Last Friday, my wife and I found ourselves hungry and in Regent Square. We decided to hit up one of our favorites D’s Sixpax and Dogz, which we appreciate both for their large (but not overly extensive) menu and unique offerings of hard-to-find bottles of beer and ciders. I love taking friends who visit from out of town to D’s, as I feel it offers a nice mix of unique Pittsburgh (kielbasa/Eastern European influences, as well as delicious french fries [on a salad]). I feel like D’s is a place to be applauded as a local, community restaurant that’s appealing to the entire community (young and old alike) as well as feeling friendly and open enough for those just visiting the city for a weekend.
After we ordered, I went back to the beer cave and grabbed us a couple of bottles. Ever since her time in Belgium, my wife has had an affinity for Radlers (a combination of lemonade and hefeweizen), so I grabbed her the Leibinger Seeradler classik which features their Edel Spezial and sparkling lemonade. I went with the Stella Artois Cidre a nice and crisp, clean-finished hard apple cider. It was very refreshing, with a slight honey twist at the finish and went well with the heavier, richer foods that we ordered.
I ordered a side salad with my meal, which normally would be pretty standard, but D’s added a nice handful of fresh grape tomatoes, shaved red onion, big juicy black olives, and a few pepperoncini to their mixture of shredded carrots, spring mix, spinach, and iceberg lettuces. I went with their homemade ranch, which is far more garlicky, creamier, and smoother than most places, it was a nice start to the meal.
We shared the sweet potato waffle fries and the mac and cheese as a side. The mac and cheese was good, but it was obvious that this pot had been on for quite a while. The noodles were unfortunately overcooked and there wasn’t much flavor other than the heavy, cloying cheese mixture. I would have appreciated something more or a different take or even additional seasoning, but for standard mac and cheese, it was perfectly acceptable. The waffle fries were great, with a nice crisp and crunchy coating and a soft, well-cooked sweet potato body. They were seasoned lightly with sea salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar. The fries were nice and hot and served promptly, as there’s nothing worse than a cold fry. Not quite as good as their house fries, which are a double-fried, fresh-cut potato fry, crunchier than all get-out and excellent with ranch, but these sweet potato fries were still enjoyable nonetheless.
My wife went with the all-beef Vienna dog served on a poppyseed bun, topped with hickory-smoked bacon and a melted cheddar cheese sauce. The strong smoke of the dog and the crispy bacon melted through the sharp cheddar cheese sauce wonderfully. The soft but substantial roll played its role well, holding it all in and not falling apart. There’s a reason they’re a friendly neighborhood dog joint and they have a wonderful foundation to build a nice section of their menu off of.
I went with the wings, as I was really in the mood for their dry rubbed, extra crispy chicken wings. They have a way with their chicken, super crispy on the outside and still moist and juicy inside. Their homemade dry rub is heavy on the cumin, brown sugar, garlic, salt, paprika, and chili powder, as well as some other ingredients I just can’t pull out. The resulting layers on the chicken come in two stages, the rub cooked on the wing with the crispy crunchy crust, and the granulated dust on top, really driving that sweet and salty, earthy punch of spice home with the excellent wings. The only thing better than the chicken itself is dipping their delicious wings in their incredible ranch, for a taste combination I will never tire.
You can’t always go out for fine dining, especially when entertaining out of town guests. Sometimes it’s good to forego that white tablecloth for good, simple bar food done right with impressive drink options, in a friendly and inviting atmosphere. Every neighborhood needs a D’s and I’m glad Regent Square has theirs.