These are not steak-house times: 2010 is not the year of the porterhouse, it is the year of the ground chuck. Bad news for Pittsburgh Blue, the Maple Grove steak house opened by the same people who own the fanciest steak house in the metro, Manny’s.
Maple Grove doesn’t have the expense-account crowd of Manny’s, and so the owners, Parasole, got an idea when people stopped buying the $35 filet mignon. Put together a menu of burgers, sandwiches and appetizers, and call it Blue Tavern. Brilliant marketing; really good execution.
We ate on the new outdoor patio, which almost makes you forget you’re eating within eyesight of Interstate 694. The landscaping covers up the traffic; the fire and water feature almost covers up the noise.
The appetizers are huge. With a couple apps, our group of four was nearly stuffed. Don’t miss the short-rib nachos:The tortilla chips are fried to order, and the short ribs cover every corner of the plate. This is no lame, tiny pile of meat. We also loved the Fairbault Dairies “Caveman” Cheese Curds: light batter, nice local cheddar taste.
The food was exactly what you’d expect: really good, but not earth-shattering. The Blue Reuben stood out: the extremely tender corned beef is thanks to 12 hours of braising.
All of the sandwiches and burgers come with an overflowing pile of hand-cut French fries, coated in Parmesan cheese—nice touch.
The Blue Tavern menu is available in the bar and on the patio, and you also have the option of ordering off the main menu. You also get to use the same bathrooms as the high rollers ordering steak, but I digress….
If you’ve been avoiding Pittsburgh Blue because you think it’s out of your price range, knock it off. It’s the same price as any of the million chain restaurants in Maple Grove, with the outstanding service you’d expect at a top-notch steak place.
Maybe these are steak-house times, after all. So long as it’s a steak house serving cheap nachos and delicious sandwiches, like Pittsburgh Blue.
Pittsburgh Blue, 11900 Main St. N., Maple Grove, 763-416-2663, pittsburghbluesteak.com
Jason DeRusha is a reporter for WCCO-TV.