Strip-T’s Has a New Menu (and a New Attitude)

The new menu at Tim Maslow’s Watertown restaurant has changed as a response to GQ‘s dig at Ribelle.

tim maslow

Tim Maslow is bringing back Strip T’s most popular items on his latest menu. Photo courtesy of Evan Bradford

GQ restaurant critic Alan Richman is somewhat notorious for his scathing takedowns of the culinary world’s biggest chefs. The James Beard Award winner even had his spat with Anthony Bourdain aired publicly in Bourdain’s 2010 bestseller, Medium Raw, in a chapter titled “Alan Richman Is a Douchebag.”

In March, Richman returned to form with the article “The Rise of Egotarian Cuisine,” in which he accuses many of the country’s most-lauded young chefs (always male, in his estimate) of self-indulgent cooking that values creativity over deliciousness. One of those pickling, technology-obsessed boundary-pushers thrown under Richman’s proverbial bus was Ribelle’s Tim Maslow, about whom Richman wrote the following:

Sometimes I had no idea what I was eating. That’s how I felt at Ribelle in Brookline, Massachusetts. Ribelle is à la carte, so I can’t place the blame on an endless tasting menu. I ordered one dish after another, idiotically hoping the food would get better. I left there feeling brow-beaten.

Well, Maslow heard the criticism and has responded (as of April 1)—not by changing things at Ribelle, but by simplifying the menu at its sibling restaurant, Strip-T’s. “It was depressing to me that he [Richman] thought that’s what we were going for,” says Maslow. “Hospitality is number one at both of our restaurants. I couldn’t even read the whole article, to tell you the truth. It made me sad. But it also really made think about what I was doing. Alan Richman is right to a certain degree, but you also choose a restaurant based on what you want to eat. Every restaurant doesn’t have steak and potatoes and a roasted fish on the menu. You have so many options now, why blur the line?”

In his own words, Maslow says that Ribelle will continue to explore more “esoteric” concepts, but his first restaurant is bringing back its most popular comfort foods. Favorites like Maslow’s burger with miso butter, fried chicken, fish and chips, and the romaine salad with braised oxtail will now be fixtures in his Watertown spot.

“We’re bringing back all the original dishes that people loved and made us a sleeper neighborhood restaurant,” says Maslow. “We’re turning it back into a more casual place. Now that we’re also in Brookline [at Ribelle], we wanted to bring back the old identity. The menu isn’t going to stay static, but we’re going to try to put our best foot forward and separate the two restaurants. If you looked at both menus over the last six months, they were very similar in ideals and styles of cooking. Strip-T’s will still be creative, but it’ll try to fit into the idea of a neighborhood restaurant.”

The other half of Strip-T’s’ new menu will include a weekly, four-course prix-fixe menu with themes as disparate as “baseball,” “eggs,” and “Alsace.”

“We didn’t want to alienate anybody with a tasting menu, but we needed that excitement and that outlet for creativity,” says Maslow. “That could be an über focused plate with one ingredient utilizing four or five techniques, garnishes, and tweezers to plate it. That’s where that will fit in. We’re looking to have the best of both worlds.”

The first prix-fixe menu, which debuts on April 3, was inspired by chef de cuisine Jared Forman’s love of maple syrup— something “he drinks straight from the bottle,” says Maslow. These include a smoked hamachi crudo with maple cured radishes, a chestnut gemelli with maple labne, and maple cream slathered on a crepe cake.

“We had to slowly segue into this,” says Maslow. “We couldn’t just shut down for a day and retool. At the end of the day, we want the restaurant to be fun and accessible. We want to make everyone happy, even Alan Richman, if he ever comes back.”

strip t's

Romaine with oxtail at Strip T’s. One of Tim Maslow’s most popular dishes has returned on Strip T’s new menu. Photo courtesy of Rex Dean.

DINNER MENU

Small

nachos – short rib, cotija, serrano salsa … $15

wings – moxie, chives, wetnaps … $13

romaine* – oxtail, egg, chili vin … $13

takoyaki – octopus, plum ginger sauce … $9

eggplant bahn mi – tofu, cilantro … $10

Large

burger* – miso butter, lemon aioli, fries … $16

fish & chips – tartar sauce, coleslaw … $18

fried chicken – crushed potato, brussels kraut … $22

pork tonkatsu* – battleship curry, cabbage, rice … $24

mussels* – potato puree, crispy herbs … $21

beef rib – mustard, turnip slaw … $23

Sides

paul’s wicked small ceasar … $5

gravy fries … $6

japanese sweet potato wedges … $7

broccoli rabe – caramelized onions, parmesan … $6

brussels sprouts – black bean sauce, leeks … $8

“Sugar Shack” prix fixe ($45)

available april 3-5

smoked hamachi crudo

puffed oats, maple cured radishes

baked chestnut gemelli

sweet sausage, maple labne, cheddar

braised country pork rib

crispy hash browns, sunny egg, kale, apple butter

crepe cake

candied espresso beans, maple cream, lemon confit

  • Ryan Wittig

    Introspection and ability to change is a great quality in a chef. I can’t wait to hit up Strip T’s next week. Keep up the good work Tim!

  • SirenoftheSea

    I used to work near Strip Ts some years ago and got takeout lunch several times a week – as a vegetarian my go-to was the vegie caesar wrap – it was great- my carnivores in the family -loved their stuff too, and we miss it. I’m sure Paul’s boy deserves the accolades for the fancy items and he must have a great publicity staff because I’ve seen lots of write-ups on him and he seems like someone we will keep hearing about. In general, I think most nouvelle cuisine or whatever they would call it these days gets a bit ridiculous…e.g. I’ve seen things like bacon foam or some such nonesense and I want to giggle or weep. People are starving even in the U.S. this seems disrepectful to food in general.Those are cases where egoism does take over and common sense gets lost. Food can be presented artfully and it’s more than tying on a feedbag, and local sourcing when possible is great, but don’t throw out the bacon and in order to impress with the foam. And I’m out. ( dropped mic)

  • mayacb

    I am so sorry that Maslow has abandoned Strip-T’s dinner menu and replaced it with their lunch menu (in style, if not in specific items). We had one of the best meals we ever had at dinner at Strip-T’s. I guess we can try Ribelle, but it isn’t as convenient as Watertown to us, and more importantly there was something very cool in going to a place that looked like a lunch place that served such innovative fare. Also, in looking at the new menu there is little for me to eat. I am a vegetarian who also eats fish (not shellfish) and most of the dishes that feature vegetables add bacon. I was worried that Maslow would focus his creativity on Ribelle and “abandon” Strip-T’s and I guess I was right.