surf globally, eat locally
December 2012

Tip Tap Room Wild Game Specials
By Cheryl Fenton

You know the spicy kicks of his South American-meets-Mexican fare at Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake Bar and Grill. Those flavorful ghost chili, habanero and jalapeno-infused dishes that set your tongue ablaze yet leave you craving more, and perhaps questioning your stance on sadomasochism.

Now Chef Brian Poe takes a walk on the wild side, as he taps into the exotic delicacy department at his Tip Tap Room in Boston Back Bay. With a revolving board of the tips du jour (think elk and yak), he keeps us guessing.

Just a half year on the dining scene, Tip Tap has stopped the annoying question “where’s the beef” in its tracks with an ever-changing selection of unusual meats the likes of which Boston has never seen.

“Any type of tip we could do, we do it,” says Poe. And they do. It’s a wide menagerie of meats - yak, elk, ostrich, venison, bison, antelope, wild boar and kangaroo. Yes, we said kangaroo. Air-lifted from ranches in Texas and New Jersey, they have these fresh cuts of game delivered daily. Oh yeah, they also have beef, chicken and turkey for those who don’t wish to go hog wild. “We’re getting back to bar food but making it good,” says Poe. “But we didn’t realize we had something until we went through 30 pounds of yak in the first day.”

And of course, the timing couldn’t be better for this meat madness. With Paleolithic on the lips of diet trend followers, The Tip Tap Room fits well into this au currant line of thinking that begs the question, “What would Joe Caveman eat?” With the answer of unprocessed foods, lean meats and fresh produce, the lean game at Poe’s place is properly raised on massive free ranges. And we’re pretty sure if wooly mammoths were around today, they would be up on Poe’s menu board.

Every six hours the board’s offerings change, with new blends of textures and tastes. “I haven’t done anything the same yet. I think what’s seasons, what do I feel like today,” he says. Sometimes he lets his spicy nature creep into the tips, with dishes like the habanero and crushed red pepper rubbed wild boar rack, while others he reigns it in like basil and garlic marinated kangaroo and bacon-wrapped antelope filet.

The “tips” and “taps” concept is a simple one that still has a complex execution. Call it a culinary learning curve, since game is quite literally a completely different beast than the typical cow or chicken. For instance, the muscular grain of a kangaroo must be cut a certain way. Also yak embraces the grill flavor more than other meats.

“I did tons of research,” says Poe. “For instance, I know that I usually let my marinade go for 12 hours but [with game] it needs to go further on some meats to break them down.”

While the Tip Tap Room dishes out a variety of inventive “tips,” there’s always something cold to wash it down. The yin to the yang of the menu is the complementing immense selection of beers on “tap.” Their beverage program is heavily rooted in craft bourbons and 36 selections of beers on tap (a mix of local, domestic and international imports).

It’s the casual vibe that helps the Tip Tap Room stay accessible to any type of crowd, from gourmet foodies to just good ole steak-and-potato lovers who might want to branch out.

“We’re not trying to be stuffy. We’re just doing good bar food,” says Poe.

And with Poe’s innate and well-known ability to conjure up intriguing flavor combinations, we think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Tip Tap Room is located at 138 Cambridge Street, Boston, 857.350.3344

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