Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Meat and Potatoes - Restaurant Review

Meat and Potatoes is located in the heart of the cultural district in Downtown Pittsburgh.  If the name alone of this acclaimed gastro pub doesn’t make you hungry, I don’t know what will.  Since its opening in the spring of 2011, Chef Richard Deshantz has redefined comfort food and stick-to-your-ribs delicacies at Meat and Potatoes with ingenuity and class.
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I’ve had the pleasure of dining at Meat and Potatoes a few times and with each visit, I am eager to return.  The atmosphere relaxed and chic in a setting that is best described as rustic elegance.  In other words… you’ll feel cool and hip when you’re there. 

The libations menu is filled with categories such as “prohibition, repeal, barrel-ages, and absinthe”, in addition to beers in a can, red and white wines, and sparkles (aka Champagne).    Inventive concoctions such as “Blood & Sand” (scotch / cherry herring / orange / antica formula) and other drinks that could put hair on your chest are the perfect start to your Meat and Potatoes experience.  
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The snack menu offers old time favorites such as buttermilk fried chicken livers, devils on horseback, and fried Brussels.  I went for the grilled bread/goat cheese butter/rhubarb jam combination.  How bad could something with grilled bread and my beloved goat cheese be?  To be honest, I was hoping for a stronger goat cheese flavor (mainly because I’m obsessed with it), but the tart punch from the rhubarb jam made up for it, and it turned out to be a perfectly balanced flavor combination between the sweet creamy butter and the jam that made you pucker. 
The diversity of the appetizer menu is impressive to say the least.  Things like bone marrow with grilled bread, mac-n cheese with pastrami pork belly, and duck liver pate top the list.  On one visit I ordered the risotto with wild mushrooms truffle and parmesan.  The risotto was carefully tended to and was both al dente and creamy at the same time.  Such rich flavors like truffle and parmesan did not overwhelm the flavor of this dish, but rather married together like a perfect waltz.   The smoked wings in a whiskey buffalo sauce were amazing.  Large and meaty sized wings drenched in a robust and tangy sauce that offered the perfect amount of heat, did exactly what an appetizer course should do… leave you wanting more. 
Meat and Potatoes also offers a few flat breads which are great to share, or even have as your main course, which is what I did.  I confidently ordered the flat bread with short ribs, blue cheese, cheddar, arugula and horseradish.  With an ingredient combination like this, I know I wouldn’t suffer from order remorse in the least bit… and I was right.  The bread was thin and crispy and the blue cheese and cheddar worked beautifully with the tenderness of the short ribs.  The peppery arugula and sharpness of the horseradish were a perfect complement to the main ingredients.  
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One friend bravely ordered the giant rib eye which arrived on a butcher block accompanied by a very large weapon knife.  The star of this plate however, was the side of bone marrow butter.  Having never tried bone marrow before, I was eager for my ceremonial first taste.  It tasted like your first whiff of a roast slowly cooking in the oven after coming inside from a cold snowy day… with butter… creamy delicious butter.   It was really good, but to be honest, scooping it out of an actual bone was slightly off-putting and mildly barbaric for me.  But then again, I'm a wimp.  On another visit, my date order the smoked pork chop with pastrami,  mouth watering baked beans and spicy apple slaw.  Delicious on all accounts, but the rugged presentation, much like the rib eye and bone marrow, was a little too “yabba dabba do” for my liking.  Oddly enough, I caught several men admiring the meat dishes… it’s a manly thing I suppose.

My favorite meal of all at Meat and Potatoes was the Bolognese.  It came with gigantic ribbons of Pappardelle pasta which embraced a tomato sauce of short ribs, pancetta and pork shoulder.  It was hands down, the best Bolognese I’ve ever eaten.  EVER. 
I’ve recommended Meat and Potatoes to scads of people, as I think thereis something for everyone here.  It is a great place for a date, particularly a first date because it is relaxed but a little fancy too without being stuffy or pretentious.   It’s also a great place to catch up with friends, or even hang out at the bar.  I am looking forward to having brunch at Meat and Potatoes, as they offer chicken with a cheddar jalapeno waffels, and a french toast made with beer and bananas - both of which sound intriguing and totally awesome. 
Bravo, Meat and Potatoes, Bravo!

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1 comment:

Zach said...

I love Meat and Potatoes. Had one of the best burgers of my life there. Also have had brunch there, the juevos rancheros. Everything was excellent. Great review.

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