Though you can grab a sandwich and slaw in mere minutes at the carry-out windows of Pittsburgh Barbecue Company, the meal components are by no means slapped together. The cooking process stretches across 18 aromatic hours, with pit masters slowly cooking Texas-style brisket, North Carolina–style pulled pork, and slabs of ribs over the low heat of cherry- and maple-wood flames. The smoldering logs are what imbue the meats with the majority of their beloved smoky flavors, enhanced by just small splashes of Carolina-style, vinegar-based barbecue sauce or coatings of a 17-ingredient spice rub. To complement meaty main dishes, the staff cooks up homestyle sides such as slaw, baked apples, and mac ‘n’ cheese.
At MoMo's BBQ and Grill, sauces aren't just a messy byproduct of eating barbecue. Rather, they are spotlight-snatching costars, having pulled in 13 awards of excellence from the National Barbecue Association, highlighted by mango habanero's 2011 distinction as tops in the citrus class. Long before MoMo's gourmet sauces receive a call to action, though, their meaty counterparts are busy getting slow-smoked, in-house, with a combination of applewood and hickory. Seven days per week, finished creations arrive on the tables of diners in the form of Texas beef brisket and "high on the hog" racks of ribs. A selection of more than 100 bottled beers washes over satisfied taste buds, and every Friday, live blues bands infuse meals with passionate riffs and lyrics about the heartbreak of finishing a pulled-pork sandwich.
The Flame BBQ’s two soul-food kitchens sling slow-cooked pulled pork, collard greens, and brisket onto plates and catering trays. Rolls sop up the barbecue sauce that smothers spare ribs, pulled chicken, and beef. Stack a Mac meals, a Flame specialty, fold barbecued meat into creamy mac ‘n’ cheese that is accompanied by a cup of sauce and several high-fives. Other unique offerings include brisket burritos bundled in a tortilla and catered whole-roasted pigs, piglets, or lambs.
The epicurean engineers at Gunners Run populate a menu with contemporary American favorites that please palates in a pub-style dining room or outdoor courtyard. For dinner, dining duos or quartets ignite feasts with appetizers such as grilled salmon drizzled in dijon vinaigrette or fried calamari accentuated with wasabi mayo and sweet chili sauce. Gourmet entrees make olfactory buds swoon over savory scents, from the taste-bud-tantalizing fragrance of roasted paillard chicken breast in natural jus to the tongue-beckoning aroma of pan-roasted sea scallops shaken with lentils and raw apple-beet salad. After main courses, forks can seep through the supple layer of mascarpone and fresh berries that blanket the vanilla cheesecake or an edible wallet.
Every day, chef and owner Ray Moscardelli—a graduate of the Johnson & Wales Culinary Institute—ventures out to hand pick fresh cuts of meat and seafood to sizzle and sear for The Pistachio Grille’s New-World cuisine. Vintage-style posters adorn the vermillion walls in the intimate dining room, where servers welcome diners with attentive service, and crisp white tablecloths put guests at ease with enthusiastic handshakes. Omelets and just-woken pancakes fill breakfasting bellies with morning classics. Lunch and dinner menus satisfy with piquant pastas, such as the grilled veggie lasagna or the rigatoni with broccoli, which veils a colorful mélange of jumbo-lump crabmeat and sun-dried tomatoes dapperly dressed in a white-wine-and-curry cream sauce. Guests can also bring their own bottles of wine, beer, and love potions to pair with the savory fare. Additionally, The Pistachio Grille’s on- and off-site catering pleases palates with items culled from the eatery’s menus or with custom dishes and hors d’oeuvres.