Where We're Eating (and Drinking) in June
Plus, a one-on-one with bartender extraordinaire Mike Mills of Meat & Potatoes.
Meat & Potatoes photo by Laura Petrilla
Roland’s Seafood Grill
In an area packed with eateries, Roland’s Seafood Grill remains a standout. The modest joint dishes out some fabulously fresh seafood, which can be enjoyed under the night sky at an outdoor table. During Happy Hour, discounted items from the raw bar, such as oysters and shrimp, hit the spot. Be sure to try the famous lobster roll: a hefty slice of grilled Mancini’s bread stuffed with perfectly sautéed lobster in garlic butter. Really hungry? Satisfy your pangs with any one of the grilled fish entrées — salmon, swordfish or ahi tuna.
(904 Penn Ave.; 412/261-3401, rolandsseafoodgrill.com)
Mediterranean cuisine is favored for its simplicity. Warm and cozy, giving off a rustic wine-cellar vibe, Mediterrano hits all the right notes with its Greek-focused dishes; housemade pita is served with hummus before spectacular dinner entrées like catch-of-the-day fish (branzino and red snapper, for example) or lamb shank are delivered. Even executive chef Ben Swiger makes appearances; he’s genuinely eager to explain ingredients and preparations. A surefire way to end the meal is with the baklava trio, perfectly sweet classics that leave you satisfied.
(2193 Babcock Blvd.; 412/822-8888, mediterranocuisine.com; BYOB)
Step inside this place, saturated in vibrant green hues, to find Korean favorites. A tiny outfit, Green Pepper’s young owners (a husband-wife team) prepare fine fare — from stars like ever-filling bull-go-gi meal set, with its spot-on beef and tasty sides (including a vegan soup) to appetizers like the spicy seafood pancake (which comes with soy sauce for those who wish to add a hint of flavor) and pork belly with raw oysters. Once inside, you’ll notice the hardworking nature of staffers — and their genuine desire to make you feel welcome.
(2020 Murray Ave.; 412/422-2277, greenpepperpgh.com)
Bocktown Beer and Grill
Chris Dilla’s original (and uber-successful) venture draws locals with its extensive beer list (seriously), refined pub fare and relaxing beer garden. The intimate, welcoming eatery offers some fine “’Burghers‚” (some of which pay homage to local favorites) — such as the Geno, with its Russian dressing and Swiss cheese, or the Three Rivers, open-faced on grilled Italian bread with “Pittsburgh poutine” (two words: delicious and messy). Those interested in trying the resident “beer librarian’s” latest creation can pull up a barstool and experience hoppy heaven.
(690 Chauvet Drive; 412/788-2333, bocktown.com)
Mike Mills, Bartender, Meat & Potatoes
Mike Mills is a bartender extraordinaire at downtown hot spot Meat & Potatoes (one of our 25 Best Restaurants). Mills wows patrons with his drink-slinging skills, making it look easy as pie.
Bartender’s best-kept secret:
The best ingredient in any cocktail is water — in the form of ice. Without it, some flavors peak where they should blend.
Favorite summer cocktail:
Anything with champagne, like a classic French 75. I also love a mint julep; the ice should be finely chopped and tightly packed, almost like a snow cone.
Best edible garnish:
Candied peel, especially grapefruit.
Drink you serve at home:
A classic Old-Fashioned made with sugar and bitters — no cherry or orange wedge.
Best cocktail paraphernalia:
I’m obsessed with collecting antique cocktail tools like sterling silver jiggers and vintage three-piece shakers.
This is the only city I know that makes “The Batman.” It’s a drop shot of vanilla vodka, Bailey’s and root beer Schnapps in a chilled Rum-and-Coke without ice. It’s my anti-cocktail guilty pleasure.
(649 Penn Ave., downtown; 412/325-7007, meatandpotatoespgh.com)
— Kate Chynoweth
Video: Go behind the bar and learn how to make Mills' favorite cocktails