Strip-T’s Changes Concepts Again with New, Global Comfort Food

The Watertown diner goes back to its neighborhood roots—and ramen happy hour is now a thing.

Strip-T's in Watertown

Strip-T’s in Watertown. / Photo provided

Strip-T’s isn’t settling into complacency in its 30th year.  With new chef de cuisine, William Nurse, the Watertown spot just debuted an approachable, comfort food dinner menu, in place of the Japanese izakaya-inspired evening fare it’s been rocking for the past year. Don’t pour one out for Strip-T’s unctuous ramen, though: Weekdays from 2:30-5 are now “ramen happy hour,” with rotating specials. First up is a smoked miso chicken broth noodle bowl.

The longstanding neighborhood restaurant has had quite the evolution over the last five years. After owner Paul Maslow’s son, Tim Maslow, left Momofuku Ssam Bar and joined his father in Watertown, it went from a satisfyingly predictable institution known for its Caesar salad and grilled steak pita sandwich, to a creative, suburban destination.

While the Maslows were finding their footing, and chefs de cuisine came and went, the Strip-T’s concept made a few more stops. It finally settled on a lunch menu with stuffed sandwiches like a Japanese eggplant banh mi, and Pho Real, with grilled chicken, Thai basil, and bean sprouts, and izakaya offerings like a donburi rice bowl, and fried chicken with wasabi-yuzu Kewpie mayo, at night.

Now, with Nurse (Gaslight, Metropolis, Worden Hall) at the helm, it’s changing course again. But not completely: Nurse’s new dinner menu, which debuted Monday, retains the only holdover from the original Strip-T’s, Paul Maslow’s Caesar salad, plus newer classics like the Moxie wings, romaine and oxtail salad, and the umami-laden burger.

But the Aquitaine Group alum and recent Zagat 30 Under 30 nominee is introducing more Middle Eastern flavors, and other dishes with a global palate. Some of the new plates include a lamb salad with watercress, pickled shallots, halloumi, toasted pita, and a spiced labne dressing; beef carpaccio; Spanish octopus with escarole white bean ragu, heirloom tomato, and chorizo vinaigrette; and a Mexican-flavored pork schnitzel with charred jalapeño spaetzle, chorizo, radish, and lime crema.

Tim Maslow, who left daily operations at Strip-T’s when he opened his Washington Square restaurant, Ribelle, recently shuttered that place and joined Tiffani Faison’s kitchen at Tiger Mama. He created the Strip-T’s lunch menu, but is otherwise no longer involved with the restaurant. Theresa Paopao, director of operations and beverage director at Ribelle and Strip-T’s, has also moved on, Paul Maslow says. Kelly Coggins (Rialto, Bistro du Midi, Woods Hill Table) is the new general manager and wine director.

“I am very proud of all of [Tim’s] work and happy to support him in his next endeavor. The lunch menu he created is awesome and we have no intention of changing it,” Paul Maslow says. “We just want to have great food that people will enjoy and can afford.”

Strip-T’s, 93 School St., Watertown, 617-923-4330,