6-18-16 / Double Wide Grill / Pittsburgh, PA

The following night, my wife and I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful night and temperate weather, and dine al fresco. I’d never been to the Double Wide Grill  and it’d been years since she’d been there. I was still on a Barbecue kick from the previous night’s meal at Selma’s Barbeque, so I was quite optimistic walking in. Big Mistake.

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I decided to start with their “1st Place Wings”. The entire menu is a bit tongue-in-cheek (with options like “On-Trays” instead of “Entrees” and a “Cal-a-Forn-I-A Salad” amongst others), so I didn’t place a lot of belief in their claim. The wings were obviously cooked from frozen and were the standard, small wing you get at most places. I was, however, pleasantly surprised with the sauce. I went with the “Tearjerker”, which is their hottest sauce on the menu and even post-scripted on the menu with “How tuff are you?” It was spicy, with a nice middle-balance of chili and pepper. Appreciatively absent was the standard tang and burn of too much vinegar from the hot sauces used. These were almost earthy in their chili profile, which was a really nice change. The wings were crispy (as I’d requested “extra crispy” and lightly tossed in the flavorful sauce. Unfortunately, the meal went downhill from there.

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My wife went with the full order of Boneless Wings for her meal, dusted in their Cajun-Dry Rub. After waiting over 30 minutes for our meal, we were attempting to be realistic with the quality of the food and knew that not much could save it. Unfortunately, the tenders were the triple threat of overcooked, over-breaded, and underseasoned. The chicken, which seemed to come from fresh breast meat, suffered from being dry and tough. Although the coating was a consistent golden brown, there seemed to be a great disparity between superficial looks and inner beauty. The dust itself was sub-par, light on salt, garlic, paprika, cumin, and most anything else. The bleu cheese didn’t fare much better. Strongly acerbic and lacking chunks of bleu cheese, it provided no help to the flavorless and tough chicken bites. The three pieces each of carrots, cucumber slices, and 1/8ths of celery stalks were forced to just stand on the sidelines and shrug as if to say, “sorry, what do you want us to do about it?”

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My wife ordered a side of french fries and also pictured here is the Garlic Coleslaw I’d originally ordered with my On-Tray. The coleslaw was mostly vinegar and crunch from the white cabbage. The vinaigrette had pooled about 1/3rd of the way down the cup and provided nothing but further challenge as I attempted to enjoy the flavorless and now soggy slaw. The fries were lifeless and limp, flavorless and frozen. Tasting of much less than nothing, they were the shining holy beacon of warning on the night.

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For my meal, I was intrigued by the offering of “Authentic-Style Juicy Jerk Chicken”. The description from their menu reads “Cleaver-cut into small bone-in, wood grilled pieces. Truly authentic – be careful of the bones! Features imported Jamaican spices. This here item is served with red-pepper rice and the veggie of the day”. I don’t know if you can sue a menu for libel, but I’m sure you can make a pretty strong case on this one. The chicken was as “authentic-style” as Titanic was “based on a true story”. Flavorless, underseasoned, dripping with grease and fat, this chicken was never given a chance from the beginning. The rub, featuring I can only imagine a pinch of Jamaican spices, hung limply to the burnt and barely crispy, fatty, chewy skin. Each piece of chicken featured an assorted array of tiny crushed bones, gristle, and undercooked fat. One piece of the chicken (on the far left side) was literally just the lower half of the drumstick, cut in half. It’s like offering someone pork loin and just giving them the rib tips. It was a mess of a dish, heavy with grease from not being cooked for long enough at the right temperature. The asparagus was limp, greasy, and had given up long ago. The rice, which I didn’t even want, was mushy, overcooked, and tasted solely of black beans and cumin. I have great concern for anyone coming into one of the 4 locations, ordering this dish, and writing off Jamaican food. For shame.

 

To make it all worse, as these meals seem to have that trajectory, the service was awful. We sat for at least 10 minutes before getting our drink orders taken, delivered, and orders for food taken. The regular wings came out at the same time as the boneless wings, which were clearly ordered as my wife’s entree. The waitress just dropped and left many times, leaving us sitting there, waiting for her to swing back in the 5-10 minutes it took to correct whatever mistake or error had been made. The coleslaw and french fries arrived a good 15 minutes after my entree was delivered, ensuring that everything was approaching cold before we could start enjoying it. Finally, at the end of it all, I was forced to ask a busboy to grab our waitress so we could close our check and leave. It was a mess of an hour and a half and time I would not choose to spend in the same fashion ever again.

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