili-ginger sauce. A take on potato skins ($10.95), meanwhile, was even more decadent, with toppings of perfectly fried oysters, thick bacon “tips” (get the picture?), and a creamy beer-cheese sauce.

The concept limits Poe’s creativity when it comes to the entrées, though, as the majority of the tips (a wild-game special is rotated in every night) are offered with some form of heavy mashed potatoes. The classic steak tips ($13.75, pictured above) were by far the standout, with a great char, juicy center, and flavorful bordelaise. Lamb tips ($15.95) were also excellent, thanks to plenty of chopped mint and tangy chèvre-laced potatoes. A special of venison and antelope, however, failed to satisfy. The meat got lost in an odd mishmash of components—blueberry-basil-ginger sauce, overly cheesy Brie mashed potatoes, and radish-citrus slaw.

Skip the “peach tip” cobbler dessert, which tasted like barely sweetened oatmeal, and instead go for the stunning blackberry-and-white-chocolate bread pudding. With tart fruit, a rich brioche custard, and a silky whiskey-caramel sauce, this dish might be the best evidence that Poe needn’t hide behind a theme.

138 Cambridge St., Boston, 857-350-3344, thetiptaproom.com.