Restaurant Review: Strip-T’s in Watertown
Grilled sweet peas with sea salt and Aleppo, $6. (Photos by Anthony Tieuli)
The most unexpectedly dazzling food I’ve had in years is at a place that’s a diner by day. If you’re a follower of the local restaurant scene, you know exactly where I’m talking about. For the uninitiated, it’s Strip-T’s, named for a cut of steak that’s no longer served there.
It’s a heartwarming story: Father opens sandwich shop after finding his time at fancy restaurants like the Ritz unsatisfactory. Son, meanwhile, develops ambitions to be a serious cook, goes to culinary school, lands high-profile jobs with a very hot chef in New York, then comes home to transform Dad’s humble shop into a destination dining spot by night. Word spreads, and soon local hipsters and bronzed Belmont families on their way to Edgartown are driving up to a small, unassuming storefront a few blocks from the Arsenal Mall in Watertown. It sounds implausible.
Yet Strip-T’s really is serving a lot of extraordinary, reasonably priced fare in plain surroundings. Tim Maslow has brought to Boston the flavors he developed as chef de cuisine at David Chang’s cult New York restaurant Momofuku Ssäm Bar, making for vibrant, complex fare that doesn’t announce itself on the deceptively simple menu: burgers and fries, wings, a killer caesar, and fat homemade sausage. And because Maslow, like Chang, incorporates Asian sauces and flavors into everything he makes, the dishes are unexpectedly potent. It’s umami central.