Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Gandy Dancer Saloon

Before SP, mom, and I dined at Kiku, we had cocktails and an appetizer at Gandy Dancer Saloon. It's in the Grand Concourse and they have an outdoor seating area, so since it was a beautiful August day, we sat outside. Mom and I each had a glass of wine and ordered an appetizer. Then mom ordered a second glass of wine, I ordered a peach sangria, and SP showed up and ordered a beer.
The wine was fine. Not sure it was worth the price per glass, but at least it didn't make me choke and shudder from any burn down my throat like some wines. The sangria was just OK. Kind of weak (alcohol) but nice fresh herb and fruit pieces.
The appetizer was Crab, Spinach, and Artichoke Dip. It arrived nice and hot with tortilla chips.
Lots of gooey, melted mozzarella cheese.
Lots of spinach, too.
The artichoke chunks were too big for a dip like this. We didn't have utensils, so the options were to either eat a huge piece of artichoke, or to bite it on a chip and hope the chip, dip, and remaining artichoke landed on the plate and not your shirt. There was barely any crab in the dip, which was disappointing. I think I saw one crab flake, on my first bite, and then, I completely forgot that crab was even supposed to be a component because I neither saw nor tasted it. Disappointing.

When we first walked into the saloon, no one greeted us, we were a little unsure if we could just go right outside, the bartender didn't seem interested in helping us. It was just... odd. Like you could just go in, sit down, hang out, and never be noticed/bothered. Once we were seated outside, our server was fine, it was just the initial greeting and assistance that was lacking.

So I was disappointed. When I was growing up, Grand Concourse was a special meal out. Not only was the setting beautiful (the restored Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Station) but the food was always fantastic, worth the price in terms of quality, quantity, and the setting. Much like when I dine at Kiku and I am nostalgic for Japan, when I think of Grand Concourse I am nostalgic as well. I have wonderful memories of Sunday brunch there, sometimes with grandma and grandpa along, of celebrating my brother's engagement at Sunday brunch, of getting dressed up in fancy dresses with some girlfriends and spending a New Year's Eve there.

But several years ago (sometime between 2004-2006), my parents and I went there for dinner and were incredibly disappointed in our food. A few years later when we were planning our wedding, I contacted them because as a little girl, I was envious of the beautiful brides celebrating in that beautiful setting and I always wanted to have my wedding reception at Grand Concourse. It looked so elegant and lovely and like a perfect setting. Aside from the not too terribly interested and rather harried sounding contact person I spoke with on the phone, the information sent floored me in terms of cost for what you got, plus I had that not very tasty dinner memory in my mind. They were crossed off the list very quickly. Last February, I read a review in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the review was not positive.

That makes me sad. It is such a beautiful building with a beautiful view of the river and city. The location and building deserve better.

Grand Concourse on Urbanspoon

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