Plus, a chocolate pop-up, a Lawrenceville bar opening and a new Dormont coffee shop
You know those restaurant visits, when a single dish stands out from the rest: It’s the one your tablemates wish they’d ordered because it’s super flavorful, Instagram-worthy or a nostalgia dish that rivals a favorite home-cooked version. From Brookline to Bloomfield, Shadyside to the Strip District, here are the week’s scene-stealing dishes and drinks.
Smoked and grilled killer wings at Fat Head’s Saloon
For a snack and a beer, the wings at Fat Head’s are a guilty pleasure that never disappoint — specifically their whole, smoked Caribbean killer wings. These scorchers use a habanero sauce that always manages to make me sweat while maintaining a nice balance of flavor — they don't just flame-throw the taste buds. Bold wings require a complementary bold beer and Fat Head’s once-a-year Hop Stalker IPA does the trick. It’s wet hopped with hops from the Yakima Valley in Washington State that give it a super dank profile. 1805 E. Carson St., South Side. — Dan Gigler
Red pie at Iron Born in Smallman Galley
The newest, spongiest, Detroit-style pizza comes to Pittsburgh by way of Pete Tolman’s Iron Born at Smallman Galley. The red pie ($15) echoes Pizza Hut pizza — except Mr. Tolman is attentive to craft and ingredients. The pepperoni version displays plenty of cheese with browned bits around the edges to make for an addictive mega-slice. I like Iron Born better than the New York pioneer of Detroit slices outside of Detroit, Emmy Squared, for its range of textures and fermentation: look to the interior crumb, or air pockets. 54 21st St.,Strip District — Melissa McCart
Green peppercorn fish filet at Chengdu Gourmet
Chengdu is my Chinese food favorite but it’s also a commitment, since I can’t seem to visit without over ordering. The night I went, the owner Wei Zhu was off, but his second-in-command steered the kitchen, having recently returned from an extended visit to the Sichuan province. I asked him for the green peppercorn fish fillet, an order new to me. It’s a dish laced with green Sichuan peppercorn oil that lends a floral tone to a broth seasoned with Shaoxing wine, ginger and garlic. Fillets rest on a bed of bean sprouts and are dressed with green peppers, chiles and pickled red chiles. Ask for rice so that beguiling liquid doesn’t go to waste. 5840 Forward Ave. Squirrel Hill. — Melissa McCart