Pork & Beans Restaurant Review
There were times when it felt like the new restaurant Pork & Beans from the Richard Deshantz restaurant group was going to string me along forever in terms of when it would actually open. There was the ever tempting gimmick line on their website “where there’s smoke there’s swine,” and the occasional picture here and there on their Instagram account of the space’s interior. But last fall they finally opened and so heading there for the Winter Restaurant Week seemed like the perfect time to try it out, something fun to look forward to in the post-Christmas, depressing January bleakness.
This is now the fourth restaurant creation from the group; I’ve dined at all of their other spots (Meat and Potatoes, Butcher and the Rye, and Tako) and had no doubt I’d enjoy my meal at Pork & Beans. As you guessed from both the name and the swine comment above, Pork and Beans is all about the meat, and meat of every shape, type, and form. Pork, brisket, pastrami, even beer can chicken with a piri piri sauce make the menu. Not that you can’t find bbq elsewhere in Pittsburgh but the thing is, when you pair something standard (bbq) with innovative chefs, you know you’re getting new spins on familiar dishes.
With the exception of perhaps Meat and Potatoes (the first restaurant), all of the other three restaurants’ interiors have been fun and slightly over the top, and Pork and Beans is no exception. You enter from Sixth Street and feel as if you’ve been transported a thousand miles away to some Texas roadhouse in the middle of nowhere. Most of the tables at the restaurant are long cafeteria-style. This was probably the only thing I didn’t like about the meal. Thankfully we had an early reservation and were seated on the ends. They do have some booths although these seem reserved for parties of more than two. Late last year I ate at Michael Symon’s new restaurant in Cleveland, Mabel’s, another bbq spot and they also had the long communal tables. I’m not saying bbq is conducive to romance and intimate dining, but it’s something I could skip.
For a drink I ordered the Bumble Fuzz ($11) which was quite the interesting concoction-gin, smoked honey, ginger, lemon, orange bitters, bee pollen (no, that’s not a typo), and wheat beer.
Although I had seriously contemplated getting one of the two restaurant week selections, my decision was made for me when I saw a Kentucky Hot Brown ($14) on the menu. It was not quite the same as what I got in Kentucky, but delicious all the same and utterly massive too (I had another whole meal out of a sandwich entrée). To accompany the sandwich I ordered the Loaded Potato Salad (all sides are $7). In hindsight, I somewhat regret not getting the Burnt End Beans as I read subsequent reviews where people raved about them.
For a starter, I ordered the Deviled Eggs ($8) whose selection varies each day. I lucked out as the day we dined there they were carbonara themed (one of my favorite pasta sauces). There were six in all.
D did go the Restaurant Week menu route (something he never does) because it seemed too good to pass up. There were two menu options to choose from, each having been curated from their two chefs. Each menu came with three dishes, one including a dessert as the third course, the other with two starters instead. Both were priced at the very reasonable $35.17.
D selected Chef James’ and it included the following:
Korean fried chicken wings and biscuits for the first course (accompanied by a maple fish sauce); grilled eggplants, scallions, chilis, soy, country ham, and green tomato chow chow for the second course; and smoked brisket ssam with bibb lettuce, steamed rice, red cabbage kin chi, ssam sauce, and a ginger scallion sauce for the third course. He enjoyed them all but the Korean fried chicken was probably his favorite. I had a bite of the eggplant dish and thought it fantastic.
Dessert options were on the sparser side (ice cream and a cake option to choose from); we opted for the latter. I unfortunately don’t remember what the cake was except that it wasn’t chocolate but still very flavorful.
As I knew I would, I thoroughly enjoyed my meal at Pork and Beans because let’s be honest, I’ve never been let down from any of my dining experiences at the Richard Deshantz group. I love how a bbq joint is so much more than that in an innovative chef’s world, not to mention friendly and attentive service is always a plus.
Pork & Beans
136 6th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222