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.