After a hot, summer day of kayaking on the Mon river and jamming to an eclectic music mix of Disney songs, reggae, and Slayer, I was ready to get out of the sun and into some A/C for dinner.
The place I had in mind for dinner and drinks Saturday evening was BrewDog Pittsburgh. The outpost brewpub specializes in craft beers and regular guest brews. This chain bar has other locations, in multiple cities in Ohio as well as in Indianapolis, and now in the East Liberty district of Pittsburgh.
When I first looked at the menu at home, I saw the burgers, wings, and salads on the menu. I called BrewDog to make sure that there was a table available for my friends, Nolan, Kelsey, Dave and I before we made our way to the east side of the city. Although I did not see tacos on the menu, I was ready for a drink, A/C, and food, in general, after burning calories kayaking.
Once seated, I scanned the menu and there they were – smack dab in the centerfold of the menu – right at the top – TACOS. Nolan saw my eyes widen. What a pleasant surprise. Nothing else on the menu mattered. Side note though, all the other menu choices had recommended beer pairings except for the tacos. What about the tacos?!
The taco options here included brisket, carnitas, fish, cauliflower tinga, and black bean tacos. I went with brisket, carnitas, and cauliflower tacos. Nolan and Dave also ordered some tacos with their wings. After placing our orders, I was happy to look around and see other tables with tacos, too.
While sipping on my Hazy Jane, the tacos arrived. The first thing I noticed about the tacos was the presentation. All of the tacos were filled in flour shells with giant corn shell chips inside. I thought this was a cool idea to get a mix of both crunchy and soft shells.
The first taco I ate was the brisket taco with pepper jam, pickled habanero, cotija cheese, and cilantro-lime aioli. I could smell the cotija cheese on this taco. The range of flavors was perfect for this taco with sweetness from the jam up front, followed by a little heat from the habanero and possibly still the jam. I asked for less jam and habanero because I am a baby when it comes to spice. Cilantro was the predominant taste towards the end of this taco. I would give the brisket taco a 3 out of 5 as it is a taco definitely worth eating.
The next taco I tried was the cauliflower taco. The cauliflower was fried and covered in house tinga sauce. Shredded cabbage, cilantro, pico de gallo, and cilantro-lime aioli accompanied this taco. I could taste everything on this taco except for the cauliflower. I would have preferred roasted cauli versus fried cauli because there wasn’t really anything standing out with this taco. I would give this taco a 1 out of 5 as it was nothing to really taco ’bout.
The last taco out of the trio was the carnitas taco. This taco was meaty and the braised pork had a hint of sweetness that I liked. The pickled onion was in unison with the flavor from the pork, making it a very good combo. With the meatiness and cheese, it almost was like eating a quesadilla. My only complaint was that the taco seemed to be too dense. The carnitas taco gets a rating of a 2 out of 5 as it was somewhat forgettable.
As for the others, Dave liked his brisket taco over the cauliflower taco and he agreed with me that the cauliflower was not even noticed. Before Nolan ate his fish taco, I overheard him shout “this is a tiny piece of fish, come on!” Even though he wished he had more fish on his taco, he still preferred it over the cauliflower.
Overall, the brisket taco would be the only taco I would reorder at BrewDog. When I saw that BrewDog had world famous buffalo wings and cauliflower on the menu, I think I expected more out of the cauliflower tacos. However, other items on the menu were superb like the sweet potato fries and milkshake with real vanilla bean ice cream. Not to mention that really refreshing Hazy Jane which hit the spot after kayaking.
Price: $4-4.50 per taco.