FOOD & DRINK > RESTAURANT REVIEWS

The Strip Joint

By Phyllis Stein-Novack
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 14 | Posted Mar. 20, 2014

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The American steakhouse has been a tradition since the mid-19th century. What I like about such a site is simple: you know what the menu will be, there will be a seafood dish or two, side dishes are extra and the cocktails are usually first-rate.

Several months ago, SoWe, located at 22nd and Carpenter streets, morphed into a steakhouse. But unlike others in the city, The Strip Joint, as it was re-christened, is moderately priced. Actually, I think it is more like a neighborhood tavern/restaurant that features beef, a pork dish and some seafood.

The dining room is painted bright red and features a long bar, a knowledgeable bartender and, huzzah, a menu that you can actually read! The print lacks the fancy fonts and small type so many restaurants have adopted. The brunch menu is on the flip side.

Dinner includes a house salad and french fries; this is nice. Our server showed us to a table by the window, and we settled in.

The tables are covered with brown paper and set with linen napkins. Cocktails such as a Maker’s Mark Manhattan ($10) and Blue Coat martini ($11) were expertly prepared and icy cold.

The house salad consisted of immaculately fresh baby spinach, red leaf lettuce and a julienne of peeled cucumbers and carrots. They were dressed in a light vinaigrette that imparted a slightly sweet flavor possibly by the inclusion of some honey. Our server brought over the pepper mill, and a few grinds, plus a little salt, enhanced the taste of the dressing.

Mussels ($8) steamed in beer with bacon and garlic was a fine way to begin dinner. These mollusks were a bit scrawny but nicely cooked. The sauce had a vibrant flavor, but the bacon made it a little salty. A slice of toasted French bread came with the appetizer.

Sometimes Edward likes to begin dinner with a vegetable side dish, especially in Italian restaurants. The Strip Joint lists a number of options, including roasted Brussels sprouts ($6). I think these little cabbages have jumped the culinary shark, but if they are properly prepared, they are so good. An order large enough for two arrived in a deep soup bowl. They retained a bit of bite but could have been hotter.

I was surprised to see that The Strip Joint does not offer prime rib or a rib steak. I do not care for a New York strip, which is on the menu, so selected the petite filet mignon ($19). I like my beef rare with a good crusty sear on the outside. This is the pleasure people feel when they eat a good piece of beef. Filet is a lean tender cut that requires a good amount of seasoning. For $19, I do not expect prime quality beef, but the steak was seared, tender and rare inside. A small gravy boat of Béarnaise, which is traditional with beef, was made in-house. Unfortunately, my french fries were too salty and could have been hotter.

Edward’s rib cut pork chop ($16) spent the right amount of time on the grill. Overcooking pork is a crime. Grilling pork on the bone adds a juicy flavor. This cut is a favorite in our house, and it did not disappoint. His fries were hot and not as salty as mine.

Whoever invented creamed spinach should be hailed a culinary hero. It is a steakhouse staple. The Strip Joint’s version ($6) was heated and served in a gratin dish, was piping hot, well-seasoned and, goodness yes, hipsters, it included shredded kale.

All wines by the bottle are $30, with all wines by the glass being $9. The bartender recommended a Malbec for Edward and a Shiraz for me. Both were good choices.

Our meal was properly paced, so we did not feel rushed at any time.

I guess I should comment on the name of this restaurant. I am not sure The Strip Joint emits good vibrations for families who live in the neighborhood; however, a mom and dad and their two small daughters were dining at the table behind us. Although it is a grown-up menu, the girls were as happy as clams.

Three tips of the toque to The Strip Joint.  

The Strip Joint

918 S. 22nd St.
215-545-5790
phillystripjoint.com

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 14 of 14
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1. Anonymous said... on Mar 20, 2014 at 04:05PM

“Who the hell is this "Edward" the review keeps referring to?”

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2. Phyllis Phan said... on Mar 20, 2014 at 08:24PM

“Heeeeeeee's Back !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Only a matter of time before Sandy returns and PSN goes back to Manayunk and gets condescending with us funny talking neanderthals !! IE; gratin dish. That is really what we want anyways. A whole slice of toasted French bread made the mussels app? Hey Marty Medals, please review a diner for us !!!”

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3. Marty Medals said... on Mar 21, 2014 at 08:39AM

“I really like the tone and pace of this review.
Edward is the husband.
Sounds like a really good place in South Philly to get a reasonably priced steak. A refreshing change from the steak houses in Center City that cater to only the wealthy.
I would have liked to see information about desert but I guess you can't have everything. you want.
Phyllis has really stepped up to the plate (so to speak) in the last two weeks.”

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4. Tony said... on Mar 21, 2014 at 11:09AM

“How is it condescending for a restaurant reviewer to refer to items found in a restaurant by their proper name? If you don't know what a gratin dish or ramekin (another term that is complained about) are, use your computer to look it up and learn something rather than complain that you don't know what it is.”

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5. MS said... on Mar 21, 2014 at 11:20AM

“My 2 cents ... I liked the review. It was to the point and left out much of the unneeded flowery language and adjectives.

Good deal!

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6. Anonymous said... on Mar 21, 2014 at 11:29AM

“It's condescending to assume the reader knows, or cares, who someone is named "Edward" who apparently likes to begin dinner with vegetables. Either write like a professional or else retitle the piece "My Family Outing" and explain who's sitting around the dinner table.”

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7. Slim said... on Mar 21, 2014 at 12:44PM

“Writers are allowed to bring in family to their opinion pieces, but should ALWAYS identify the relationship or else not use first names. To discuss an unidentified person incorrectly assumes that the reader has read all the writer's previous work. Otherwise it suggests the writer doesn't know squat about the craft of narration.

Tom Cardella in this paper understands all this, and sometimes brings in references to Nunzi the uncle or his (unnamed) wife. The former is apparently an attempt at humor. The latter seems to be an attempt at disproving his gayness (uh, married people can't be gay?). And all that is fine, because he sets up the narrative and explains who is who. PSN, on the other hand, seems to have spent her educational time and money filling ramekins in cooking class and not bothering with an Elements of Style class.”

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8. Tony (the other one) said... on Mar 21, 2014 at 01:00PM

“Three ramekins out of four for this review.

Anyone care to comment on the safety of the neighborhood? Are we talking economically disadvantaged coming up and offering to guard your car? Or has 22nd and Carpenter changed in recent years?”

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9. newman said... on Mar 21, 2014 at 01:16PM

“Phan: NO-O-O! don't bring back Sandy!!!!

There was a person who knew nothing about food, and yet Phyllis brought her along to help "review" a restaurant. What was her famous line? Cilantro tastes like chalk? Spare us.”

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10. jen said... on Mar 21, 2014 at 01:34PM

“Sometimes Edward likes to begin dinner with a vegetable side dish: a double martini with TWO olives. LOL.”

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11. Marty Medals said... on Mar 21, 2014 at 06:39PM

“Here is another review of the Strip Joint.
Enjoy:
http://southphillyfood.tumblr.com/

https://www.facebook.com/SouthPhillyFood#”

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12. Troy said... on Mar 22, 2014 at 07:34AM

“Been going here almost weekly, love the food, and the vibe, guess now we will need to start making reservations since the secret is out. Four Ramekins!”

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13. Anonymous said... on Mar 30, 2014 at 03:51PM

“What is this, a monthly column?”

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14. Anonymous said... on Oct 19, 2014 at 09:11PM

“Consider the source, SPR, really?”

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