Month: April 2011

BRGR – April 13, 2011 (Guest Blog by Blake Tarr)


Oh the burger revolution, with the ongoing advent of Foodie culture, there has been a movement to the appreciation of food to degrees unseen before; your typical hot dog can becomes a work of art which belongs in an art gallery instead of your large intestine. Thus you can purchase a gourmet burger, I repeat gourmet burgers, the concept really boggles my mind! Burgers are meant to be delicious, simple and delicious. An unhealthy guilty pleasure where a man can relive his prehistoric roots and engulf an animal that has roamed the purple mountain majesties above the fruited plains!  Taking a burger to fine dining just strikes me as generally wrong; if a chain smoking waitress named sue with a blue apron isn’t asking me “Would you like fries sugar?” I feel I am missing something!

With that being said back to BRGR, I went into the establishment after work and the first think I noticed looking at the decor was I felt underdressed!  Again, I just came from work so when business casual is underdressed for a burger joint let’s just say it gave me pause. The inside of the establishment resembled an apartment of a hipster and yuppie cohabiting a new york loft. If this seems like the location that you want to ingest grade A angus beef go right ahead, I was still looking for Sue to come around. The inside: trendy, elegant, refined (everything a burger should not be)  We got offered to sit on the rooftop which the host said was beautiful, again when I am attempting to ingest butchered cow, beautiful isn’t exactly what I am intending.

When reaching upstairs, they had a nice rooftop enclosure which was heated, since the day was slightly chilly. There was no dedicated bartender upstairs so if you wanted a beer on draft you could only order one downstairs (Alcoholic Milkshakes, and Beer Bottles were offered upstairs). Burger with no draft beer, I was about to throw a shoe at the wonderful waitress. Sitting down and calming myself I noticed this seemed like a comfortable place to eat a burger, not as stuffy and metro as downstairs.  I ordered a chocolate covered cherry spiked milkshake, which had cherry vodka, cherries and grated dark chocolate, I gotta say not bad! You tasted every flavor present, and definitely tasted the vodka. It was a nice novelty, maybe this place would start to grow on me.  We ordered fries, which had Parmesan cheese and herbs on top and they were quite tasty, we added the truffle cheese whiz which was a delicious dipping sauce!  (Warning: As you know I am lactose intolerant, so after ingesting the milkshake and cheese fries I began to second guess my dining options, but the food was so tasty, it was something I was willing to pay for!)

Now what you are curious about, the burger. first and foremost, my expectations were a place that you could build your own burger, this was not the case. For a place that specializes in burgers the options are relatively limited.  6 angus beef burgers, 1 salmon burger, 1 turkey burger, 1 veggie burger, 1 pork burger, 1 kobe beef burger, and a few other options. No substitutions is written in big bold letters! Even at Wendy’s I can have it my way! A burger place where I can’t customize my order, oh no BRGR we have a problem ( and where are the vowels in the name, I understand the general rules of the English language!)

I orderd the Shroomz Angus Burger cooked medium, that is what I received! The burger itself was cooked perfectly, the flavors were sadly one note, a tasty burger yes, was I transported to anywhere other than a rooftop in East Liberty, no! No flavor really came out at me, the brie cheese, the mushrooms, the carmelized onions, the mustard aioli. Not bad, flavors were muddled, you could say harmonized if you want, I will say it was just a good burger. The only criticism with the burger was the bun. Soft and delicious but my bun started to fall apart a bit upon tooth destruction of my burger. I would have liked a more hearty bun.

BRGR (where are the freaking vowels!) service was nice and quick, we had a nice conversation with one of our waitresses, but alas, I don’t think I will be returning, while it was a ok time, paying for gourmet prices for an OK time is simply not ok. In Pittsburgh there are a plethora of gourmet burger joints (Burgatory, The Pittsburgh Burger Company, Fat Heads) sadly BRGR you don’t cut the mustard….

5997 Penn Circle South
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Phone- 412-362-BEEF(2333)
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BRGR on Urbanspoon


Tilted Kilt – April 6, 2011

The Tilted Kilt on the North Shore opened up last Monday April 4, where Calico Jack’s used to be (so glad that place is gone). Some friends and I stopped down last Wednesday to give the place a try after work. The tag line of the Titled Kilt is “a cold beer never looked so good” and is definitely sports bar/restaurant. The bar is a decent size with a lot of seating around it along with tons of seating in the front of the restaurant and in back by the pool table and darts. I will try to refrain myself from discussing any of the … ahem… sights, and focus on the food and drinks.


I have to start off with what I didn’t like the most and that was the drinks. If you are going to the Titled Kilt for a beer, good call, but I thought that $5 was a little much for a draft. I then ordered a “Montgomery Tea” that has fresh brewed Tea, Lemonade and Seagram’s Sweet Tea Vodka. By far the Montgomery Tea was one of the worst alcoholic drinks I have ever had, the tea was good, but I couldn’t even taste any alcohol in it (if they even made it properly). That was by far my biggest disappointment with the Titled Kilt, I will probably never order a mixed drink again there.


Now onto the food…


Started with a signature appetizer, TK Irish Nachos “fresh-cooked crispy potato chips covered with cheese sauce, seasoned ground beef and tomatoes”. The potato chips were a cut thicker than an average potato chip, but they were pretty decent. If you read that description of the food, that is exactly what you got. I didn’t think the Irish Nachos were anything special and probably wouldn’t get them again, but it was worth trying out. Our waitress hyped the classic nachos with chicken, I plan on getting them next time. My friend got an order of the “Five Quid Squid” or calamari, and that was some of the worst calamari I have ever had it was fried too hard and was dry, the marinara sauce on the side couldn’t save it. Another friend got some wings to start with and ordered the TK Signature Sauce which is Sweet & Spicy, and also the most mild sauce on the menu. That was pretty tasty, it was sweet and had a great kick to it as well. I’m not sure if I could handle the hottest “Kilt Burner Sauce” but might try in the middle of just the “Titled Sauce”.


Now onto what saved the night for me…Fat Bastard’s Meatloaf Sandwich – “a generous portion of our made-from-scratch meatloaf served open faced on a hoagie, drizzled with our delicious Guinness BBQ Sauce and topped with shoestring onions. The meatloaf was alright, by itself it’s nothing to write home about, but the Guinness BBQ Sauce… that right there… saved the whole entire trip for me! I’m having a Homer Simpson right now just thinking about it! The Guinness BBQ Sauce was sweet with a kick and you could really taste the Guinness in it compared to some places that add stuff and is rare to taste. I would go back to the Tilted Kilt just for the Guinness BBQ Sauce (among a few other things, but I digress).


The night was ended with the Tilted Guilt – a partially baked Chocolate Chip or White Chocolate Macadamia Nut (I went with the White Chocolate) cookie served hot from the oven, topped with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Syrup. This dessert was on point, I usually don’t eat dessert out but this sounded too good to pass up and I was really glad I didn’t. They might as well call in diabetes in a bowl!


Overall I wasn’t really impressed with the food at the Titled Kilt, would I go back to try some other stuff? Probably. Would I make it a regular spot? No. I might wait a few weeks to go back and see if some of the problems I had with the drinks and food were just early growing pains or if it seems to be recurring. I’m sure guys out there will def check it out ASAP just cause. If anyone does go, let me know what you think of the food and or anything else there…



353 Northshore Dr

Pittsburgh, PA, 15212

Phone – 412-235-7823


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The Tilted Kilt on Urbanspoon

Rizzo’s Malabar Inn – January & February 2011

My Uncle has been wanting to go to Rizzo’s for a few months now after he read an article in the newspaper about them, then we went to a food & wine show at the Monroeville Convention Center and tasted a little of their food and he wanted to go even more. So on New Years Eve the whole family took the trip out for dinner. Rizzo’s is so popular in the area that they have 2 locations across the street from one another, the main restaurant and then the bar across the street that also serves the full menu. For New Years reservations were so busy that we ate at the bar. Funny thing is that the restaurant is the only kitchen so the staff actually has to cart the food over to the bar for service, but I will give them credit that the food is as hot as it would be eating on the restaurant side of the street.


For starters we ordered some stuffed banana peppers, at least we thought they were supposed to be stuffed because when they came out they were only the peppers sautéed in oil and garlic topped with asiago cheese. Wasn’t really crazy about this dish, I think it would’ve been better if it had some type of sausage or beef stuffing. My family also ordered some Polenta with marinara sauce. I am not a fan of polenta but I tried it to try it and wasn’t bad. I think you have to have a taste for polenta and I just don’t have it.


For the main course, I love it when a restaurant I have never been to before points something out on the menu that they are known for or is a signature dish. On Rizzo’s menu next to the Veal Parmigiana they list it as “WORLD FAMOUS”. I just had to get that with a side of spaghetti. The Veal on the menu is listed as fresh hand-breaded, milk fed veal topped with mushrooms, melted provolone cheese and sauce. When the meal came, the first thing I noticed was how sauce heavy the plates were. I am not sure if I should complain about that because some Italian restaurants don’t put enough sauce on so I am inconsistent on my thoughts about if I liked how much sauce was on the dish. The main problem I had with it is that I felt the sauce was trying to cover something up, the veal in my opinion was very small for the amount of sauce, I felt like I was paying more for the sauce and not the Veal. What I could eat of it was tasty and seemed to be cooked well, but I just felt like I was eating more sauce than anything in the meal. Just off of that dinner I wasn’t crazy about making a return trip seeing as 2 things I was looking forward to (peppers and veal) disappointed me especially with one dish being labled as “world famous”.


In February was my Uncle’s birthday and my sister and I wanted to treat him to the dinner of his choice, he chose a return trip to Rizzo’s. We got there and started our meals with a Caesar Salad and this was the biggest dinner salad I have ever had, it was almost a full salad bowl filled for each of us. For new years we each had a dinner side salad and this topped that for sure! Basic Caesar with Romaine Lettuce topped with Caesar dressing, shredded provolone, croutons and of course anchovies! That was almost a meal in itself, but we still had dinner coming. I had the Chicken and Broccoli Rab Ravioli, a lot of Italians love Broccoli Rab and talk about it a lot, my family has never had it so that was a selling point for me on this dish. It was Ravioli filled with a mixture of ricotta cheese, chicken and broccoli rab topped with melted asiago cheese and choice of marinara or alfredo sauce. I went with the alfredo, figured it would make it almost like a Fettuccine Alfredo. Once again the meal wasn’t without fault, the ravioli pasta broke very easily and was inconsistent in texture and cooking that some pasta tasted raw. Once again the dish was very heavy sauced and again I felt like the sauce was covering something up.


I’m not sure if a third trip will ever be made to Rizzo’s, I know I won’t recommend it but if that’s where the family wants to go I guess I will have to follow. It’s hard for me to belive that Rizzo’s is as popular as they are in the area and the good things I have heard. For the 30-45 minute drive for me to get there I know I won’t make the trip myself or take people, but if you are close to the restaurant it might be exactly what you are looking for in a close Italian restaurant.


123 Keener Dr
Crabtree, PA

Phone- 724-836-4323


Rizzo's Malabar Inn on Urbanspoon

Local Bar + Kitchen – March 24, 2011

Local just opened a few weeks ago on March 12, and last week was my boy Vic’s bday and since he works on the South Side we figured we would check out the new place for lunch. We sat at the bar, the downside was it being a work day and couldn’t have a liquid lunch, but the bar was fully stocked and it is def on my list to drink at soon to get the full effect. The whole atmosphere in the restaurant was cool, it had a loft apartment feel to it and I can really see this place being popular with the college crowd.


Onto the real reason we are here…THE FOOD!


I have to start with my favorite first, “Beat-the-Buffalo Bills Chicken Pizza” awesome name! Mild buffalo tossed chicken, banana pepper, mozzarella, provolone & fries with ranch on the side. Yea your taste buds are going into overdrive right now just reading that! First bite was flavor town, especially with the parmesan seasoning that was on the crust and pan just helped the flavors explode. The first few bites not bad, everything was flavorful and not a ton of heat, fries gave something unique to a pizza. Then BAM! I have had a lot of buffalo chicken items over the years; by far this was one of the best/spiciest I have ever had. I like to think I can take heat, and let me say the pizza wasn’t overkill, just every so often kick to the throat. I guess I have to give the warning that if you just like buffalo chicken where it has weak flavor, this pizza probably isn’t for you, but if you like some bite in your buffalo chicken, THIS IS A MUST TRY! If I do a Pizza Challenge again for this blog, Local is going to be on the list for sure.


A couple appetizers we tried were the Vegetable Spring Rolls & honey hot BBQ wings. The wings had a good hard fry on them which is the way I like them and the sauce was really good too. The Spring Rolls were nice, only downside is that they are supposed to come with a hot mustard or duck sauce and they were out of the hot mustard that day, no worries I understand early growing pains. I’m not a big fan of duck sauce, don’t really think it adds anything so I feel like I didn’t get the full affect of the spring rolls but I’ll make sure I try them again on the next visit. Vic got a “Big Fat Chubby Burgher” and it looked really good, gotta add that to the list too.


Local Bar + Kitchen opens daily at 11am and I recommend that you try them out in person and on the web:


16th and East Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA

Phone – 412-431-8800


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Local Bar and Kitchen on Urbanspoon