Cure VS. Union Pig
Ok , So I know is a un-fair comparision in some ways, but need some opinions. My Birthday is this weekend and was fully set on trying out Union. However, The addition to some out of town guest caused a little stir in the pot.
Please add to what I konw ..
Union - No reservations. Picnic style seating, Do I have to sit at a table with others? It is more of a cafeteria set up , may I even say Family style set up, than I typicall sit down plated poritons?
Cure-- My main concern (ahem) are portions. The people the will join me Hate going to a place that you get presenation food for 28 bucks a plate. ( I will not weigh in my person thoughts on that ,just have to deal with it)
Please any comments for both places will make my choice a little more easy. Many Thanks as always
I haven't been to Cure yet, but I'd think UPC is the option here - it's literally a pig out and reasonably priced. Portions not an issue - almost everyone gets a doggie bag. Obviously you and your guests have to like meat (and lots of it). Cocktail/beer menu is limited, but the small selection is good and the rock n ryes are tremendous.
If you go early, seating shouldn't be an issue for a party of 8-10. Larger than that, maybe. Weekends will be busy of course, so anything in prime time will be dicey. But the communal seating really isn't much of an issue. Generally the staff seats different parties with some space in between - not even as close together as Salt when I've been there.
I have delayed responding to this post because, like Panini Guy, I have not yet tried Cure. I am anxious to, as I love charcuterie, and the salumi alone makes it sound like a good time. Plus, I've met Justin a few times, and he seems like a very knowledgeable and talented chef (knowing, by taste, from my experiences at Eleven).
Two things have kept me away from Cure, thus far. First, I rely almost exclusively on the recommendations of several key friends and a few trusted posters on this board (of which I would include both you and Panini Guy a part of), and nobody whose tastes I respect has tried it yet. Secondly, it's BYOB, and I rarely plan ahead enough to think to grab a few nice bottles of wine. Hell, I almost never make reservations and rarely make dinner plans before 7pm or so. Also, I like a variety of alcoholic beverages with my meal (beer, wine and liquor all in the same meal is not a rare occurence), particularly at places where I would linger and order several courses, such as Cure, and BYOB makes that difficult.
Furthermore, simply based on my view of Salt, I go with Kevin, all the time. That being said, I did not find Union Pig to be anything terribly special. It is far surpassed by a number of BBQ places I've been to in Texas, the Carolinas and Tennessee; however, it is still the best I've had in Pittsburgh. Keep in mind this is all relative: I thought the brisket lacked flavor, specifically that smokey quality, and the ribs weren't quite as tender as I like them. They also had a limited number of sauces, none of which blew me out of the water. They do serve East End beer, which I think is sufficient, but, like Panini Guy says, the Rock n' Ryes are absolutely fantastic. As PG says, going on the weekend, you shouldn't have a problem with seating if you go early enough, but if you get held up and go closer to the dinner rush, you could be in for a problem. Friends with a group of 4 had to wait over an hour for a seat around 7 on a Saturday a few weekends ago. Finally, I will say that the portions are absolutely not an issue at Union Pig, and most everyone will have some left over.
So...I'll be curious to hear what you decide. Personally, I would go to Cure if your group doesn't care about price and doesn't mind bringing their own alcohol. I would go to Union Pig if your group is looking for a more laid back atmosphere and are not BBQ snobs.
Regardless, please let us all know what you decide, what you think, and how the experience is.
I would highly recommend a visit to Cure. Only ate there once, with another couple, and it was a fantastic meal. Service was excellent. Wonderful atmosphere. And everything we ate was very good to excellent. I've eaten at Salt twice and while it was mostly enjoyable both times, the only thing that might take me there instead of Cure is the ability to get cocktails/beer. In any case, get yourself to Cure and see for yourself. I suspect you won't be disappointed.
Lurking the boards to say Happy B-day.
Cure can actually set up a family style tasting menu if you give them a bit of notice. I forget the price but I recall it being very reasonable..I want to say 40ish for 5 courses?
A la carte, Cure has very reasonably sized portions, meaning sated - not stuffed. I would say they are slightly smaller than most of the more larger portioned dishes at Salt.
in the end your B-day :D
First, Thank you all for the bday wishes and much valued help means alot! So I still am not sure where I will end udp for my Birthday this weekend, however I jumped the gun and went to Union Pig and Chicken -- couldn't wait anymore. Here is my 2 cents for what ever its worth:
One of the most stand out qualities of the night was the SERVICE. I honestly have never felt as comfortable and welcomed as I did the other night. Everyone there seemed to be mesh perfectly together and new thier stuff top to bottom.
Our party bascily ordered the entire menu -- not too difficult if you have a couple people.
The Ribs were pretty darn good!!! I didn't taste bbq sauce but rather meat and flavor. They were cooked exactly how i life, however the fat and cartildege at times were a real turn off.
Brisket-- had a really really awesome outside crust, like ai never had before.. I felt the need to dip the brisket in with a sauce (all of which were good) Some parts seemed slightly dry others loved.
Pork Shoulder-- was my second fav there. Loved mixing it up with the sides. sauce or no sauce was very very good
THE FRIED CHICKEN was SO SO GOOD . I am a person who will eat the skin off of the chicken and then feed most of the chiken meat to the dog below me .. THe skin was the by far the most crispiest skin with so much good flavor I couldn't stop eating it. Not to mention the chicken still had flavor and moist beyond anything I ever had. REALLY STOLE THE SHOW IMHO
The sides all were good.. nothing was not made well. I had a rock and rye with maple and enjoyed it alot.. not into burbon
While in theory I like BBQ and did really have a great time @ Union.. I just don't think I am in BBQ as much as I really want to believe. Once I get my house in that area, I am looking forward to take out so very much.
It's been my intention to go to Union Pig since they opened, but I've been putting it off..Until I read what you wrote! I totally agree, this place is exceptional. It's not much on atmosphere, but the food quality and the great service more than makes up for that.
I wrote that post in a semi meat (bbq) comma and was a happy guy. I actually went back again with my parents.. and while the service was once again spectacular .... they were not as impressed with the overall food as I was. This is a GREAT addition to the area and I hope his mobile food truck court works out well.
GREAT REVIEW by the way.. I really enjjoy the blog Burghfeed!
I also plan to update on the meal I do pick for Saturday. Thai is on my mind. Banana leaf might be the star of the show