The pitter patter of rain drummed against my umbrella as I hopped over a giant puddle en route to my final feast in Pittsburgh. At 6pm the hostess table at Butcher and the Rye was bustling with weary folks whose faces read “honey we should have made a reservation.” Over the past week locals had been raving about the final stop on my Pittsburgh culinary tour and I respectfully arrived righteously famished.
Butcher in the Rye boasts a 350+ whiskey bourbon collection which can be sipped and savoured from one of its two bars. Guests have the option of enjoying a whiskey house, breezy tavern vibe on the main floor, or can head upstairs to indulge in the style and class of the grand cocktail era’s supper club. Strolling through the restaurant, B & R’s ambiance reminded me a lot of Toronto’s Weslodge, both venues showcasing a whimsical saloon experience where bartenders climb ladders to fetch limited edition whiskey bottles and walls are decked out with taxidermied treasures.
I spent the evening sitting around a low-rise cocktail table on the restaurants second floor joined by a gaggle of journalists. One must first wet their whistle, so was pleased to sip through The Butcher’s Bride where locally produced wigle white rye, cointreau, aperol, lime and grapefruit had been muddled together to create a pleasantly tart punch.
From the kitchen, Chef Richard DeShantz’s menu focuses on small plates perfect for sharing. Over the course of the next two hours our wee table filled with the clink and clatter or eager utensils, the swish of a martini glass and plop of steaming plates. We started the evening by nibbling through two pretty pieces of pork; an addictive Crispy Pig Wing offered the zing of thai chili sauce and pickled mango salad while plate of Pig Candy featured juicy pork belly with apple kimchi, miso caramel and whisper of cilantro.
That evening our group ordered a selection of entrees, my favourites being a steaming bowl of creamy Mac N Cheese, gigantic burger and bowl of “Dirty Pasta” strozzapretti tossed in ground duck, sage, brandy, pecorino and romano. Bursting at the seams, we all managed to find a wee bit of energy from within to scoop our way through the kitchen’s signature sundae. Dreamy coconut cream cheese ice cream, carrot cake, compressed pineapple and candied carrot offered a perfect farewell for my sweet tooth.
wigle white rye, cointreau, aperol, lime, grapefruit
Crispy Pig Wing
thai chili sauce, pickled mango salad, cilantro, peanuts
pork belly, apple kimchi, miso caramel, cilantro
Mac N Cheese
taleggio, fontina, cheddar, parmesan
blue crab risotto, asparagus, mushrooms, capers
ground duck, strozzapretti, sage, brandy, pecorino, romano
coconut cream cheese ice cream, carrot cake, compressed pineapple, candied carrot