Gastropub & Speakeasy adds new vibe to Northside

Being local to the northside of Pittsburgh, it is always nice when a new place opens up in the area.  Over in the Deuschtown area, the local formerly occupied by Serendipity is now back in business.

James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy on UrbanspoonThe James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy is the newest addition to the neighborhood.  We stopped by to check it out on New Year’s Eve before heading out for our night of planned activities.  The vibe is very calm and nice, but it also wasn’t too crowded in there either.  The place hasn’t really changed inside, but there are some cool small things they do to add their own personal touch to the place.  For instance, old record covers have been covered and serve as the binding for the menus.  It was a cool swanky touch.

For an appetizer, TasteBudA ordered the pierogis and found them to be extraordinary.  It was easy to tell that they were fresh, never frozen, though it wasn’t clear if they were truly homemade.  What set them apart was the carmelized onions and infused sour cream that covered them.  It was a great combination of flavors and has earned TasteBudA’s honor of being the best he’s ever eaten.

I ordered the “Sweet Meat” as my lunch. It is a hamburger with candied bacon, served on a bun with a drizzle of doughnut glaze. Though I’m sure the burger wasn’t great for my heart, my stomach was signing praise to this sweet entree. As I was eating it, all I could think of was Paula Deen’s episode “Lady’s Brunch” [Video (see 7-min mark)] [Recipe].  On the side of my hamburger were large homemade potato chips.  The potato slices were very large and even a little fun to eat.

TasteBudA had himself the Fish and Chips. The fish was a nice battered tempura fish.  The french fries were also good.  The plate was only served with ketchup – no tartar, lemon or vinegar.  TasteBudA asked for vinegar to go with them and the kitchen sent out a white vinegar.  We assumed the restaurant did not have any malt vinegar, which is a more traditional pairing for fish and chips.  We recommend they add another condiment to make this dish a success.

While "TasteBud B" doesn't feel very photogenic, he certainly gets out and about to snap pictures of his food. He's passionate about sharing Pittsburgh events, food talk topics, restaurant recommendations and travel destination finds. (@PghTasteBudB On Twitter)

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