Tip Tap Room
by Scott Kearnan
| July 09, 2012
Photo: JOEL VEAK
Chef Brian Poe is used to refining wild beasts. When he arrived at The Rattlesnake in 2009, he gave the previously unexceptional Boylston Street bar an actual culinary program — dubbed Poe’s Kitchen at The Rattlesnake — and managed to tame the taste buds of its regular party animals. Once upon a time, buffalo wings and bowls of Tostitos would have been enough to sate them; Poe got them eating wild-boar burritos and duck quesadillas.
But in his latest venture, his first as co-owner, the chef really ups the ante on his game. We mean that literally: at Poe’s Tip Tap Room (138 Cambridge Street, Boston, 857.263.7614), which opened in June, the menu features enough animals to fill an ark. The tasty cuts of protein (the titular “tips”) come from mainstays like cow, turkey, swordfish, and lamb ($10.95), which was our favorite. Getting a hint of mint from a glace and marinade, the tender tips are topped with tasty tzatziki and balanced by the subtle heft of accompanying chèvre mashed potatoes. But Poe also rotates in a daily Wild Game Tip Special, generally priced at $20, to offer selections that are a bit more unusual — at least for those of us without a firearms permit and a closet full of camouflage. Think yak, elk, and antelope, the last of which we especially enjoyed; the flavorful meat — tender like lean beef and slightly sweet — was marinated in parsley and peppercorn. Poe also serves some hefty appetizers, including potato ($10.95) topped with seven bacon tips (boar, pancetta, prosciutto, and more), a cheese sauce made with PBR beer, and fried oysters. And for a refreshing summer starter, try the lobster ($12.95), dripping with mouth-watering basil butter and served with sides of corn on the cob and coleslaw.
Sure, his Rattlesnake menu added bells and whistles, giving the spot’s pub food extra bite. But it’s at the Tip Tap Room that Poe looks set to make serious noise. The curious may come for the wide menagerie of meats, but they’ll come back for a chef who has harnessed his talents and created a refined menu that leaves us hungry like the wolf. Or maybe even the yak.