A few months ago (yes, months….I am trying to reawaken my blogginess so I will be blogging retrospectively for a few posts) Mo and I were invited to dinner with another couple to Meat and Potatoes. We consider this couple to be great friends of ours. Since they are from the area and have lived here for a while, we also love having their recommendations for bars and eateries around town, they have great taste. Prior to going to Meat and Potatoes (M&P), I only knew of its existence in downtown Pittsburgh passing it while walking to various festivals at the point. I also had it on the radar for a potential brunch spot, Morgan loves brunch.
This night at M&P we had reservations for dinner. It was late in the spring and still cool so the porch was not open but I am told the porch is an excellent spot during warmer evenings. The dining room itself is small. Tables for smaller parties circle the large bar in the center of the room. I think a space by the kitchen exists for larger parties. Walking into the restaurant I felt as though I was back in Atlanta at a hip, gastropub. There is a low, rumble of the conversations in the small space but its not too loud. Vintage Edison style light bulbs give a soft glow in the dimly lit dining room. Chalkboard diagrams of beef cattle indicating the location of various cuts of meat on the animal and announcements of daily specials adorn the walls. The hip feel is very laid back and grown-up, perfect for young professionals looking for a chill spot for a drink or for a small group of friends looking to share a delicious meal.
Now that we are seated, I must say there are definitely a few things that stood out from my experience. First, the drink menu or the “libations” menu as M&P has entitled matches the theme and decor of the restaurant perfectly. One will quickly notice a modern take on vintage themed cocktails that make you feel as though you are living during the prohibition era. A Sgt. Pepper’s Old Fashion or a Glenshaw Sour make you want to go see if there is a bathtub full of mash or a still out back. Not only that, they serve a huge selection of familiar and craft beers in a can (something even I felt dirty comprehending) complete with a M&P koozie should you wish to pay a little extra. They also offer two options of absinthe for those really looking to drink a vintage, mystical beverage. I had a draft beer and a cocktail; however, I regret not taking the absinthe route.
The other thing that stood out was that Meat and Potatoes is definitely an adequate name for the establishment, its not just Beef and Potatoes. Chef Richard Deshantz is really highlighting a variety of meats-beef, lamb, duck, chicken, and fish. Whats more, he is highlighting cuts of beef that you may be quite unfamiliar such as chicken liver, pate, sweetbreads, and, my new favorite, bone marrow. If you don’t go to M&P for anything else, go to have the experience of the bone marrow appetizer. There is nothing more primitive than literally scooping cooked marrow from the bones of cattle. Once referred to as “God’s butter” this natural substance is very fatty and quite flavorless. The dish is served with salt, red onions, capers to help season the marrow on fresh, crusty bread. It has a very buttery mouth feel and when properly seasoned is surprisingly yummy. You just have to get past the visual of spreading holding a bone in one hand and spreading the marrow onto the bread with another. Definitely worth the try!
For the main dish, I had the Wagyu Flat Iron steak. Others had the pasta bolognese and the lamb burger. We all agreed, my dish was the best. The whole preparation, the cook, and the seasoning was something to be remembered. The wasabi mash potatoes on the side are amazing. I thought they would be really spicy, not at all just a great, rich flavor.
I do want to go back to try the ribeye for two and to try the brunch. So next time you need a great dining experience, give Meat and Potatoes a try.