Andrew's Steak and Seafood on North Shore full of inspiration
During the long months when the Rivers Casino was under construction on Pittsburgh's North Shore, chatter on the streets focused on the slot machines, the lure of gambling and the potential payouts.
While public attention was glued to gaming, Jeff Worobel's attention was elsewhere. The Rivers Casino's vice president of food and beverages began working with design consultants and planning the casino's steakhouse on the water long ago, while the massive structure on the North Shore was but a steel skeleton.
He brought on executive chef Anthony Harrington and assistant executive chef John Greenwald last winter to thoroughly integrate them in the planning process.
"It's pretty typical for casinos to have a steakhouse, but a steakhouse can be a little boring and mundane," Worobel says. "I wanted something different here."
After careful debate and research, Andrew's Steak and Seafood — named for three famous Pittsburghers who wore that moniker: Carnegie, Mellon and Warhol — was born.
The upscale, waterfront steakhouse opened for business Aug. 9 — a draw for winners who can celebrate their good fortune over a three-inch-thick steak or, in Worobel's words, "come enjoy your evening if you didn't do so well."
Worobel and company looked to Pittsburgh's past for inspiration, but their creation is 100 percent contemporary.
Although diners must cross the cavernous casino floor to get to the steakhouse, the gaudy lights of the slots recede when the door to Andrew's closes behind them.
Unlike many steakhouses that boast dark wood and deep colors, Andrew's relies on light wood floors, pale neutral walls and soaring curved ceilings to create an understated, contemporary space. The three Andrews — framed posters of Carnegie and Mellon on blow-ups of postage stamps and Warhol as seen on a classic pop-art poster — greet you on the wall as you walk from the freestanding half-circle bar into the dining room. There, a wall of windows faces the Ohio River, with a view of the Duquesne Incline inching up the face of Mt. Washington.
On warm evenings, diners can enjoy their meals on the patio and watch as the occasional cyclist pedals by quietly on the adjacent riverwalk. At dusk, lights from the walkways, the bridges and the city create a twinkling wonderland outside.
Inside, soft jazz plays in the airy, spacious dining room.
Worobel boasts that Andrew's features 100 percent hormone-free, antibiotic-free Angus beef as well as local chicken and lamb offerings.
The wine list includes an extensive array of reds, whites and sparkling wines by the glass as well as the bottle.
Andrew's might be a steakhouse, but don't forget about the seafood. The menu boasts a wide assortment of seafood appetizers. Fresh Seasonal Oysters ($12 a half-dozen, $24 a dozen) are available with Absolut Vodka and Mignonette Champagne sauces and freshly grated horseradish. Tuna aficionados can sample the spicy Tuna Tartare ($10) served with avocado, cucumbers, sweet-pepper relish, pickled ginger and wasabi foam, if they dare disturb the gorgeous plate.
For a different take on down-home comfort food, we loved the Fried Green Tomato Lobster Stack ($10). Andrew's took grandma's fried green tomatoes, popped on sweet lobster chunks and tarragon cream, and added a little bite with a smoky tomato chutney.
The Steakhouse Blues ($9) proved to be a salad plate with a twist. Carrot curls cradled lightly dressed baby greens, English cucumbers and teardrop tomatoes accompanied by a pillar of blue cheese. A Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad ($7) featured candied walnuts, spinach and dressed in a sherry vinaigrette.
Andrew's local menu offerings include Elysian Fields Lamb Rack ($34), from the nearby Greene County farm, served with a wild mushroom risotto, sun-dried tomato chutney and a tender broccoli rabe.
Seafood lovers can choose from an Australian Cold Water Lobster Tail ($55), Swordfish ($27) or Ahi Tuna ($26), among others. With the exception of the lobster, each comes with two sides. The plates were all a feast for the eyes — and likely the diners.
But on this trip, we wanted to stick to steak. There's a steak here for every appetite, ranging from 8 to 22 ounces. Those so inclined can choose from a choice of brandied peppercorn, chimichurri, bearnaise or a house-made steak sauce.
The Prime Dry-Aged New York Strip Steak ($38) must have been three inches thick. A spicy dry rub set off the juices in this incredibly tender hunk of meat, seared to perfection on the outside and light red inside. So what if it was big enough for supper and two lunches• It was our casino winner. Because most steaks are served a la carte, we decided to sample a Trio of Sides ($10). The buttery, earthy Wild Mushroom Fricasse was a perfect foil to the steak, and the addition of steamed, crisp vegetables and mashed potatoes made this a meal we'll be working off for a while.
Wagyu Flank Steak Chimichurri ($26), a thinly sliced flank steak with spicy green chimichurri sauce, would have soared had the steak not cooled by the time it made it to our table. Even so, this oft-ignored slice was tender and tasty served with roasted cipollini onions and sweet corn in a spicy cilantro dressing.
Dessert will have to wait for another visit, but we'd love to come just for the Meyer Lemon Meringue Tort ($8) with fresh berries and raspberry sauce.Additional Information:
Andrew's Steak and Seafood
Cuisine: Classic steakhouse
Hours: 5-9:30 p.m. Sundays though Thursdays; 5-11p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Entree price range: $21-$55
Notes: Outdoor patio on the riverfront. Reservations recommended. Major credit cards accepted.
Location: Inside Rivers Casino, 777 Casino Dr., North Shore
Details: 412-231-7777, ext. 3106, or online