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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Eddie Merlot's


Eddie Merlot's has been open at the site of the old Palomino restaurant for the last year or so.  They did a wonderful job on the renovations. The space is very bright and roomy with a sprawling bar and a welcoming interior.You are practically obligated to dress up in order to sit at the bar.

Although the online menu advertises that the Pittsburgh location runs happy hour from 4 PM to 7 PM, the menu lies like a small time crook. The bartender informed me that happy hour ended at 6 PM and this is how things had been since the dawn of time.

If you are headed to Eddie's outside of the allotted time for happy hour, bring your checkbook. A domestic beer will run you upwards of $6. This means that if you work at a McDonald's in the greater Pittsburgh area an entire days pay will only get you slightly buzzed at Eddie Merlot's - which, of course, will be essential because you likely hate your job at McDonald's.

We tried a few appetizers to help us savor our expensive domestic beers. The smoked bacon and brussels sprout flat bread was a huge disappointment. The base was more of a fancy cracker than a traditional doughy crust. The toppings were also a let down. The flavors of the brussels sprouts and the manchego cheese were entirely overpowered by the salty sweet combination of the bacon and tomato jam.

The carpaccio was quite tasty but the dish was just trying too hard, like a beautiful woman covered in whore's makeup. Thinly sliced raw filet mingnon needs few accompaniments. For my money I like carpaccio prepared simply with some oil, arugula and parmesan cheese. The Eddie Merlot's version came with some wonderful potato chips, water cress, capers, truffle aioli and a thick balsamic glaze - all swimming in  a pool of oil. Although it was delicious, I'm once again very concerned about the status of my gout.

I should say that overall I recommend Eddie Merlot's as the service was fantastic and the interior was extremely lavish. However, try to make it during their incorrectly advertised happy hour so you can take home a portion of your hard earned salary.

 Eddie Merlot's on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fat Tommy's Pizzeria

X-Large Fat Louie

Fat Tommy's is certainly one of the stranger restaurants in Market Square. Their hours are seemingly by appointment or chance and most of the customers appear to be very well acquainted with the bar staff. By 7 pm they were basically chasing us out the door.

The offerings were standard for any pizza restaurant: pizza, calzones, subs and salads. If you want to order the sicilian style pizza, be sure to call ahead of time. They were unwilling to prepare one at 6 pm.

I thought the pizza was pretty good, but many of the other happy hour patrons mentioned that they did not find it remarkable. It had a thicker bread-like crust and was light on cheese and sauce. I ordered my pie with bacon and banana peppers. (This has become my go-to order for new pizza restaurants.)

Whenever I order bacon on a pizza I'm accustomed to receiving some thin burnt up garbage generally lacking in flavor. Much to my liking, Fat Tommy's used a nice thick cut bacon with a rich smokey flavor. It really added a lot to the quality and overall appeal of the pizza - causing me to consume roughly six slices.

Much like Fat Tommy's website, which does not have a menu or any pertinent information, the restaurant itself is lacking a general je ne sais quoi. Overall the pizza is passable and the employees were very friendly. I would certainly recommend stopping in for a quick bite.  Bonus points if you dare to explore the hidden bathroom or the perplexing art work.

 Fat Tommy's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hough's - Greenfield


People are constantly talking about Hough's. For the last several years every beer snob in town has raised their nose at my ignorance as to Hough's and the Copper kettle. (If you are unfamiliar with the Copper Kettle they are located in the same building as Hough's and they make a variety of craft beer. They'll even let you make your own.)

The bar at Hough's is somewhat intimidating, very well lit and very clean. Entirely too sterile for my taste. I like my drinking holes to be warm, with low lighting and well worn furniture. Nothing is more inviting than a dark hidey-hole with  leather sofas.  Hough's has none of these qualities. It is a sort of super bright beer emporium with an outrageously large beer menu. (Comparable to the Sharp Edge but with some local flare and better price points.)

I inquired about the Hough's Hops chicken wings and the bartender suggested I order the hot wings with the hop wing sauce on the side.  He said that the hop sauce wasn't always a crowd pleaser.

The hop sauce was very bitter with floral aromas and a unique savory quality I'd typically associate with French herbs. The chef would not tell me what was in the sauce, but it seemed like a simple mixture of butter, oil and hops. The wings were excellent, they could have been crispier, but they had a nice smoke flavor and the hop sauce complimented the hot sauce quite well.

Hough's wasn't exactly my speed, but I'd certainly recommend it to any beer aficionado. Personally, I was a bigger fan of the Wingreen right down the street. You can't beat a smoking bar with $2 domestic drafts and an interior that looks like grandpa has been single since the late 70s. 

 Hough's on Urbanspoon