Posted by mike | Filed under Reviews
I was up in Cranberry on Sunday (at Work, sadly). The good news is that it gave me a chance to stop at Primanti Brothers in Cranberry. This Primanti Brothers is one of the full-restaurant versions that presents itself as a family restaurant that happens to specialize in Pittsburgh Sandwiches. While I’m a bit of a health not, and not the best person to be reviewing Primanti Brothers, I do want to give the obligatory nod to a Pittsburgh Tradition.
Primanti Brothers (Cranberry)
200 Executive Dr
Cranberry Township, PA 16066
My quick and dirty take. I give them a 3.5 for food and a 4.0 for atmosphere (both on a scale of 5). Although my health-tard tendencies crept up and drove me to order what was likely the least representative item on the menu, the waitress was fun and attentive. My meal, a full-size garden salad, was better than expected but nothing to write home about. I would love to go back with some friends at a time when I’m feeling a little bit more like being unhealthy and ordering what they’re known for: a sandwich.I’m not fit to properly review this place. As I alluded in my quick take, I wimped out and stuck with a salad. I’m a salad person, and I actually think that the quality of a salad says quite a bit about a restaurant. Anyone can make a big sandwich with fries piled on the side look exciting, but it takes some focus to create a really great salad. There are two ways to screw up a salad: 1) serve up a bowl full of iceberg lettuce and throw some mealy tomato slices and a bunch of cheese on top (far too boring), or 2) place a few pieces of lettuce in the bottom of a bowl and top with a pound of chopped up [your greasy entree of choice] covered with cheese, fries, and anything else that might cover up the fact that what lies beneath is a salad. Obviously those are two extremes, but they drive home a point: you want to end up somewhere in the middle. When I order a salad, I expect to get a full bowl of lettuce with something exciting and somewhat healthy on top. I expected Primanti brothers to err on the side of not-really-a-salad, so I stuck with a garden salad. I was pleasantly surprised by the result. There were actual vegetables in the salad, and the quantity of cheese was fairly reasonable (and not melted into the lettuce, thank you). Granted, I asked for no fries (proving that I’m not really from Pittsburgh). Next time, I would show some trust and order an entry salad. In fact, I would probably go all out an order a sandwich.
My thoughts on the Pittsburgh Sandwich. When I was in college, my parents came to visit one weekend. Being a student at CMU who was anything but healthy and making weekly stops at “The O,” I took them to the Primanti Brother’s in Market Square. At I time when I was less calorie-conscious, I enjoyed my Pittsburgh Sandwich–complete with fries and coleslaw–and it was good. The actual sandwich was well-balanced, and I am a strong supporter of the crunch of a coleslaw.
On coleslaw. If you haven’t had a Primanti Brother’s sandwich, the coleslaw isn’t what you might expect. Relatively thick pieces of cabbage are coated with oil and little bits of black pepper for a nice crunch with the added aroma of the pepper really coming out. I still think that time of coleslaw is a welcome addition to any kind of sandwich.
Just do it. If you haven’t tried Primanti Brothers, go for it. I think it’s safe to say that there’s something wrong with living in Pittsburgh and not knowing what lies beyond all the Primanti Brothers lore.