Friday, January 10, 2014

Tap That

The ghosts of cult favorites Mantini's and Old Europe haunt The Urban Tap like the smell of overpriced baby back ribs cooking in a South Side studio apartment on a hot summer day. The location is the same (1209 East Carson Street, Saahside) and they've spruced up the interior a bit, making it roomier and more open. The new owners rightly kept most of Mantini's look, with all of that exposed brick, and have made the safe and wise choice to adopt a standard-issue gastropubby menu (poutine, short ribs, mussels, liberal doses of pig) and couple that with a nice microbrew list.

The Urban Tap offers up the unimaginatively named "Tap Burger" as its hamburger sandwich. Here's what you can get for $9.50:
  • Meat: locally sourced blended beef or turkey
  • Accessories (standard): bibb lettuce, heirloom tomato, red onion, roasted garlic aioli
  • Accessories (special): pork belly/bacon/short rib ($2 each), cheeses ($1.25), arugula/slaw/egg ($1 each), sriracha aioli ($0.50)
  • Sides - frites, salad, vegan baked beans, slaw
The hamburger sandwich is an above-average offering, with a buttery, flaky bun and good quality standard accessories. The meat is solid but not spectacular, as it lacks some seasoning and flavor. The overall environment was good, with a pleasant vibe and good service

The Urban Tap is well worth checking out - after a few more visits, I can see their hamburger sandwich taking up permanent residence in the bottom half of the local top 10.

OAHSC Rating: 7.0

Meat - 2.0 (out of 3.0)
Bun - 2.0 (out of 2.0)
Accessories - 0.5 (out of 1.0)
Intangibles - 2.5 (out of 4.0)

Reviewed:  January 10, 2014

The Urban Tap
1209 East Carson Street
Pittsburgh, PA


Wednesday, May 29, 2013


For those of you/us that thought that the brilliant Eleven Burger would never be unseated from its long reign as King of the Pittsburgh Hamburger Sandwiches...

Salt of the Earth's late-night only hamburger sandwich is worth staying up late for, even on a school night.  As evidenced by the approximately 40 burgers consumed by 26 people during the OAHSC's surprising invasion (sorry about the noise, fellow diners) of Salt last night, it is a hamburger sandwich that cannot be resisted.  House made pickles, american cheese (amazing american cheese, really!), and dijon, perfect meat cooked to perfect temperature, simple crisp lettuce (the type of which subject to the OAHSC's dispute resolution process), and a perfect bun merge to become the best burger this town (or perhaps any town) has ever seen.

Although this proclamation will balkanize the OAHSC for years to come, it is a sacrifice well worth the suffering if it helps to keep this burger around and available for years to come.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Your Hamburger Sandwich is Too Damn Big

The Big Burrito Group knows their hamburger sandwiches. Let's be clear about that.

(I still argue that a chain like BB shouldn't occupy more than one slot on a "Best of" list because all of their restaurants share the same key ingredients. But that's for another time.)

And as much as I enjoy the burger at Eleven, I'd always overlooked the Kaya version. So I corrected this glaring omission on Saturday.

I thought I could post a nice review of the experience and get into the intricacies of what makes a top-notch hamburger sandwich, but I can't do that. I just can't.

Your hamburger sandwich is too damn big, Kaya. Too. Damn. Big.

What's on this creation? From the menu: "Kaya Burger: pickles, avocado, bacon, tomato, 12 Chihuahua cheese, local sunny-side up egg, secret Kaya sauce."

As a sidenote, let's question why pickes get first billing. You lead with pickles?

But then Google a picture of this monstrosity to experience the full ludicrousness. I have fat hands like ping-pong paddles and couldn't pick this up. I had to cut it with a fork and knife as if I were trying to act Continental, and the thing still slopped all over the plate.

The fundamental problem is that the bacon is thick, and the avocado is thicker. There's a reason why guacamole is mashed into a puree. Don't get cute with the accessories - the green is reserved for lettuce.

Review: Disqualified

Major props to the Kaya Bar, however, for pulling off a very difficult drink - the beer cocktail. East End Snow Melt (such a great, local brew), house-infused maple whisky, and mango nectar. Yeah, that last ingredient gave me pause too, but the three elements play nicely together.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pop City Madness

Big ups to our peeps over at Pop City Media for their great exercise in gluttony and related article.  To lift a line from Bill Murray in Stripes,  "I want to party with you, cowboy."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy, Happy (hours), Joy, Joy

The great folks at Winghart's Burger & Whiskey Bar have a new happy hour special.  As of October 20, 2011, from Monday through Friday, half priced (great) hamburger sandwiches with the purchase of a whiskey drink from 5 to 7 pm.  Zach, Shipwreck, et al., we'll see you soon.

By the way, sorry Dirty O, Winghart's has the best fries in Pittsburgh.

Winghart's Burger & Whiskey Bar on Urbanspoon

Pens + Burgatory = Super Nice

I'll admit it...I was not optimistic about the Burgatory branch located in the new Igloo.  However, at least one OAHSC member reports:

"It was fan-f*cking-tastic.  Not the in-restaurant thing of course, but about 80% there – you would never know you were at a sporting event, where you expect cold hard PFP – it was excellent.  Soft bun even."

That's what she said.

Burgatory Burger & Shake Stand on Urbanspoon

P.S. Urbanspoon rocks

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011


Check out what the Hamblogger had to say about one of our favorites -- Brgr, which has a variety of interesting and delicious burgers.

A few follow up comments:

1. As the OAHSC has known for a long time, bad bunnage makes for bad burger. Brgr has nailed the bun, as aptly noted by The Hamblogger. The meat is also excellent. Top notch beef quality. Juicy and tasty.

2. The whole onion ring is a problem for some on the Button Buster. As expected, one bite and the entire onion tends to pull out of the burger. Onion straws were superior. Also, go ahead and ask for some bacon on it to take it to the next level.

3. Do not miss the salted caramel milkshake...and don't drive home after drinking it...and don't go back to work either.

4. We have made several trips to Brgr. The primary "criticism" by some, other than the onion ring, is that the burger itself was slightly under-seasoned at times. Otherwise, Brgr would be fighting for the top spot with
Mantini's and Eleven.

Brgr on Urbanspoon

Vanilla, the home of the best cupcakes in the world, is just a short walk down the street. I know this isn't a cupcake blog and you wouldn't think that a group of stodgy gentlemen like the OAHSC would dabble in cupcakes, but we do...only at Vanilla. Don't miss the Vanilla Caramel or the Concord Grape (when in season).

Vanilla Pastry Studio on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why All The Fuss?

So, the peeps at Zagat have released a fast food survey that has resulted in much buzz due to the selection of Five Guys over In-N-Out Burger, a subject that has caused much consternation and conflict within the stodgy confines of The Club.  Me?  I have never had an In-N-Out Burger, so I don't care.  I love the Five Guys burger.

What I do care about is the thing that has been swept under the rug by the right-wing mediaRed Robin won in the full service category.   What?  WHAT!?!  Who was testing and judging this food?  Maybe this guy... News
I encourage my fellow Club members to offer their own terrible Red Robin experiences.

By the way, the selection of McDonald's fries over Five Guys fries is nearly as stupid. "Some kind of fluke of nature..."


Nothing about this bun or burger is appealing to me.  Big dry bun and ketchup.  I think I am going to be sick.