Pittsburgh Restaurant Scene
Once again we find ourselves in the Strip District. Its lunchtime and we are hungry for sandwiches, and NO we will not be going to Primanti’s. We are going somewhere way better! Calm down all you Yinzers. We don’t dislike Primanti’s, it is just that Thin Man Sandwich Shop is making something really awesome. Not since eating at Salumi in Seattle have we been in awe of sandwiches.
Thin Man was opened last year by Dan & Sherri Leiphart (former Chefs @ Isabela on Grandview). As they told me, they were a little worn out with the fine dining/white tablecloth style of cooking. D and I ate at Isabela while they were there, believe us, they did fine dining very well! They wanted something more casual but they still wanted to focus on top quality ingredients that were the true focus of the restaurant (not the view). At Thin Man they are able to do just that, use the best seasonal ingredients in a laid back setting. It took them over 2 years before they picked this location. It’s in the former 21st Street Coffee Store. From the food and the smiles on the Chefs faces, they are very happy with their choice.
The space is small; there is a small upper level that has additional seating and during nice weather a couple tables are available for al fresco dining. The menu is on a giant chalkboard when you walk in. The kitchen is open and tight, however it is just the right size for a couple to cook in. This kind of place doesn’t need décor or anything fancy on the walls.
Normally when dealing with a restaurant that cooks with the seasons we tend to order from that side of the menu. This time though, we could not pass up ordering 2 of the Signature Sandwiches. We aren’t to upset about not ordering from the seasonal menu, we plan on getting down here for lunch as often as we can.
D ordered the Smash- goat milk marinated chicken breast, avocado, alfalfa sprouts, lemon-pickled green onions served on a warm multigrain baguette. I didn’t think any sandwich would be able to compete with what I ordered but this sandwich was delicious. The chicken was tangy and juicy, the sprouts were earthy and crisp, and the green onions had just the right amount of lemon/vinegar punch.
I had already made up my mind on what I was ordering, the namesake, the Thin Man Sandwich. This sandwich will go up against any takers and win rather easily. First, there is the rich and creamy chicken liver mousse, then crispy cooked local bacon, to cut the richness of those ingredients they dress frisee lettuce in red wine vinegar and stuff all of it inside a crunchy baguette. That first bite is just incredible! The bacon, the mousse, the bread, they just go together so damn well! Please do not be scared off by the chicken liver mousse. It is creamy and rich with just the tiniest bit of mineral taste you get from some organ meat. I could have this sandwich for every lunch the rest of my life and not be upset by it at all. Yeah, it is that good.
The sandwiches are filling enough but there are some great looking sides that can be ordered. They also change the sides with the seasons. For drinks they do offer house infused sodas, featuring Pittsburgh Seltzer Works. We just can’t pass up the “Mexican Coke” when it’s available.
There are plenty of spots for lunch in the Strip, hell, we have written about some of them on the blog. This may be the best option. The sandwiches are great, the space is laid back, and Dan & Sherri love what they are cooking. Plus the fact that the couple take your order, take your payment, and then cook and serve the food makes it very intimate. If you have walked past Thin Man on your way to somewhere else for lunch, turn around! These sandwiches aren’t messing around.
Thin Man Sandwich Shop
50 21st St
Pgh, PA 15222
Sat & Sun- 10:30am-5pm