Pittsburgh Restaurant Scene
This is our 3rd and final stop, and even though we have enjoyed some great meals this week we have saved the best for last! Tonight we dine at Butcher & the Rye in the heart of the Cultural District downtown. It will just be D and me tonight, her Mom decided to stay in for the night.
You must be doing something right if you open a new restaurant right around the corner from your first restaurant (Meat&Potatoes) and both places are packed. That’s the empire Richard DeShantz is building downtown. He said he was turning away over 150 customers a night, so instead of letting them slip away to another restaurant he built a new place to catch the “overflow”. Both restaurants are similar and at the same time, very different.
While we were waiting for our drinks at the bar we were trying to decide how we would describe the décor/feel of the space. The best we could come up with was, imagine if Liberace, a Grandmother and a Backwoods Redneck combined to design a restaurant. We hope that paints a picture for you. There are elk antler chandeliers, plenty of animal mounts on the wall, felt wallpaper, marble tabletops, tons of mirrors, mismatched white chairs, and paintings on the wall. It is a lot to soak in, your eyes are constantly moving to new things. My personal favorite is the wall of Bourbon behind the bar; this place has over 350 options, ask for the bourbon list and they hand you an IPad. The cuisine here is pretty similar to M&P but with a focus more on small plates for sharing. The cocktails are just as stellar and there is a small but satisfying wine list. But if you come here and don’t consume bourbon/whiskey you aren’t doing it right.
For drinks D went with the Pittsburgh Smash, made with Wigle Rye (we love us some Wigle!), blackberry, lime, mint, vanilla syrup and bitters. I went with the Sazerac, Rittenhouse Rye, Absinthe, Demerara and bitters. As always, the drinks were out of this world fantastic! I also ordered a 2oz pour of Black Maple Hills Bourbon with my meal, it was a fantastic choice.
Now onto the food, they were offering a fantastic 4course-tasting menu. For $35, it was a no-brainer. Always order the bread! That is a rule, not a suggestion. Tonight’s bread was a rosemary focaccia served with whipped ricotta, white bean puree and olive tapenade. Homemade bread is always a good thing. D started with the Frisee Salad with boar bacon, confit potatoes, pickled onions, poached egg and vinaigrette. Any time a salad has boar bacon, fried potatoes and a poached egg you know that salad is going to be “Amazeballs!”. When I saw Pig Candy as an option for a first course I didn’t even look at anything else. A plump perfectly cooked hunk of pork belly, miso caramel, apple kimchee, and micro greens, pretty sure I heard angels singing as the server placed it in front of me.
Next up was the pasta course, D always goes Mac ‘n Cheese, I opted for the Dirty Pasta. Her pasta was tossed in cheddar, goat, tellegio, fontina, and Parmesan cheeses, then topped with breadcrumbs and baked, simple perfection. My dish was ground duck, strozzapretti, sage, brandy and pecorino romano; it was rich, slightly “gamey” from the duck, and small hints of sage and brandy builds the more you chew.
For mains D finally got a chance to try Monk Fish, it may be an incredibly ugly creature but damn is it delicious especially when it is served over blue crab risotto, asparagus, chanterelles, and capers. I went with the flank steak, cooked to a nice medium rare joined with a German potato salad, black garlic aioli and pickled mustard seeds. It was a mighty fine entrée indeed.
As is the case with most of our dining adventures by the time we get to dessert we are pretty full, but hey, it’s included in the meal! Luckily the portions for dessert were scaled back a little bit. D indulged in the DEEP-FRIED BROWNIE; yes I put that all in caps so you can make sure you read it correctly. I went with the Profiterole. My dessert almost seems light compared to the brownie but both were a great way to end a great meal.
Butcher & the Rye has immediately put itself in our Top 5 list of restaurants in this city! The ambiance is great (it is loud and crowded, you have been warned), the service is solid, and of course food and drink are top notch. We have told all of our friends to get down there ASAP!
This has been a great Restaurant Week. Each session the participating joints have stepped their game up. We hope you have enjoyed our posts and have gone out and enjoyed a meal at a new restaurant or hell even went back to an old favorite. Remember when you eat dinner out you have tons of amazing choices in this city. Skip the National Chains, they are only ever average at best. Find a locally owned place, show up hungry, grab a seat and enjoy. This city is growing and we hope it will only get better. We hope to see you out at your next meal. Cheers.
Butcher & the Rye
also on Facebook
212 6th St
Pgh, PA 15222
Reservations Strongly Suggested