Report Card: Sharp Edge

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The Sharp Edge Bistro Penn on Urbanspoon

www.sharpedgebeer.com/bistro-on-penn

Overall Grade A-

The Breakdown:

Atmosphere:  Grade A-:  Sharp Edge was surprisingly upscale in appearance, both inside and out.  The tables were adequately spaced, and surprisingly comfortable.  There’s no mistake that Sharp Edge is a bar, but if your eyes skip over the large bar and wall of beer bottles, you would almost think you were in an upscale lounge, with all the glass and leather.  It was a little dark inside, but we could still see the food and drinks.  Sharp Edge is a self-proclaimed Belgian Bistro, which I will assume is attributed to the fact that they have an extremely diverse selection of Belgian beer.  You can of course find the traditional domestic bar brews, but you’d be a nincompoop if you did not partake in something new and adventurous from the land that gave us my wife’s favorite waffles.

High marks:  Clean, contemporary, and upscale

Low marks:  A little dark

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Service:  Grade A:  When we visited, Sharp Edge was doing brisk business but didn’t seem packed.  Our server seemed to be running a little ragged initially, but soon was able to work us into his rotation with ease.  It was actually okay since the beer selection is so robust that it should take the average consumer 10 minutes to figure out which beer to order.  The service at Sharp Edge was really good, but I will confess that I am giving the grade of “A” solely for the reason that our server was able to get Katina to order her own beer.  That, my friends, was a first.  The appetizer, drinks, and entrées flowed effortlessly, and we were very impressed by the overall vibe we got from Sharp Edge.

High marks:  Good service, Katina orders beer (that is not a typo)

Low marks:   Took 5 to 10 minutes for server to work us in

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Food/Spirits:  Grade B+:  Sharp Edge scores a “B+” here, but we should really take the bulk of the blame for that.  We were in the mood for something simple, so we both got burgers.  That lack of adventure may have prevented  Sharp Edge from scoring an “A,” but those are the breaks – we can still be wowed by an really excellent burger, it is just admittedly harder to accomplish.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  When our server came to take our drink order and Katina asked for a drink menu (that’s a Katina tradition), a confused look appeared on our server’s face.  He asked, “Don’t you like beer?”  Her response was, “Not really.”  Then our server disappeared with barely a word and returned a couple of minutes later with Lindeman’s Framboise, which is a raspberry flavored lambic beer.  Katina tasted it, approved it, and ordered one for her drink.  I was adventurous and ordered a Hacker Pschorr Hefe-weiss.  Let me clarify…it was adventurous because I have never had that particular beer before, although the hefeweissen is my favorite style of beer.  It was delicious.  On to the food.  For our appetizer, we ordered the Buffalo Bites with the Honey Jalapeño sauce.  They were very tasty, but not much different than any other boneless wing permutation we’ve had.  As I mentioned before, Katina and I both ordered burgers for dinner.  In this regard, I think I came out the winner.  The burgers at Sharp Edge are unique in that you can tweak the meat or meat combo from which your burger is made.  Katina went for the BBQ burger with all beef.  While she thought the burger was good, it didn’t really curl her toes.  I, on the other hand, had the Belgian burger, which was a mix of meat and…you guessed it…lamb.  The smoked gouda was the cherry on top.  My toes curled so much I thought they might break through the soles of my shoes.  It was tender and juicy, and overall just about perfect.

High marks:  Belgian burger insanely good

Low marks:  BBQ burger and Buffalo bites good but not mind-blowing

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Value:  Grade B+:  Price was not sky high (pretty much what you’d expect) and the portion size was decent.  We left full, but not stuffed.  If you happen to be in downtown Pittsburgh and hungry, you would be doing yourself a favor by stopping by Sharp Edge.

High marks:  Not too pricey

Low marks:  Portion size decent, but not overly generous

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