Resharpen The Sharp Edge

The Sharp Edge has an incredibly classy atmosphere; our server was top notch and most of the patrons looked like they just left their 53rd story office for the day. The food just wasn’t anything to write home about.

I’ve been hearing a lot about The Sharp Edge lately. It’s been open for about three months now so the word of mouth has been spreading like wildfire, some good, and some bad. The Sharp Edge is what’s known as a “gastropub”. A restaurant that specializes in food that surpasses your usual, run-of-the-mill bar fare yet has an extensive selection of beer both on tap and bottled. Gastropubs are really the best of both worlds, when executed well.

Their Extensive Beer Collection

The interior of The Sharp Edge is extremely classy. It fits in well amongst its pretentious, expensive brethren of the Cultural District of Pittsburgh. The interior is all solid wood, marble and brass, reminiscent of a classy old-school pub. I felt a tad underdressed while dining; most of the other patrons were wearing suits and dresses. However, their signage (this includes their menu and whatever signs are used inside and outside) is very contradictory to the vibe of their restaurant. Both the menu and the sign outside look kind of hokey, almost childish. I feel like they should have developed a classier brand considering their average price per dish. The menu has big clip art images of hops and feels like it would be better suited in a sports bar. Their logo, a meat cleaver with various bottles of beer within it, is incredibly literal and executed poorly. Either they should go with some kind of classy symbolism or, if they do want to go the literal route, make it look more mature. This goes for their web site as well.

The Dining Area

I’ve heard a lot of lukewarm opinions regarding The Sharp Edge’s service. Ours was the complete opposite. Our server was incredibly nice and accommodating. She laid it on a little thick, but what was genuine was her eagerness. She suggested a hard cider for Janey and when I ordered a Belgian beer on tap, suggested I not get it. Her words were, “It’s very watered down, not very good”. I appreciated the honesty and was happy to see someone who knows what they’re serving. I thanked her for the advice and asked her to recommend me a Belgian white beer that was worth drinking. I settled on a Chimay that turned out to be delicious. I did notice that they were having some major trouble communicating what tables were to receive what food. A bunch of times someone from the kitchen came out and literally had to ask every table if what she was holding was theirs. Our food got to us in one piece, however, so it wasn’t a big deal. After having trouble with our dessert, the server finally found our table and explained that they had recently reordered the tables and it was confusing everyone.

Janey and I decided to start with an order of pomme frites (Belgian-style French fries, double fried for extra crispiness, served with mayo or a mayo derivative). The fries came out quickly and were delicious. They were extra crispy and had a certain airiness to them. The fries come with an ancho chili aioli, stone ground mustard and an herbed aioli. I preferred the subdued herbed aioli the most while Janey enjoyed the earthy ancho chili aioli. Neither of us preferred the mustard much but it’s a matter of taste.

As our entrees we both got burgers. I ordered the Belgian Burger (ground lamb and sirloin with shallot and bacon topped with whole grain mustard) and Janey decided on their Buffalo burger. We both got soup as our side. She chose the soup of the day, a chicken, rice and red pepper soup. I ordered the Flemish onion soup, their take on French onion. The soups came first. Janey enjoyed hers and kept asking me to try it. I finally took some and didn’t think it was anything special. The consistency of the rice and the lack of seasoning were reminiscent of Campbell’s chicken and rice soup. My soup was a little better but there was something about it I couldn’t quite place until I was half into it. If you notice, from the photo, the cheese wasn’t cooked all the way (it should be browned, slightly crispy) and their choice of croutons rather than a slice of bread was poorly made, making the texture uneven. The broth was also slightly on the viscous side and their claims of a “rich stock” were unfounded. Like I said, halfway through eating the soup I realized that their French onion soup was incredibly similar to Panera Bread’s. It really fell flat and was horribly misplaced in the type of establishment The Sharp Edge perpetuates itself as.

Our burgers came out right after we finished our soup. They both looked delicious, especially the buns. The cheese on top was slightly melted and grated on. Janey was in love with her Buffalo burger and even enjoyed the mushrooms, which is usually a textural no-no for her. I enjoyed the Belgian burger, but once again, for thirteen dollars I expect much better. The burger was overcooked, a bit past medium, and whatever flavor it had was underwhelming. I honestly couldn’t taste any shallot or even the bacon, the flavor of the lamb was lost as well. In my opinion, a good burger sort of melts together; the textures and flavors are appreciated as whole, in each bite. Each time I took a bite of my Belgian burger I’d get random tastes of each component but it never came together. The mustard was the most obvious component, completely overwhelming the delicate cheese. I’ll take a burger from Tessaro’s, please. The bun did end up being delicious and tasted fresh-baked.

In order to give meaning to this site’s name, we ordered dessert as well. We chose the Belgian chocolate pudding. The pudding was sort of thick but light, like a mousse. The raspberry coulis went very well with the chocolate. I’m not an admirer of whipped cream and could have done with less but the combination was great. The wafer-like cookie was a cool addition.

The Sharp Edge has an incredibly classy atmosphere; our server was top notch and most of the patrons looked like they just left their 53rd story office for the day. The food just wasn’t anything to write home about. I can’t see going to The Sharp Edge when there are gastropubs like Bocktown that have innovative food that is a lot cheaper, and, dare I say, of better quality. I left The Sharp Edge severely disappointed, when we got our bill I couldn’t believe I had just shelled out that amount of money for what I had just eaten. I hope they improve.

922 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 338-2437
Mon to Thurs: 11am – 12am
Fri to Sat: 11am – 1am
Taste: [rating:3]
Service: [rating:4]
Style: [rating:3]
Overall: [rating:overall]

Check Out Their Web SiteCheck Out Their MenuThis Place Takes Credit Cards
The Sharp Edge (Downtown) on Urbanspoon