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Nov 22, 2011 12:53 PM

Quick first-bite review of Meat & Potatoes

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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  1. thanks for the report. I've held off on visiting so far because of reports of service woes.

    I agree about expanding the menu, I understand it may be there niche and cater very well to the demographic, but I would like to see some similar flavors/ingredients in a different (lighter?) preparation.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Rodzilla

      Also almost skipped it b/c of the reports of poor service. You wouldn't necessarily call it friendly service. It did feel a bit harried, but it was a Saturday at peak dining hours. We did not have any of the problems I've seen reported on other sites.

    2. Whigsboy, I posted the following a couple months ago on a different thread. I've now been there on maybe a dozen and a half occasions, maybe a few more, and everything I say in my original post has held true. The service is subpar at its very best, the space is a trainwreck, but a lot of the food I've had there has been quite tasty. But, I digress, my original post from a few months ago:

      "I live and work downtown and have patronized Meat and Potatoes on around half a dozen occasions now.

      The Good -
      Almost all of the food has been very good. I really enjoyed their Yukon skins (their version of a potato skin, with pastrami), their burger is good (esp the one with the pastrami), and I thought both the hotdog and the pork sandwich were good as well. Particularly notable, also, is the foie gras and the bone marrow, both of which are incredible. I'm a sucker for poutine, and theirs is good - one of the only places I've found in the 'Burgh to have decent poutine. And the tomato flatbread was good. The only two items that have fallen short on my visits has been the mussels and pork entree, both of which were slightly overcooked.

      The have a good (but small) beer list, inventive cocktails and generally talented mixologists.

      The Bad -
      Excepting the bartenders' talents at making drinks, the service is attrocious. T waitstaff is slow, inattentive and unfamiliar with the food in terms of taste and preparation. The specials, although posted on chalkboards in the restaurant, are generally ignored by the waitstaff. The inattentiveness is what struck me the most, and it has occurred at all times of service, from when they've been very busy to when they've been deathly slow and affects both the servers and bartenders.

      The beer list, while good and varied, is small. And I'm not totally sure, but for some reason I think they might serve their beer in 10 oz. pours.

      The space is a bit of a trainwreck. Their is a large oval bar in the middle of the restauraunt. Tables are lined against the walls, facing the bar, except a small area to the left of the bar, which has tables arranged in more of a block format. There are no buffers to sound, so it is usually quite loud. Also, it is very dark, which I prefer, but I recognize that not all people do.

      The restaurant shares and entrance with the O'Reilly Theatre, and to use the restroom you have to leave the restaurant and use one in the hallway of the O'Reilly. Not a big deal, but it is a little awkward.

      Overall -
      I'll continue to go there. The food generally makes up for the lack of service and lacking ambience. It will rarely be my first choice, and I would never wait to eat there, but Meat and Potatoes is a solid option. As compared to other restaurants in downtown Pittsburgh, it stands up well and is needed."

      1 Reply
      1. re: MonMauler

        we ate at Meat and Potatos a few nights ago. Service was not bad it was very busy. bartenders were friendly and mixed drinks very tasty. space is different than most dinner spots but it is a gastropub. When you walk around the bar or if your standing by the bar there is a shortage of space between you and the tables. Its ok but you bump into alot of people. With the food we all loved the bone marrow. a generous portion I thought and seasoned well. The flat bread was good(not great but good). The hamburger was good. The braised short ribs and wagyu flat iron were excellent. were tender and nice flavors. there wasn't anything I didn't like but the Devils on Horseback was bland and didn't taste much like anything. All in all we all would go back and would not be afraid to try any item.