Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A very odd night at The Strip Club

It's not what you think. I'm talking about the steak house in St. Paul, not the meat market you all are thinking about. Last week a few chums and I decided to catch up over dinner and a steakhouse seemed to fit the bill. We decided to hit the Strip Club because we had all heard good things from many sources and were excited to try it. I've always wanted to try JD Fratzke's food, and the fact that they serve grass-fed beef from Thousand Hills sealed the deal.

The place sports an old-school speakeasy decorum with lots of dark woods and a cool spiral staircase leading up to elevated seating. We had the big table right in front of the "fireplace" that also serves as the office door. I settled down with a FINNEGANS while my comrades ordered their Manhattans and thought to myself, "I'm going to like this place."

Turns out I was actually kind of wrong. As noted above, the high expectations were based on the names and all the strong recommendations, but the whole night was just really odd. The drinks were in and we were asked if we wanted to order some small plates. We said we needed just a moment, but were ignored for what seemed like an overtly long time (refuse to assign minutes because -they get blown out of proportion). When our waiter made it back over we ordered a couple of small plates and another round to fill our long-since-empty glasses. Again, the wait seemed long, but the largest offense was the staggered service. The lads who ordered bread received their items first. Then a few minutes later the grilled romaine salads came out. Quite some time after that, the shrimp boil and duck prosciutto arrived. I sat there, still waiting for my salad (a cold salad, mind you) for another few moments after the last small plates arrived. The waiter was kind enough to bring a free round of deviled eggs for our troubles, so at that point I told him to "cancel the salad." He claimed they had just plated it, which I took as code for "oh shit, I forgot" and it arrived a few minutes later - right before my entree showed up which is about the worst service blunder imaginable. The starters all arrived at different times and of course mine showed last, with my entree the first out in hot (soon to be cold) pursuit.

Again, the entree delivery was staggared, so I waited patiently for everyone to get their food. Eventually our friends told us to get started as they were now sharing our frustrations. Then it hit me...I ordered a pork dish (on a tip I received from a very credible source, plus I grill grass-fed steaks at home all the time) served with a cherry, bacon BBQ sauce. The dish that sat before me, now cold from the wait (stupid manners) had micro greens on it. Cherry bacon BBQ sauce and micro greens just don't seem to go together. I took a bite and quickly realized this was pork, but not the preparation I ordered. Well sometimes, you just say "screw it" and shut up and eat.

By then I was so hungry, I was just happy to have food (by the by, the pork was served with a citrus and chili-like sauce that would have been really good had the pork still been warm. I thought the comedy of errors was over for the night, but then our check showed and I realized I was over charged for the dish I had originally ordered - thankfully this was a mistake we could have corrected. I tipped back the rest of my beer and began to ponder how this could have gone so wrong? Still, at the end of the day I still had a great night out with the guys in a cool spot. I just wish I hadn't bothered with the food (note - most people did enjoy their food) and just had a few more cocktails for my dinner.

I doubt I'll be back, but have to believe all those reputable sources I heard rave about the place must have known what they were talking about, and hope that this was an isolated incident (I honestly thought I'd freakin' love this place). Regardless, I don't think there is any reason for me to head back given my particular experience.

Happy Eating,



kat said...

I haven't been there yet but have also heard good things. Perhaps you just hit them on a really bad night. I've always been told to try a place three times before judging but then I have a hard time spending money again at a place that wasn't good

Anonymous said...

I eat there as often as I eat anywhere. You'll have to trust me that the food is worth trying again. One piece of advice I have for you is to sit at the bar. The service and the entertainment there are well worth it.

HungryinSW said...

Thanks for the tip! Always looking for the little nuggets that make for a better experience.

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