Restaurants & Bars 4

Quick first-bite review of Meat & Potatoes

Whigsboy | Nov 22, 201112:53 PM

Finally made it to Meat & Potatoes in the "Cultural District" on Saturday night.

My overall impression is that the food was quite good but, if I'm going to be nitpicky, the kitchen needs to eventually expand its horizons a bit. More on that later.

First, those killer fried Brussel sprouts. Fantastic. I'd go back just to get them and I need to figure out how to make them on my own (roast, then fry?). There was a "dipping sauce," a blue-cheesy kind of thing. I didn't even ask. I didn't really care. The rest of the table agreed.

Devils on horseback app /"snack" was pretty good. These are chorizo-stuff dates wrapped in bacon, topped with a sweet sauce of some kind. Good, but a bit too sweet. The chorizo got lost.

I had a fewtastes of the mac n' cheese (pork belly, tallegio). Also quite good. The pork belly had the same flavor as the bacon to me, however.

Wedge salad, blue cheesey type dresssing and... bacon. The crunch of a big wedge of iceberg and the creamy dressing is just a great combo. Bacon could have been incorporated in a more subtle way, but others would probably say just the opposite.

The gnocchi bolognese. Again, quite good. Two people got this and raved. I had my share of it and it was good. There was pancetta and short rib in the bolognese. I got the flavor of those meats, but not a ton of the meat itself. The gnocchi were a bit too soft but otherwise a nice dish.

I didn't get to taste the short rib, so won't comment. Person who had it loved it.

I had the smoked pork chop, topped with pastrami and baked beans, with an apple slaw on the side. The pork itself was really good and loved the beans. The pastrami on top, well, tasted like... bacon, and the slaw was clearly an afterthought.

Desert, panna cotta with salted caramel topping. This was a miss for me. The desert comes in a little jar. Cute presentation, but the panna cotta wasn't particularly creamy, so the salted caramel topping (which was the whole reason my wife and I got it) couldn't be incorporated into the rest of the dish. The jar thing may work for some deserts, but not this one. And the panna cotta itself needs work.

Drank wine so can't comment on the cocktails. Service was good. A bit of a wait b/w apps and entrees, but I actually prefer that. Gives the stomach some time to recuperate and makes the meal more relaxing.

So I'd probably go back to Meat & Potatoes. But, back to the beginning here -- and I say this fully recognizing that the name of the restaurant has "meat" in it and that I'm being hypercritical -- but too many dishes (and we only had a few) have an excessive amount of meat w/ similar flavor profiles. Part of that is what we ordered. Looking back at the menu, there are starters and entrees that don't have these meats, but a LOT of them do.

So I guess that if I had to offer a recommendation, it would be to be a little less reliant on "meat" -- or at least particular meats -- or finding more creative ways to get hints of meats into dishes, other than, say, laying slabs of bacon on top of a big wedge salad or slabs of pastrami on a really nice, perfectly cooked smoked pork chop.

Overall, though, a nice addition to the downtown and Pittsburgh dining scene. Our table left perfectly satisfied and happy.

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