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Friday, October 30, 2015

The Yard - Market Square

Mayor McCheese

I am very happy to say that only one week after I had a terrible patty-melt, I had a fantastic hamburger at The Yard in Market Square. The place is located in a rather peculiar building close to NOLA on the Square. It used to be this strange old Italian restaurant that never had any patrons, now it is a vibrant hangout for bankers and office jockeys with several large televisions.  Also, I must mention that it is very loud. They really need to do something about the acoustics of the space. This was either an extremely serious issue or I am aging rapidly.  

On Thursdays The Yard runs a, "burger and beer" special that is pretty special. You get a Mayor McCheese hamburger and a draft beer for $10. Considering the burger typically runs for $11, I approve of this special. In addition to daily food specials, they also offer a half off appetizer special during happy hour. Again, I approve! 

The Mayor McCheese sports two four ounce beef patties, American cheese, greens, tomato, onion and garlic aioli on a brioche bun. I assumed they were going for a McDonalds Big Mac vibe.While the burger was remarkably tasty, it was not entirely in the style of a Big Mac. Where are the pickles? Where is the sesame seed bun and how about that middle piece of bread and the nondescript pink sauce?

In all honesty the brioche bun was better than a McDonald's bun. It was very fresh and wonderfully toasted with a buttery exterior. The beef was also considerably better than the beef you would find on any Big Mac. For my tastes, it was cooked perfectly. Medium with lots of pink in the middle. Considering I was not asked how I wanted the burger cooked, I was extremely pleased by the result. This gave me some concerns regarding consistency. I will be sure to investigate on my next visit.

                                                                                         SAVE THE MAYOR                                                                                 (This sonofabitch spawned a million dollar lawsuit when H.R. Puffnstuff came after McDonald's for copyright infringement)

I only have two complaints regarding The Yard. IT WAS WAY TOO LOUD! Get it sorted guys. I'm only reiterating this because it was deafeningly loud. Also, I had to send my check back so that my burger and a beer special would be honored. They were very apologetic.

 Below I've included a video of some absolutely crazy woman making Big Mac's at home! She's nuts but enticingly sexy in a strange way. Maybe I get turned on by food? Yep, probably.

 The Yard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Bill's Bar and Burger

Garbage Melt

I hate disappointment. I would say that it is easily one of my least favorite emotions, second only to jealousy. Boy was Bill's Bar and Burger a massive let down. New York Magazine gave Bill's a glowing review and rated them 7/10. My esteemed colleague, The Steel Trap, said, "One bite of the burgers, and it's clear why they're so decorated with awards and recognition; the praise is warranted."

In addition to all the critical praise, the very stylish renovations and the reasonable prices, Bill's is located in a primo spot at the Westin hotel downtown. When a restaurant does so well in New York that they make it to Pittsburgh, I believe that high expectations are entirely reasonable. *Begin Rant*

Although the one bartender was extremely nice, service was disgraceful. At times it took upwards of 10 minutes to get a drink at a bar that was not even close to being  full. The space is easily equipped to handle well over 200 patrons, but the staff was ill equipped to handle 30.

Drinks were mislaid, tabs were mishandled and bar guests were forced into the shackles of sobriety. At the end of the night I even had to remind them to place an entire round of drinks on my tab that they had seemingly forgot about. (I know, I'm a total moron.)

THAT WASN'T EVEN THE WORST PART. My patty-melt was a garbage-melt. The greasy, butter-laden bread created the sensation of eating a sandwich dipped in vaseline. The meat was extremely salty and over-cooked and worst of all  -  I bit into a giant onion skin that I had to pull out of my mouth.  I don't say this lightly. I would rather eat at Arby's.

As a side note, the charred broccoli wasn't bad.  *End Rant*

 Bill's Bar & Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, October 16, 2015

Blush Sports Bar

The Steak
It probably only happens two or three times a year. But occasionally I am absolutely shocked by the quality of food I receive from some bizarre eatery located on this planet. In 2012 I did my first review of Blush. At the time the only choices on the menu were french fries, chicken tenders and pizza. All cooked in a microwave.  While the girls at Blush never change, the menu has certainly improved.

Blush recently opened a "sports bar" on their third floor. There are quite a few perks compared to your typical gentleman's club atmosphere. It is nice a roomy, there is no cover, there are several televisions, there are a few dartboards and the food is quite good and reasonably priced. This was a very unexpected surprise from an establishment that offers dishes with adorable names like: the "home wrecker", the "tip rail" and the "lap dance."

I have to say I was absolutely thrilled with my hanger steak. It was perfectly cooked, very flavorful and it had a lovely texture. I particularly enjoyed the horseradish cream sauce and the healthy servings of wilted arugula and crisp potato wedges. It was quite a bargain as well at $18. What an age we live in where you can get a steak dinner cheaper than a lap dance!

Now, you will notice that I described Blush's new venue as a "sports bar."  That is because they barely even played the game audio for a prime time Steelers game and there are naked girls dancing in the corner on a small stage. I'm not really much for strip clubs. I don't like the pressure of girls trying to make me buy them drinks or pay for private dances. (Feminists claim that such venues exploit women. I believe they are exploitative of both sexes.) I'm down with some casual "sports bar" nudity, but I would prefer to hear the Steelers game. Sorry girls. 

Crab Cakes

All around, I had a great dining experience. I don't think I've been so pleasantly surprised by a meal in ages. Drinks were a little on the pricey side, but hey, like I said, there was lots of nudity and the steak was cheap.