The Strip Club, not a strip club

A visit to The Strip Club, Meat & Fish has been way overdue. We finally got our act together and headed over to East Saint Paul on a glorious, chilly Thursday evening to celebrate a birthday and finally check out JD’s place.  Large glass and wooden doors reveal a cozy, inviting space with high ceilings, black wooden tables, and a commanding bar taking center stage.  After a little hiccup about the reservations, we were seated at a comfortable table for four.

The dinner menu is divided into starters, small plates, sandwiches, and meat & fish.  With cocktails in hand, we perused the menu, one large enough to satisfy a variety of tastes.  And though the small print at the bottom states, “Vegetarians regarded with benevolent amusement,” the kitchen will accommodate a veggie palate.

I was eying the Caesar salad (with anchovies actually part of the description, no less), but I passed it up as the table was drooling over the array of small plates.  We ended up ordering Pommes ‘Freebase’ (French fries with Big Country cheddar sauce and chorizo) $9, Fried Oysters with parsley, capers and chili aioli $6.75, and The Devil’s Eggs with chili oil and curry $4.50.  All were delicious, but my favorite were the bivalves with their crunchy exterior and briny, tender centers, perfectly cooked, tasting of the sea and spiced with the aioli.

Though we could have enjoyed several more small plates, including Christian’s foie gras from Au Bon Canard, we opted to continue on with some meat and fish.  Two grilled New York Strips $32 were ordered with a couple of sauce accompaniments:  “Le Moulin Rouge,” Criminis in red wine rosemary sauce $6 and the “Bleu Movie,” a Northern Lights bleu and scallions $5.  Jon enjoyed the Fish du Jour (Market Price), which on this night was a seared halibut.  I, on the other hand, salivated on each bite of fork tender pork belly served over toasted cornbread, roasted Brussels sprouts, and chilies with a cherry/bacon BBQ sauce $22.  The sauce soaked the cornbread croutons ever so slightly and its sweetness cut the pungent sprouts to perfection.  It all came together beautifully and paired quite nicely with my glass of Tempranillo $6.

It didn’t take too much arm twisting to convince us that ordering the three desserts was a must.  They included a Lemon Panna Cotta with blackberries and fennel sauce, a melt-in-your-mouth rustic apple Crostata and a luscious, creamy Chocolate Tart with a sablé crust.  Other details about the desserts are a blur and asking for the details from my dining companions didn’t help either.  They were so good that we devoured them all in short order with nary a picture taken of any of them.  Not only the desserts, but the entire meal warrants a return visit in the not to distant future. The Strip Club, Meat & Fish is located at 378 Maria Avenue, Saint Paul MN.

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