The Strip Club 1/24/2014

While this restaurant opened in 2008, I didn’t hear about it until recently due to the acclaim of the bartender, Dan Oskey.  During our visit, we heard about the new location the crew (including Executive Chef JD Fratzke and GM Tim Niver) will soon be opening up in downtown St. Paul by the farmers market, called Saint Dinette.  However, The Strip Club Meat and Fish will remain in its location just outside of downtown St. Paul, tucked away amongst residential homes..

Venue:

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The Strip Club is a small (about 1800 sqft), intimate dining scene.  Lighting is kept low and scattered.  Walking in, my friend said he feels like he’s walking into someone’s home.  At the entrance, you are greeted by the host/hostess who will guide you either to the base level dining area or to take a trip up a narrow, ornate, corkscrew staircase.  We ate upstairs, and the trip up was much easier than the way down.  I’m sure being full of food and drink didn’t help by the end of the evening.  Speaking of…

Food&Drink:

Our server was very knowledgeable and helpful with the menu.  There were a variety of daily specials to walk through – pretty much one in each section of the menu.  Our selections, in the order pictured below:

  • Soup du Jour – mushroom bisque with white truffle oil
  • Paté Canard – duck liver mousse, fig, Madiera gelee, pistachio, croustade
  • Tenderloin Tartare Eggroll – grassfed beef, egg, soy, chilies , lime, tomato
  • Duck Breast – Brussels sprouts, poached turnips, beets, duck confit, kimchee, sesame
  • 10oz. New York Strip – grilled lemon and poached carrots
  • ABC Fois Gras and Port Wine Shallot Butter served on steak

Can’t ever go wrong with a bisque, but I’d say while satisfying, there wasn’t anything overly stand-outish about the soup.  The paté was delicious as everything duck always seems to be.  And the tenderloin tartare eggroll had a nice creative flair, which drew me to this option.  Nice flavors, likely with some sort of chinese five spice on top of what was listed.  The duck breast was cooked perfectly.  They recommended to cook it to the same temperature you like you steak, so I got mine medium rare.  Still cripsy skin with tender, juicy meat.  And brussels sprouts, beets, and kimchee are always a win.  The steak was pretty delicious, and the foie gras butter was a great addition.

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Since the reason I was drawn here was because of the cocktail menu, we made a point ot taste a variety from the list.

  • Pretty in Drink (Kegged/On Tap) – Vodka, Galliano, lemonade, grapefruit juice, honey syrup, Easy & Oskey Apricot Bitters
  • Cobra Kai – Kilo Kai Rum, Easy & Oskey Habanero Bitters, house-made sour
  • House Custom Cocktail – Solveig Gin, grapefruit “jam”, angostura, autumn spice bitters
  • Double Barrel – Dewars, root beer liqueuer, Licor 43, Strega, Lagavulin “wash”

Both of my drinks were great.  The Pretty in Drink was nicely balanced.  The honey really came through without being overly sweet.  The grapefruit gin drink was also lovely, and I appreciated the experimentation from the bartender on the grapefruit “jam”, which gave it a little more body.  The cobra kai was not overly spicy – just enough to let you know it was there. And the double barrel was just a nice straight-forward whiskey drink.

Update 4/6/2014 – After attending a cocktail tasting with Dan Oskey (the bartender for this establishment) and his business partner Erik Eastman (Easy of Easy & Oskey), I found out that the house custom cocktail is named the Snow Shoe, and they decided to call the grapefruit concoction a marmalade instead of a jam.

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Price:

While not cheap overall, you can find a loaded burger on the menu for $15 if you don’t want to empty your pockets.  Our meal ran about $150 including tip for all that was mentioned.  So you definitely pay for the quality.  I would return for more cocktails and maybe go with the burger for a food base, since that seems to be where most of the action is.  Not to say the food wasn’t worth it, but I’m always one who would rather taste from a different perspective on a return visit.

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