Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pork-n' NAT

The morning we left Toronto, we expected to be home in about 5.5 hours, or around 4 pm. The drive ended up taking 7.5 hours. By the time we were approaching Cranberry, we were hungry. A chocolate croissant breakfast and car snacks (pretzels, almonds, cookies, chips) were not enough food! Knowing we had no food ready to eat at home, we started discussing dinner options.
Our usual 'returning from road trip' DiBella's? Order a pizza? Gyros? Panera? Hey, what about that BBQ place in Cranberry that The City Paper reviewed a while ago?
So I looked it up on my phone and then got my GPS app to give me some directions and before we knew it, we were turning off 79 south at Evans City and heading towards Pork-n' NAT.
It was easy to find. It looked kind of like a barn from the outside and is next to a driving range. We were warmly greeted and seated right away. It's a very casual atmosphere, we knew we were back in Pittsburgh (not just the restaurant name but also the Steelers decor!), and that meant we could safely order unsweetened, freshly brewed iced tea! Although, since my brain was addled from the long, warm car ride and I had become used to inquiring, I asked some rambling, bumbling question about the iced tea and if it was fresh, sweetened, whatever... I am sure I didn't make much sense. All that matters is that our very friendly and capable server didn't look annoyed, figured out what I was asking, and quickly brought two large, unsweetened, freshly brewed iced teas to our table. Aaaahhhhhh.

It didn't take us long to decide on our food. There are appetizers, platters, sandwiches, salads.  Each Signature Platter comes with a piece of jalapeno cornbread (I believe they also have plain cornbread if you ask) plus two sides. I chose the brisket platter with macaroni & cheese and onion rings for my sides.
I was so hungry and that first bite of brisket tasted so good! Lots of juice, moist, smoky, salt & pepper taste. I thought the mac & cheese was deliciously creamy, not pasty like The City Paper thought. I didn't eat the cornbread since I don't really like cornbread. The onion rings were large and very good. Not greasy. Not too heavy of a breading, but not light, either.
I took half of my brisket and half the mac & cheese home for lunch the next day. I wanted to make sure I had something to eat in case we hadn't yet done the grocery shopping!

SP chose the pulled pork platter with baked beans and cole slaw. He really, really liked the baked beans, which he said had bits of bacon it them. The pulled pork was moist and tasty. He chose a Carolina style BBQ sauce, which I didn't try. I think they offer 5 kinds of sauce (Signature, House BBQ, Smoky, Carolina, and Horseradish are listed on the To Go Menu). It looked like a thin sauce, but not watery, a bit of tomato with the vinegar and mustard. He said it was quite good.
I'm not sure how often we'll make it to Cranberry to enjoy Pork-n' NAT since it's not super close to us, but I'm sure we'll be keeping it in mind for times we travel up & down 79. The food was tasty. Prices reasonable. The people who work there were really friendly. Service was prompt, not rushed. It's a BYOB place, and while I am not sure we'd take wine or beer, it's nice to know that you can. It's also nice to know that they do take out.
Pork-n' Nat on Urbanspoon

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