Strip by Strega, the opulent throwback steakhouse with Art Deco touches, deep leather booths, and a hotel-adjacent bar (the back door opens into the lobby at the Park Plaza hotel) is now open. But considering it’s owned by Nick Varano, he of many Italian restaurants throughout the North End, the waterfront, and north of Boston, you probably know that already. The man likes to throw a party.
But he also wants to make you comfortable while you spend the night here celebrating whatever needs celebrating, eventually taking down one of their 16-ounce prime dry-aged rib eye steaks. Or just popping in for a side of their insane hand-rolled potato gnocchi mac and cheese. Or both. It is graduation season, after all.
The Strega variation on the Bourbon Milk Punch has been rising in the collective drinking consciousness over the past few years. This drink got a cherry New York Times trend piece last year celebrating its revival, and there are a couple places in town that have a pretty solid program on the matter (see: Eastern Standard). But beverage director Kevin Kelly makes his using a method learned from Strega’s sister restaurant in Woburn, which, according to him, comes down to two things.
“Time and acid,” he says.
The two week process starts with a few raw ingredients: Jim Beam bourbon (“that might change if we have support,” says Kelly with a laugh), white sugar, dark chocolate, vanilla bean, lemon, and milk. The lemon, milk, bourbon, and sugar are mixed and the milk curdles.
“It’s a lot like making cheese,” says Kelly, which makes sense considering that when done the mixture is strained through actual cheesecloth to sort out the curdled particles, as well as the dark chocolate and vanilla beans that sit at the bottom. The mixture is slowly drained over and through the cloth, and the spirit is bottled and used as a happy exclamation point to the end of any meal here, courtesy of the house.
“I’ve been making this specific recipe for about four years,” says Kelly. “It’s a slow, arduous process, but Nick wanted to do something unique, and I don’t know of any other steakhouses in town doing it.”
BOURBON MILK AT STRIP BY STREGA. NOW OPEN. 64 ARLINGTON ST., BOSTON. 617-456-5300. STRIPBYSTREGABOSTON.COM
Dan is a freelance journalist and has written for publications including Vice, Esquire, the Daily Beast, Fast Company, Pacific Standard, MEL, Leafly, Thrillist, and DigBoston.