Audiences at The Pittsburgh Improv can giggle or guffaw at a rollicking roster of up-and-coming and established comedians as they devour finger-licking fare from the extensive menu. Harland Williams (July 8–10) nudges funny bones with his off-the-wall take on relationships and his spot-on impersonations of a rubber chicken doing a mambo. Alternatively, opt to watch Sebastian Maniscalco (July 15–17) poke fun at society with a cynical shtick, or let Tommy Johnagin (July 28–31) regale you and a friend with humorous anecdotes that earned him a feature on The Late Show with David Letterman. Throughout the show, guests can chomp on classic appetizers such as buffalo wings, tortilla-robed chicken flautas, or improv nachos that make up their flavor on the fly based on suggestions from diner's taste buds.
At Bossa Nova, it’s okay to begin a meal with cupcakes. In the baked chicken cupcakes—one of many tapas plates on the menu—mashed potatoes are substituted for frosting, and there’s a garnish of sautéed zucchini. Such innovative recipes are mixed in with a number of classic ones; you can also try fried calamari, spicy tuna tartar wrapped in cucumber, and a bacon, brie, and potato sandwich. These dishes are centered on a communal dining experience, which encourages you to try whatever tapas plate your friend is eating without first pretending to have somehow misplaced your own. In addition to tapas, the kitchen serves up larger entrees such as Spanish chorizo and beef filet.
The restaurant's space is just as eclectic as the cuisine, with a circular bar covered in mosaic tiles acting as the centerpiece. Stop here to order wine and cocktails, and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, guests head to the dance floor during DJ sets. Chandeliers and vibrant artwork surround the tables spread throughout the dining room, and there are nooks embedded into the walls if you want a more intimate setting.
The dessert-inspired martini list at Olive or Twist hosts a range of sweet digestifs including the cake-batter cocktail, the tiramisu martini, the chocolate-covered-pretzel martini with a salted rim, and the key-lime-pie martini. In addition to inventive mixes, Olive or Twist hosts a wide selection of craft beers, ensuring guests find the ideal beverage to compliment upscale American fare from the full kitchen. Its range of appetizers and entrees sate any size of appetite, with options such as truffle fries, housemade crab cakes, and filet mignon with peppercorn sauce. While they dine, patrons can feast eyes on the dark-mocha wood accents that lace the bar and lounge areas at Olive or Twist, offsetting the cream-hued plush seats.
Opening on weekdays at 4:01 p.m. and Saturdays at 11:31 a.m., Shiloh Grill reminds visitors that patience will be rewarded. The restaurant’s most popular offering, the Thanksgiving in Blawnox, consists of half a pound of ground turkey topped with dried cranberries and sage stuffing mixed in and rosemary aioli on top—a year-round reminder of autumn that balances out the ever-rotating seasonal menus and selection of craft brews. Several events also run throughout the week.
The cooks at Harris Grill populate their menu with American classics. They've got a bacon cheeseburger by the name of The Burghermeister Meister Burgher, a dish of marinated chicken skewers dubbed Britney Spears, and a grilled pork dish called Prime Pork Flatiron. To complement seasonal entrees and keep patrons on their toes, the selection of draft beer rotates often.
The culinary craftsmen at Dukes Station II tame appetites with a menu of classic American fare. Populate mouth-caves with a crispy basket of shrimp ($4.95) or a helping of jalapeño poppers ($4.95) for a hotter beginning than a phoenix’s 21st rebirthday. A lineup of more than 30 phalange-fillers includes the cheeseburger ($5.95); a half-rack of ribs ($12.95) meets the Constitution-mandated requirement to pronounce something as “finger-licking good” in order to be able to vote. Landlubbing entrees such as spaghetti and meatballs ($7.25) alternate with seafaring treats such as luscious crab cakes ($9.95), and individually sized pizzas come festooned in traditional cheese toppings ($3.95) or with a zesty taco flair ($4.50). Miniature masticators can indulge in kids’ menu items or steal peppermints from a neighbor’s pocket.