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Dining Review- Sharp Edge Brasserie

Dining Review- Sharp Edge Brasserie
With a lot of specialty burger places popping up recently, Nightwire is thrilled to let you in on one of our favorite burger places: The Sharp Edge. Mostly recognized for its neighborhood establishments and great beer selection, the Sharp Edge burgers are out of this world. Each burger is hand crafted with its own interesting mixes of meat, ground fresh and cooked to perfection. This month we were invited to sample some Belgian beers and 10, yes, 10 of their burgers!

We thought they were kidding when we arrived at the Brasserie in Peters Township and they told us we were having 10 burgers. I did a quick perusal of the menu prior to our arrival, and I declared that I don’t like turkey burgers and would most definitely skip that one. My sister Jen accompanied us on this beer and burger adventure, so I thought it would be easy with her sitting next to me to fake tasting the turkey burger because she said she liked turkey burgers. Of course that Hot Turkey Burger aka H.T.B. ($11) was listed on the tasting menu and I was planning my fake out. When the owner of all the Sharp Edge restaurants is your host for the evening, a fake out is very risky. In an attempt to be polite, my sister cut a small piece of the newest burger addition to the menu and promptly placed it in front of me, with everyone watching, including the owner, the general manager, the restaurant manager and even the chef! I took a bite and was pleasantly surprised! It was crunchy! It was not only crunchy, it was hot (spicy) and very savory. Could this be? I actually liked the turkey burger! Blended with 100% turkey meat and jalapeños, chipotle and cayenne pepper on top of red hot mayo and topped with pepper jack cheese AND fried banana peppers, this was shockingly delicious. The turkey burger was paired with a delicious Belgian Cuvee des Trolls, the lemon zest & earthy hops stand out and finish with nice mellow malt. At 7% strong pale ale, this beer was one of our favorites.

We continued our adventure with a Sharp Edge favorite and original, the Buffalo Bites (Full order $9.50, half order $6.50). If you’ve never had them, get the full order because these tender bites of white meat chicken, hand-breaded to order, will be devoured in no time. More than once, I’ve been with a group that had to order these twice because they were eaten so fast! They are undoubtedly my favorite menu item and apparently everyone else’s too! Served with celery and either ranch or bleu cheese dressing, the “bites” will seriously make you reconsider how much you thought you loved chicken wings; they are also available in tofu for the vegetarian crowd. We also sampled the Mediterranean Nachos ($10.50), crisp fried flatbread chips topped with warm spinach artichoke dip and topped with a blend of provolone and Asiago cheeses, diced tomato and black olives. These nachos are serious eating with the warm cheesy dip on top; try them with a Duvel Single. A 6.8% Belgian Pale Ale with notes of a Saaz pilsner hop dry bitterness balances with Belgian candy sweetness. I can see why we started with this “lighter” beer; it was great paired with appetizers.

The most popular burger at the Sharp Edge has to be the Belgian Burger ($12), tender lamb and ground sirloin with minced shallot and crumbled bacon topped with smoked Gouda and whole grain mustard sauce. The lamb is quite evident in the flavor of this burger, and the quality of the blended meats will make your mouth water. Troubadour Obscura was the beer paired with this favorite. An 8.5% Belgian Stout with a complex array of dark fruits, toffee, chocolate, tangy molasses along with notes of chicory, black pepper and a note of alcohol. This is a serious beer. Don’t fear the stout! All burgers are served with fresh cut fries or homemade coleslaw. For a nominal fee you can substitute Belgian Frittes, sweet potato fries, onion petals, a side salad or a cup of soup. So many choices, so many things to taste! And we were just getting started! The next burger to arrive was the Blackened Angus Burger ($13), 100% pure black angus beef blended with Worcestershire sauce, shallots, cracked black pepper and dusted with a house seasoning served atop homemade red pepper mayo. With just a hint of spicy, this burger sets the standard for an Angus burger. All burgers are grilled to order, maintaining a freshness and high quality taste. The burgers on our tasting menu were carefully chosen to represent the best of the best, and paired with Belgian beers, we were in burger heaven. Next began the more unusual burgers starting with the Southwest Chicken Burger ($11). I have to admit I was excited to try the chicken burger. The simplicity of the ground chicken dusted with Cajun seasoning and layered on top of black bean corn salsa topped with pepper jack and cheddar cheeses was not as unusual as you might think. If you’re in the mood for something different, give it a try. The corn in the salsa complements the chicken very well, and the spice is more towards the savory than the hot/spicy. The beer served with this burger was the Over the Edge, a 9.5% Belgian IPA, and one we thoroughly enjoyed. This beer is brewed exclusively for the Sharp Edge in Belgium with an earthy mix of hops, bready malt balanced with a sweetness of spice, apricots and dates. If you like a nice Belgian beer, you’ll love this one! And it’s only available at the Sharp Edge.
We were all starting to get full by tasting every different thing on the table when the Ostrich Burger arrived. The texture was consistent with many of the burger we tried so far, but the flavor was very different. Spiced just right, this burger was very good, very different and sometimes very elusive. Ostrich is pretty expensive and sometimes not available. We felt very lucky to be able to give it a try. It was paired with the Cuvee de Trolls.

Not being much a fan of veggie burgers, I was a little apprehensive but dug into the Deluxe Veggie ($11), a very flavorful mix of sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, roasted red pepper, crumbled feta, tender baby greens, tomato, red onion and pesto mayo. This garden burger is sure to delight any non-meat eater with its jam-packed bun full of goodness. The feta stands out among all of the freshest ingredients. Everyone at the table agreed that this was “really good!”

With just a few more to go, we were steadily slowing down, but the Venison Burger ($14) was next, and I was excited to have a few bites. Growing up in western PA, almost everyone has had venison of some type. If you are lucky enough to know a hunter, you know what I mean. The Sharp Edge venison burger is blended with sirloin, seasoned with shallots, fresh garlic, cayenne pepper, oregano and topped with pepper jack cheese & ancho chili aioli. Paired with the Troubadour Obscura, it put me in the mood for fall and hunting season. If you’ve never tried venison, try this burger. I feel that it’s a great introduction to a seriously underappreciated meat. It was seasoned perfectly. The Wild Boar burger ($16), a blend of boar and sirloin mixed with spices (sage, thyme and black pepper) served on top of a spicy roast corn and pepper chutney is a gourmet burger at its finest. The sumptuous blend of meats with the sweet corn and peppery chutney was definitely a table favorite. I highly recommend this burger paired with the Cuvee des Trolls. The lightness of this beer helps to highlight the savory burger.

The last burger to grace our table was the BBQ Burger ($10.50). Ours was sirloin, but they offer your choice of Chicken, Portobello or Garden burger topped with smoked Gouda, crispy bacon, onion petals and jerk BBQ. This seemed like a well thought-out choice for the last burger standing because it’s very good, very basic and maybe a good place to start for the less adventurous diner. I have to say that the blends of meats, ground daily for each location, makes the difference for me in recommending a great burger joint. The Sharp Edge offers a Brew-a-Burger option where you pick a style of burger and a myriad of cheeses, toppings and sauces just in case none of the burgers I mentioned entice your taste buds. Desserts are also offered and include Belgian Chocolate Pudding ($6), a decadent Callebaut chocolate garnished with raspberry and chocolate sauces, whipped cream and toasted almonds. I called this mousse and even though I was full from tasting 10 burgers, I dove in to this delicious dessert; it’s my absolute favorite! This dessert was paired with a Lindeman’s Framboise. Framboise is one of my favorite “girl beers;” it’s 2.5% light alcohol content Lambic with a nice touch of both sweet and sour fresh raspberries and is a perfect pairing for any dessert. I only call it a “girl beer” because of it’s color: a nice fuscia. Silly, I know, but it’s great in combinations if you want to mix it up with a hand crafted Belgian. Ask your server for suggestions. We also tried the Framboise Cheesecake ($6), another perfect pairing for the Lindeman’s Framboise. I love dessert as much as I love this beer.

Nightwire sincerely wants to thank the Sharp Edge for a fabulous tasting, professional presentation and evening filled with fun. With five locations around the Pittsburgh area, there’s sure to be one close to you so give them a try. Menu’s vary slightly in their neighborhood locations, however, all the burgers are available at each location; check out their website for full menu details. www.sharpedgebeer.com

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