Report Card: Six Penn Kitchen

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Six Penn Kitchen on Urbanspoon
www.sixpennkitchen.com

Overall Grade B+

The Breakdown:

Atmosphere:  Grade A:  Six Penn Kitchen is another downtown Pittsburgh restaurant that is very contemporary both inside and out.  With its location near the theatre, it seems to be the hot spot for the theatre crowd.  That appeared to be the case when we arrived.  Six Penn Kitchen was full of diners decked out in their Sunday best for whatever show was playing.  But by the time we left, the place was near empty.  We scored a table upstairs after a 15 minute wait (originally estimated at 30 minutes).  The tables upstairs were a little close together for my taste, but fortunately the diners around us must have had tickets to the show, because we that the 2nd floor pretty much to ourselves by the time our appetizer arrived.  Even when it was packed, Six Penn Kitchen was fairly quiet and had a nice easy-going, but somewhat sophisticated feel about it.  The décor was very contemporary, and the dining area and bathrooms were quite clean — overall, a very good first impression.

High marks:  Clean, contemporary, quiet

Low marks:   Tables were a little too close together

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Service:  Grade B:  Based on its appearance, we had really high expectations for Six Penn Kitchen with regards to service.  We were slightly disappointed.  Our service was not bad, just very underwhelming.  Our appetizer seemed to take an inordinate amount of time to arrive, and our server seemed only interested in providing service just good enough to get a tip.  Now to be fair, we were arriving and the end of what appeared to be a pretty substantial rush, but a good server should not let that frazzle them.  After the wait for the appetizer, the rest of the meal seemed to proceed at an acceptable pace.

High marks:  Most of food arrived promptly

Low marks:   Server did not seem very interested in serving

* I need to add that our server threw in a free dessert to compensate us for the abnormally long wait for our appetizer.  I had forgotten about that, but my wife has seen fit to gently remind me of it. 

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Food/Spirits:  Grade B+:  Our meal started with house made pretzels as an appetizer.  When you order pretzels or pretzel bites for an appetizer, you have an expectation of what your appetizer is going to look like.  These pretzels did not look like your traditional pretzels.  Maybe they were albino pretzels, because they were definitely lacking in pigment.  But, they certainly tasted like pretzels – very good pretzels.  The pretzels were soft and warm, and served with a honey mustard and 6-cheese lager sauce.  Both sauces were really tasty.  For drinks, I played it safe with a Guinness, but Katina tries both the white and red sangria (yes, I said both).  The red had a stronger taste than the white, but she enjoyed both (Katina is somewhat of a Sangria specialist).  Six Penn Kitchen’s menu focuses on and promotes a lot of local food growers and vendors.   We found that admirable and thought it worth mentioning.  For our entrées, Katina ordered the Buffalo Mac N Cheese and I ordered the Lamb Bolognese.  The Buffalo Mac N Cheese was rich with gorgonzola cheese, and the bits of chicken were basted in a sauce was reminiscent of buffalo cheese dip (you all know buffalo cheese dip – that delicious concoction that one of your crazy aunts always brings to the family get together – it looks horrible but tastes delicious).  Katina felt that the Buffalo Mac N Cheese had the perfect amount of heat.  The Lamb Bolognese was heavenly.  The tender, mild lamb perfectly complemented the feta cheese.  Throw in some nice, wide pappardelle and you have a bowl full of heaven.

High marks:  Buffalo Mac N Cheese and Lamb Bolognese were very tasty

Low marks:  Never judge a book by its cover – the pretzels tasted far better than they looked

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Value:  Grade B+:  Portion size was fairly generous.  This wasn’t the cheapest or the best meal we had in Pittsburgh, but the quality and amount of food for the price was reasonable.  If you’re in Pittsburgh to see a show, you will want to stop by Six Penn Kitchen and see why it’s a favorite among the theater crowd.

High marks:  Unique menu with some interesting choices – generous portions

Low marks:  Food could have been slightly less expensive

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