Tag Archives: gastropub
August 3, 2016
Restaurant: Dive Bar & Grille
Location: The lower part of Upper Lawrenceville where Alchemy N’Ale used to be.
Atmosphere: The exposed brick, tin ceiling tiles and esoteric light fixtures added a nice touch of gastropub coolness to the otherwise casual “classic American diner” vibe.
Menu: Wings, quesadillas, tacos, sliders, salad bowls, sandwiches, burgers and just about anything else you might need*.
* Shut up. Just shut up. You had me at “tacos.”
Food: I’m a sucker for po’boys. Lobster po’boys, shrimp po’boys, oyster po’boys, hell, I even like the song “Po’Boy” by Bob Dylan. So when I saw that Dive had a shrimp po’boy with chipotle aioli*, which you could also add a crab cake to for an additional $2**, it quickly moved ahead of all the other mouthwatering options. #MalacostracaDoubleDown
The sandwich turned out to be a real winner. Big ol’ chunks of moist crab cake covered the bottom of the sizable roll, which along with the cornmeal-crusted shrimp provided an ocean’s worth of seafood goodness. The side of fries was a little lackluster, but I still ate every one so who am I to complain.
I paired my food with a Jibe Session IPA (American IPA, 4% ABV) from Green Flash Brewing. Its crisp texture and light-citrus taste made for a perfectly refreshing lunchtime libation. The beer rounded out a delicious meal of crustacean goodness that even Squidward Tentacles couldn’t complain about.
* Chip Aioli would make a great name for a contestant on The Next Food Network Star…
** Can you believe that!?? Only 2$?!?! I wish that everything came with the option of adding a crab cake for two bucks. And not just food either. Oil changes, haircuts, lap dances…what wouldn’t be improved with the addition of a two dollar crab cake?
Final Call: The fact that Dive has a location in the North Hills suburbs and not the South hills suburbs near my house makes me angry. Other than that, everything’s awesome!
June 1, 2016
Butcher and the Rye is Pittsburgh’s bestest restaurant. Everything about it is par excellence – from the drinks to the décor to the cuisine. Their Brussels sprout are seriously one of the most delicious appetizers in the friggin’ world…and don’t even get me started on the scallops….or the pig candy…or the yuzu sour…or the hanger steak…etc.
Since all the superlatives in the world wouldn’t begin to explicate how awesome this place is, I decided that the only way to come close to conveying it’s greatness is to populate my review with semi-relevant quotes from the best movie of all time – Pulp Fiction. Please enjoy my review below, and remember, nobody kills anybody in my place of business except me or Zed.
“Warmer! Warmer! Disco!” – Mia Wallace
“Mmmm! Goddamn, Jimmie! This is some serious gourmet shit!” – Jules Winnfield
“Bacon tastes gooood. Pork chops taste gooood.” – Vincent Vega
June 10, 2015
Restaurant: The Commoner.
Location: Inside Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco near the Omni William Penn.
Atmosphere: The steel beams, dark wood and gleaming marble gave the dimly lit dining space an aristocratic ambiance that Jay Gatsby would have approved of.
Menu: Upscale gastropub grub (i.e. barrel-aged and grass fed errthang).
Food: After enjoying a roasty and robust Yards Washington’s Tavern Porter (English Porter, 7% ABV), my group was seated and we quickly put in some appetizer orders to share – the pork cheeks and bone marrow. The marrow was wonderfully unctuous and a welcome savior for the somewhat-dry accompanying grilled bread. The pork cheeks were braised to fork tender and had a baconesque fatty flavor that made me quickly forget the cringe-inducing idea that I was gnawing on a pig’s face.
For my main course I went with the lamb shank and I can’t say that it was love at first bite. The lamb regrettably turned out to be a little tougher than I usually like, though I think following up the supple marrow and pork cheeks helped contribute to my critical assessment. After completing my bovine–porcine–ovine trifecta, my wife and I split the Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert. It was basically ice cream, caramel sauce and a “steamed date cake”, which doesn’t sound terribly exciting but trust me, it was a-friggin-mazing and I now want to eat it every night before bed.
Service: Our waitress was super nice, though a bit underdressed for such a swanky place. Then again, I had on a Patagonia jacket so who am I to judge?
Final Call: Though The Commoner met my expectations as Pittsburgh’s next “cool” restaurant, in the end I kept likening it to Better Call Saul. It has all the quality elements covered to the finest detail, but seems to lack some sense of originality that was captured by its contemporaries Meat & Potatoes and Grit & Grace (or in Better Call Saul’s case, Breaking Bad and Mad Men). Regardless, The Commoner’s romantic charm and elevated cuisine definitely earn it a place as one of our city’s coolest restaurants.