Thursday, March 24, 2011

Beers at the Church Brew Works

After eating lunch the other day. Me and some companions stopped in the Church Brew Works for a couple of beers. 
The Church Brew Works is an old Catholic Church that has been converted into a brewery/bar/restaurant. Where the altar used to be located, is now where the brewing tanks are. The beers they produce are of the highest quality, and the food I have eaten their in the past has been excellent as well. 
Alter/Brew Tanks
I'm always amazed at the architecture when I go to Church Brew Works. The cathedral ceiling are majestic and the stained glass is some of the most beautiful that you will find. Some of my crazy Catholic friends feel almost sacrilegious as they drink beer in this beautiful building.
Epic Stained Glass at the Brew Works
Me and my companions ordered three beer samplers. Each sampler has eight 5oz samples of all the beers that they currently have on tap. It comes in a little pricey at $14.50, but it is a great way to sample all of their beers. 
Beer Sampler $14.50

Some of the beers in the sampler included Pious Monk Dunkel, Millennium Trippel, and my personal favorite Celestial Gold. Celestial Gold is a pilsner style lager that goes down smoother then any beer I have ever had.
The Bar area with the beer storage tanks

In the future I can guarantee their will be a full review of the food they serve at the Church. In the meantime, head down there for some of the best beer made right here in Pittsburgh.

Church Brew Works

3525 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15201
412-688-8200 | fax 412-688-8201 |

Church Brew Works on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Brgr bar

 Brgr bar is just one of many new high end burger restaurants opening up in the Pittsburgh area. Brgr is located in East Liberty, home to hipsters and many of the better restaurants in Pittsburgh. Word of mouth had gotten to me that Brgr serves gourmet style hamburgers and "spiked" shakes, so this was a must try destination.
  Two companions and I traveled to "Sliberty" on a Sunday to go to Brgr. We arrived at about 2:45 PM and were quickly seated . The server was pleasant yet seemed a little overextended in the amount of tables she had to wait on.

 At the table was a basket of condiments including ketchup, yellow mustard, house made mustard which looked like a course ground style brown mustard, and hamburger sauce. The hamburger sauce was fantastic, tasting slightly like Big Mac sauce but in a finer consistency.
 To start our order, we ordered 2 spiked shakes a beer, and an order of french fries with truffled cheese whiz.
Cupajoe $8.00

  One shake was a Cupajoe, with Irish Whisky, espresso, and dark chocolate ice cream. It was thick and tasted great. They give you a wide ass straw so you wont struggle to suck up the shake. All the flavors mixed great together and it was definitely the better of the two shakes.
Salty Caramel $8.00
The other shake was a Salty Caramel. Its ingredients included bourbon, sea salt caramel sauce, and vanilla ice cream. It was good with the bourbon adding a complexity of taste usually not found in your typical shake. It could have used a little more caramel, as the salty sweet caramel flavor was lacking. It tasted like a vanilla milk shake with whiskey. It was good but could have been a little better. By the way, they use local ice cream maker Dave and Andys for their ice cream.
Brgr Fries tossed in parmesan and herbs with truffle cheese whiz  $5.00
 Let me tell you right off the bat that I am a white truffle slut. You can do no wrong in my opinion adding white truffles to pretty much anything. The fries were crispy and would have been good by themselves with just the parmesan and herbs coating them. The addition of truffle cheese whiz however takes them up to a new level. The whiz was obviously infused with white truffle oil, and the earthy/garlicky flavors of the white truffle matched well with the cheese whiz. These fries were some of the best I have ever had.
 Next we ordered our burgers.
 Our server said that all the burgers are 6oz.  The brioche buns for all the burgers were good in that they were nicely toasted, had a nice outer crust and were light and airy in the middle. They were sturdy enough though that your bun did not turn into mush from the juices and toppings.
Shroomz Burger $9.00: Forest Mushrooms, Carmelized Onions,Brie Cheese, Mustard Aioli
     The Shroomz burger was excellent. The actual hamburger meat on all the burgers was very meaty tasting, and you can tell they take pride in their hamburger mixture. According to the menu, the hamburger meat is a mix of sirloin, ny strip, and ribeye.The patties are charbroiled, not fried (which is fine,just different flavor profiles). The mushrooms and onions on the Shroomz burger were sauteed perfectly.
The mustard aioli  had a nice garlicky/mustard bite to it. The brie was not my favorite. The rind of the brie with its musty flavor tended to overpower the other flavors on the burger. If I ordered this burger again, I would request swiss or some cheese with a slightly less pungent outer crust.
Button Buster $10.00: Braised Beef Short Ribs, White Cheddar Cheese, Bearnaise Aioli, Crispy Onions
Butt Guster
  The Button Buster (or Butt Guster as I referred to it) was my favorite burger out of the bunch. I was curious as to how they would put short ribs on a burger, and the ribs just wound up being a minimal amount of short rib trimmings being placed on top of the burger.
This combination of toppings really worked. The cheddar had a nice sharpness to it,  while the Bearnaise Aioli with its notes of tarragon and garlic made a nice sauce. The short ribs dis not add much flavor, however adding meat on top of meat cant be all that bad.
Fire in the Hole $9.00: Guacamole, Jalapenos, Pepper Jack Cheese, Chipotle Mayo.
Fire in the Hole
 This was my least favorite of the burgers. The raw cut jalapenos seemed out of place in a burger that already had pickled jalapenos on it. The guacamole was flavorless and added nothing to the burger. The chipotle mayo also was surprisingly mild.
All in all the burger was not that spicy for a burger called fire in the hole. This burger was ordered medium well yet came out medium. This burger was not bad , but could use some improvement.

 My experience at Brgr was a pleasant one. The food was a little pricey, yet the quality more then made up for it. The quality and taste of the meat is always the most important aspect of a good burger, and Brgrs hamburger blend is top notch.
The whole concept of selling high end burgers with spiked shakes sounded like a pretty unique concept to me, till I heard that a place called Burgatory just opened up at Waterworks Mall in Fox Chapel selling the same thing. A new high end burger joint in Zelienople called Burgh'ers just opened up as well, minus the spiked shakes. Expect to see reviews of all these new burger joints in the coming months, as of right now the standard is set pretty high by Brgr.


Spiked Milkshakes

Cupajoe: 8/10
Salty Caramel:  7/10

Fries tossed in Parmesan and Herb with Truffle Cheese Whiz:  9/10


Shroomz Burger: 7/10

Button Buster: 8/10 

Fire in the Hole: 6/10

Overall: 7/10

Brgr bar
5997 Penn Circle South
Pittsburgh PA 15206

Mon. thru Thurs. — Noon until 12am (Food served until 11pm)
Fri. and Sat. — Noon until 1am (Food served until 12am)
Sun. — Noon until 9pm
Brgr Menu

Brgr on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 7, 2011

Southside Steaks

Southside Steaks has become quite the popular location for Southside drunkards to fill their bellies after a night of boozing and partying. But how does it hold up when your sober, are they authentic Philly style? Lets find out shall we.
   My first impressions were that the place is a real dive as I walked through the doors(not necessarily a bad thing).  Its has a dingy, unkempt vibe to it. You place your order with the cashier as soon as you walk in. You then pick up your food after it is cooked, at a pick up station further down the line.
Pick Up window
  In the corner of the restaurant is a pepper bar that looked like like it had not received attention in a while. You can get sweet cherry peppers, hot cherry peppers, and smokey dried peppers. If the peppers didn't look like they were put there a couple years ago, I might have tried some of them.

I dont think so
 Their is also some challenge to eat three "Inferno" cheesesteaks  in 25 minutes. Being that I only saw one picture of a person that completed the challenge , I gather that its either very difficult, or Southside drunks have more intelligence then I thought.
Just waiting for their Man Vs Food moment

At the cashier, where their was no line, I ordered an authentic style Philly cheesesteak with Cheeze Wiz and onions, and a "Gyro" steak. Then I waited down by the pickup window  for about 10 minutes before my food was ready. A lot of people came in after me and the line does not seem  to move all that quick when their is a crowd. Any hoot, lets get to the important part, how did the sandwiches taste.
Original Steak wit WIZ and Onions $6.55

   The original steak was a pretty decent size, and using a ruler (and not my genitalia), it measured in right around 10 inches. The rolls that Southside Steaks use are supposed to be from the famous Amoroso bakery in Philadelphia that supply a lot of the cheesesteak joints in Philly with their bread. This was not an Amoroso roll. Amoroso rolls have a bit of crust on the outside of them, and a little bit of chew on the inside. This roll had neither, being more akin to an over-sized, corn dusted hot dog bun. The Cheese Wiz  mixed in with the juice from the steak and made its own, almost heavenly tasting sauce. The onions were sauteed nicely and mixed in well with the steak. The steak itself was sliced paper thin, was of a generous quantity, and nicely seasoned. If not for the sub-standard roll this could have been one of the best cheesesteaks I have ever eaten.
Look out arteries, here it comes
  So despite the substandard roll, this cheesesteak was pretty damn good. At only 6.55 it is a bargain as well. You dont have to have your steak made the authentic Philly way either. You can get your cheesesteak with provolone, American, or pepper jack cheese if you so choose. Onions are optional as well. If you want to kill yourself right then and there, you can add bacon to any cheesesteak for a $1.00.
The "Gyro" Steak $6.55
    Southside Steaks also has a large number of specialty sandwiches including "chicken" steaks, and others such as the gyro steak. This sandwich came with everything you would find on your typical gyro. Lettuce, tomato, tzatziki sauce, and gyro meat. The meat was in nice chunks, and seasoned in the typical fashion that you would find in many gyro shops, with lots of oregano and garlic mixed into the meat. The tzatziki sauce had a nice bite to it and balanced well with the meat. The bun got pretty soggy from all the grease/juice coming from the gyro meat. What it comes down to is that this tasted like a decent gyro on a bun. With the best Gyros in Pittsburgh just down the street at Mike and Tonystheir really is no reason to get this sandwich if your down on the Southside, unless your just to intoxicated to walk the few extra blocks. 
Gyro on a bun
  So my visit to Southside Steaks went pretty good. The cheesesteaks are pretty tasty, and I would stack them up against almost any other cheesesteak  in the Burgh. The only thing holding these cheesesteaks back from true greatness is the sub-standard roll that they use. The prices are also good for the quantity you receive.  This place will definitely be on my list of places to go after a future night of drinking and debauchery on the Southside.


Original Steak: 7/10

"Gyro" Steak: 6/10 


Southside Steaks
2000 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA (412) 390-1844 ‎ 

Mon-Thur 11-11
Fri- 11am-3am
Sat  12pm-3am
Sun 12pm-11pm

Southside Steaks on Urbanspoon