Thursday, August 23, 2012

Meet me at Meat & Potatoes

When Mama TOP came to town last weekend, PID and I were dying to take her somewhere yummy. After my last post, I had Brussels on the brain, so we headed downtown in the middle of rush hour to check out Meat & Potatoes!

The restaurant boasts a beautiful industrial-chic setting with the bar (and active, talented bartenders) as the focal point.  An educational wall mural gives you a brief tutorial on the cuts of beef as you chew and a pleasant patio sits adjacent to the dining room.

We started with a few cocktails to set the mood. Anytime you mix whiskey and honey, I'm in. So I went with an Up in Smoke - a combination of rye whiskey, smoked honey, lemon in a Laphroaig rinse (which basically means the bartender "rinsed" the inside of a shaker or my glass with a Laphroaing Scotch before pouring my drink which "juices up" the rye whiskey with a bit of malt).

This drink was light and refreshing and quenched my thirst while still giving me a swift kick in the pants.

Mama TOP went with my second choice and one that proved to be a great one. The El Segundo. Made my combining mezcal (a sugar cane, distilled alcohol), yellow chartreuse, pineapple, cilantro and jalepeno.

Brilliance, I tell you. Sheer brilliance.  Fruity and sugary with the bite of the jalepeno got the mouth party started for sure.

PID went a Manhattan on the rocks with a cherry. It was a bit strong for my taste, but any manly-man'll tell you this'll put some hair on your chest.

We were hungry, and so we ate (and ate, and ate). We started with an order of fresh mussels with a Thai curry sauce. Guests can choose from multiple sauces (which I'm sure change from day-to-day) when ordering their mussels, but I'll tell ya what, this Thai curry added a smooth kick that livened these mussels right up.

Mussels with Thai Curry Sauce and dipping bread: $16
The brussel sprouts were my entire reason for Flash fried and sauteed in oil and parmesan, these sprouts are beyond addicting. In fact, I'm pretty sure I hid them under my napkin when they arrived to monopolize them. They come with a dipping sauce that I couldn't tell you a thing about because I decided instantaneously that they didn't need it.

Fried Brussels: $5

It took some convincing, and her original demeanor at the suggestion twisted into nothing short of disgust, but we finally convinced Mama TOP that the Bone Marrow was an appropriate third appetizer. After taking a hesitant but courageous first bite, Mama TOP was a convert. The buttery taste and texture on top of the crunchy bread put any other spread to shame.

Bone Marrow with gremolata, onion relish, sea salt and capers: $14

(Guess who got the bones...)

After stuffing our faces with the appetizers, it was time to move on to entrees. Mama TOP and PID think alike, so they each went with the Waygu Flat Iron with wasabi mashed potatoes, miso butter, edamame and poached beech mushrooms (don't ask me what they are. I didn't ask, I have no idea, and I'm too lazy to Google. Just know they tasted earthy and delicious). For Waygu, we were all expecting a bit of a dreamier steak. The edges were a bit chewy. But the Asian-inspired FLAVORS were outstanding, especially when paired with the wasabi mashed - which I totally plan to steal.

Waygu Flat Iron: $28

I honestly can't tell you why I made this decision, but I went with the Short Rib Flat Bread. It's a bit better suited for a shared, pre-entree dish. Though the bleu cheese, arugula and juicy short ribs were delicious together, it became a one-note show after slice number four and I was hunting for a harmonious dish. Also, when the menu advertized bleu cheese and horseradish and I barely tasted either, I was ever so slightly disappointed.  My lesson: don't order flatbread at a butcher-bred Gastropub.

Short Rib Flatbread: $12

Finally, it was on to dessert. It was Restaurant week and with pre-fixe special menu a bread pudding was offered, but we only noticed this after we'd ordered our meals. Unfortunately we couldn't get the bread pudding without having first ordered the rest of the restaurant week menu. BUM-MER CITY. We would have loved to try it! However, blessing in disguise. PID ordered a toffee pudding instead and holy. Crap. It came out warm and gooey and the raspberry coulis gave it an outstanding touch. I was jealous that PID ordered it and not me.

Mama TOP and I shared the key lime pie. So we were a bit confused when this came. But TOPpers, I kid you not, this IS key lime pie! And a WONDERFUL key lime pie at that. Two layers of graham cracker is a foodie's wet dream and gives a great contrast to the smooth, creamy citrus filling.

Restaurant Information: 
Meat & Potatoes
Address: 649 Penn Ave, downtown PittsburghPhone: 412.325.7007 
Monday - Thursday 5-11 p.m.
Friday - Saturday 5 p.m. - 12 a.m.
Sunday 4 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Lunch served Wednesday - Friday 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Brunch served Saturday & Sunday 10:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Reservations: Highly recommended
Price: $$$+

Overall Opinion 

Overall, I really like this place. This particular dinner had it's flaws, but it's certainly not going to keep me from coming back or recommending it to others. The atmosphere and friendly service alone are worth raving about and they certainly know what they're doing when it comes to cocktails. I had been here once before during happy hour, ordered drinks and appetizers, and was completely in heaven. I'll tell you right now, I'll do that again and again.

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