Strip-T’s Going ‘Full Circle’ with Its Increasingly Casual Concept
Is Watertown interested in a restaurant “that pushes the envelope”? Maybe not.
Back in April, Strip-T’s chef Tim Maslow admitted that he was having to redirect his more “esoteric” inclinations to his Brookline restaurant Ribelle, saying:
“We’re bringing back all the original dishes [at Strip-T’s] 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.”
That change was patrially in response to GQ restaurant critic Alan Richman, who remarked that he felt “brow beaten” by Maslow’s cuisine in the article “The Rise of Egotarian Cuisine.” But his decision was also motivated by customers who weren’t responding to anything other than fried chicken, a grilled romaine salad, and a burger.
To exercise his staff’s creative side Maslow was going to limit Strip-T’s’ new menu to a weekly, four-course prix-fixe menu with themes like “baseball” and “Alsace.”
Apparently that wasn’t going far enough, as Strip-T’s is changing once again, and this time it appears to be even more dramatic. As of September 2, that prix fixe menu is gone, with the Watertown spot now almost solely focused on their lunch menu, which they’ve extended into an all day affair.
“A lot of the neighborhood was uncomfortable with the degree that we pushed the envelope with the dinner menu,” says owner Paul Maslow. “Some people loved that they could get such creative food and great service without leaving Watertown. Many people love good quality food, but aren’t very adventurous. Please don’t get me wrong, some residents will miss it. Some of the great customers we have at night are unhappy with the change, but hopefully they will have nights when they feel like something a little more casual.”
Paul Maslow says the change is something he and his son have been contemplating for a while, stripping away all the pretense—including reservations—and transitioning into an eatery that focuses on sandwiches and salads.
“Now that Tim has Ribelle, it made sense to simplify a little bit,” Maslow says. “It was really hard having two different restaurants in this tiny space. Every day we would have to break the entire cooking line down and restock for dinner. We have really just come full circle to the way I used to operate Strip-T’s. Tim plans to work on the menu, and if sandwiches are our thing, we want to make them even better. We have a lot of talented chefs at Ribelle, Tim would like to rotate them through Strip-T’s and allow them to come up with special sandwiches. One thing that won’t change is the commitment to quality and locally sourced ingredients.”
In addition to its new everyday menu, Strip-T’s will feature nightly chalkboard specials such as al pastor tacos and a fish cake po’ boy. Dessert will include baked goods (made at Ribelle) such as blueberry pie, cookies, and chocolate cake with pretzel crumbs.
93 School St., Watertown; 617-923-4330 or stripts.com.