Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Munch Goes to Bobby Hendrix

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Munch Goes to Bobby Hendrix

Article excerpt

It may have been the huge fish tank behind the bar. Possibly it was the purple walls and bead board, the steps lit in green and blue, and the chandeliers hanging overhead. Perhaps it was the cognitive dissonance of being both happy for and envious of a newly minted NFL millionaire sitting just a few seats away enjoying his night with friends. Or, maybe it was Lil Jon on the jukebox, repeatedly asking one of the great rhetorical questions of our times -- turn down for what, indeed?

Whatever the case, I found myself both amused and confused during several visits to this oddly named, borderline garish nightclub with surprisingly good grub.

About the name: Bobby Hendrix, is the alter ego of chef Bobby Bilder, who's used his guitar hero to influence his heavily Purple Haze-tinged nightspot, located in the once-longtime home of the City Grill (Note to self: See if column name can be changed to Munch Van Halen or Munchie Ray Vaughan). Mr. Bilder was the chef of record for several years at the former Melange Bistro in the Cultural District before opening his "namesake" late last year.

Like the decor, the menu tends toward the bombastic and adds a belt of booze to many dishes -- the Tequila Spiked Mussels ($10) are steamed in white wine and marinara sauce before being finished with Jose Cuervo; the Dirty Martini Salad ($7) features olives stuffed with bleu cheese and mozzarella over tomatoes and greens, with a Ketel One vodka vinaigrette served in a salted martinis glass; or a Bloody Mary served as an entire meal.

Made with a house mix and dubbed the World's Greatest, for $11 it may well be because it's garnished with a cheddar-bacon slider, fried prosciutto sticks, Cajun fried chicken, celery sticks, bleu cheese stuffed olives, and Old Bay seasoning on the glass rim. It is truly an absurd wonder to behold.

Bobby Hendrix boasts of its burgers, but as we've seemingly been living in an extended era of Peak Ground Beef, finding a good hamburger in Pittsburgh is hardly a challenge anymore. …

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