The Brass Rail
June 9, 2010

10 Old Clairton Road
Pittsburgh, PA15236
(412) 655-2922

Note - not taken by us, but from their MySpace profile

We found ourselves on a weekday night with no food in the house and a need to eat somewhere new. Well, new to us. While they claim to be ten years old on their web site, The Brass Rail reminds us of those places that existed pre-Chili’s and TGI Fridays. A bar that has a lot of appetizers and sandwiches while putting a ton of random shit on the wall. Should we put a helmet up there? How about some farm bric-a-brac? Once the chains move in, no one else goes there. That’s the vibe we got.

According to their web site, they were inspired by the original Brass Rail in downtown Pittsburgh that opened in 1929. This place claims a lineage and that they follow the same burger recipes.

Even with only four tables occupied, we had a long wait. We debated leaving just as we were seated. The one cool thing we found was that each table had a trivia book to read while you wait. We learned a lot about Huey Lewis, before he was in the News. Perhaps the waiting was something we had to live through so that we could learn this bit of data.

There are two bars here. Quite possibly, each bar exists in its own reality, as the specials listed in one bar for the week are not the same – nor are they honored – in the main restaurant. There is no more all you can eat rib night. Also, the restrooms may be yet another dimension, one where the wild west stayed wild, as they have swinging doors on the stalls. Doors made low. So low you can see almost all of someone as they use the facilities. Not that we were looking.

You don’t read Beer, Bacon, Candy to know about the bathrooms. You want to know about the food, we assume. If there is a demand to learn more of area bathrooms, we will start yet another blog.

We started with Spinach Artichoke Dip Pizza. It started with a soft tortilla shell, covered with tomato, grilled chicken and spinach dip. The crust had no structural integrity, breaking before we could even eat it. Perhaps the chicken could be under everything so the cheese could hold this all together. Nevertheless, we were so hungry, we ate the whole thing.

Then we waited. Again.

The meatloaf was very tasty. A blend of tomato ketchup and BBQ, plus a heart gravy. Two giant pieces came with smashed potatoes. The Wild West Turkey Sandwich matched the bathroom décor. It was, unlike the bathrooms, dry. It needed something inside it other than cheese. Perhaps some BBQ sauce? That would seem western. In fact, we had no idea what made this sandwich wild or west. The fries that came with it were good, but salt dense.

Some was good. Some? Meh.

We waited again for the check and learned what the issue was. Everyone did, as the kitchen is so close to the dining room that you can listen in. There were multiple people training, including cooks. Therefore, we were given free dessert.

It wasn’t until a few days later that we took the dessert from the fridge and had a bite. The caramel cheesecake? It took their review up several steps. Just wow. Sweet, moist and luscious – even days later. Something else, really.

We have a theory about when it comes to eating out. When you do, you want something better or different than you can make at home. You want it quick. We could have made anything here – and had it faster. That said, it feels like there could be a nice place here with a little work. Some sprucing things upward, some consistency, some faster service. They were friendly, however.

We’ve also read that this is a meat market kind of bar. It really didn’t seem that way. But hey, who knows? Maybe the hottest people in Pleasant Hills all get laid here on the weekend.

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