Pittsburghese food missing Pittsburgh heritage

Let’s begin by pointing out – for those reading this outside of the Pittsburgh area – that “Dahntahn” is Pittsburghese for “downtown.”  I work dahntahn and after a team meeting decided to gather a couple co-workers for lunch.  We all were up for trying something new, so I suggested the Taste of Dahntahn.  This new restaurant has a large colorful sign which hangs over the sidewalk of Liberty Avenue near Fifth Avenue Place.  The entire restaurant is themed toward historical Pittsburgh – the tabletops are even covered with black and white photography which probably dates back into the early 1900s (or earlier).  The menu is very kitschy, infusing many Pittsburghese-like words into the selections and their descriptions.

For my lunch, I decided to order from the BURGERS N’ AT section and get the “Bees Knees Sirloin” – Half pahn burger with bacon, American, cheddar, dahntahn’s 58 mayo, shredded iceberg, tuhmaytuh & red onion. $9. with fries add $3.

The highlight was the $3 add-on fries.  The fact that they were shoestring fries wasn’t something I even noticed on the menu, but it was a nice surprise because you can’t get them many places.  The Burger was cooked as ordered.  I ordered my burger medium-well, and it was delivered hot and to the correct temp.

Sadly, those are it for my highlights.  The burger was just okay – nothing special, but overpriced.  Plus, I still don’t know what dahntahn’s 58 mayo is.  Did they add something to Heinz 57 to turn it white and call it mayo?  (I’m joking.)  
Taste of Dahntahn on UrbanspoonWhat I find most disturbing isn’t the fact that I wasn’t impressed with the food, because every town has run-of-the-mill lunch spots which are able to have a neat theme.  The problem I had was that due to its name and its location, I could picture travelers to come to Taste of Dahntahn, be as unimpressed as I was, and think that all of Pittsburgh dining is like this.  In fact, I don’t think the menu is a good representation of how great Pittsburgh dining is.  I hope travelers see it for its theme and don’t judge the rest of the city’s dining scene based on a single visit here.
If given the opportunity, I may try it one more time and try to get something else.  But I’d like to see them upgrade the menu with some regional flair.  I mean, can you really represent the taste of downtown Pittsburgh without a Pierogi on your menu?

Roland’s Famous Lobster Roll falls flat, poor service

Roland's Seafood Grill on UrbanspoonLast evening we began a celebration for a close friend’s birthday with a dinner at Roland’s Seafood Grill in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.  I had never been to Roland’s and was excited to go to what some call a staple in Pittsburgh. 

It was a big group of people for the birthday dinner, about 20 people and I was one of the last guests to arrive.  As I was saying my hellos I could tell the server seemed overwhelmed with a party of our size.

The first thing that I was annoyed about was the other end of the table said they didn’t want any appetizers, so she started taking the dinner orders, and when she got to us she said “That end of the table doesn’t want appetizers so you guys are out of luck, what would you like for dinner?” As the evening continued, our waitress was forgetting people’s soups or salads, even forgot to put bring out somone’s dinner, stating that “Someone in the kitchen must have taken your plate.”   Meanwhile, the restaurant wasn’t busy, even the the main bar wasn’t full.  

I got the New England Clam Chowder, which was served hot and hearty.  TasteBudB got the Maryland Crab Chowder which had an overwhelming aroma of Old Bay the whole table could smell, but he said it was delicious.  Both TasteBudB and I both ordered “Roland’s Famous Lobster Roll“.  Sauteed lobster and garlic on grilled mancini’s bread with french fries and coleslaw…14.99.  Sadly, it was anything but hot.  The roll was warm but the lobster was kind of cold which doesn’t taste well together.   I would have told this to our waitress to see if I could get the lobster heated up a bit, though I decided not to when I overheard her mention to a friend 2 seats down that “We have been the most stressful table she has had all night…”   Yup, and that is a quote!  

Overall, neither the food or service was impressive.  There was a good beer selection, but that can only make up for so much.  The menu appeared to have a good selection, but we were left disappointed with their most popular item.  The waitress didn’t give us much confidence in the overall service quality of the restaurant.  Let’s just say she is lucky I gave her the 10 percent tip that I did. 

Okay Service, GOOD Food!

Aladdin's Eatery on Urbanspoon

If you are looking for some good Middle Eastern Cuisine then you have to check out Aladdin’s Eatery in the North Hills on Mcknight Road. 
Now, to be completely honest, the overall experience was not great, but the food was very good so the down fall in service was highly made up by the excellent cuisine.

Starting off we had Hummos with Pita.  Hummos is one of my favorite dishes to start off a Middle Eastern experience.   I already have a place where I purchase my favorite Hummos in the city, so for me Aladdin’s Hummos was fine and met some expectations.

Tastebud B also ordered a side salad with a Zesty Sweet Tomato Dressing.  The picture makes the dressing look like a salsa but in fact the consistency of the dressing was similar to a vinaigrette.

For the main course Tastebud B ordered a Spicey Kafta Rolled Pita.  This was beef mixed with herbs and spices topped with tomato and onion with both Aladdin’s hot sauce and Tahini yogurt dressing.  The spices went very well in a pita format.  He mentioned that it felt like he was having a Mediterranean Burrito.


I (Tastebud A) had the Fatayer which is a a spinach and feta cheese pita pie topped with crumbled feta and scallions, Served a long with a side salad.   Normally I love having a meat as my main dish, but, this was really good.  My Fatayer came out warm which brought all the flavors of the spinach and feta together in every bite.  I’d highly recommend this to any of our vegetarian friends!
We recommend Aladdin’s and all of its other locations in the Pittsburgh Region just visit aladdinseatery.com for more details!