Sunday, August 16, 2015

Steel Cactus Review

This is for a 2015 trip to Pittsburgh including: 

Before a night at Mario's in Southside, we decided to get together with a group of friends to grab some Mexican fare.

With another location in Shadyside, the Southside outpost of Steel Cactus opened up less than a year ago.

Paloma [$8]
Sauza Blue Silver 100% Agave tequila, grapefruit soda 

Steel Cactus - Paloma

I started off with one of my favorites - the paloma. Unfortunately, either the grapefruit soda was on its last leg of effervescence or it was simply grapefruit juice. That made for one sad drink. I didn't have the heart to send it back because the size of our party kept increasing so we had to move tables three times (completely our fault!).

Mexican Mule [$9]
Hornitos reposado tequila, ginger beer, muddled limes 

Steel Cactus - Mexican Mule

The GF's tipple was better, with a nice Mexican take on the omnipresent mule. This was subtly sweet, with a bit of herbaceousness and spicy kick from the ginger. Nice.

Dip Trio [$11]
Pineapple salsa, queso dip, traditional guacamole

Steel Cactus - Dip Trio

We started with the dip trio, which featured a choice of salsa (we went with pineapple), guacamole, and queso. The salsa was light, sweet, tomato forward, and had a hint of spice from the jalapeno. The queso was luscious with the essence of Dos Equis Amber added in. The traditional guacamole was light, with the addition of cucumber.

Pulled Chicken Tacos [$10.99]
Spanish rice, beans

Steel Cactus - Pulled Chicken Tacos

The GF went with the pulled chicken tacos, which were moist and came with your choice of flour or corn tortillas. She went gringo style, which means it was topped with lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheese. Mexican style is the other option, which features cilantro, onion, and grated cheese. The accompanying Spanish rice had some kick. The black beans were tender and came with melted cheese on top.

Pork Belly Tacos [$12.75]
Tequila BBQ, spicy red cabbage slaw, radish sticks 
Steel Cactus - Pork Belly Tacos

My pork belly tacos weren't up to snuff unfortunately. I enjoyed the tequila glaze which cut through some of the heft of the pork, but the belly was tough and only slightly thicker than thin-sliced bacon. The spicy red cabbage slaw was nice though.
Our server was lovely, but our order was messed up multiple times. It's possible it was a kitchen error and not the server. Overall, I've had better Mexican, though admittedly I'm not sure what level of Mexican fare is actually available in the Steel City.

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