Steel Cactus

1831 East Carson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
412.431.3535
websiteSteel Cactus (Pittsburgh, PA)3 stars

While the South Shore in Pittsburgh has traditionally been beat known for its nightlife, many of those popular bars crowded during the weekend also have some of the most interesting restaurant concepts emerging in the city. Steel Cactus, a colorful Tex Mex concept, brings simple, high quality dishes like tacos and burritos to play with excellent ingredients for a delicious result. Steel Cactus might look like a spot you’d only frequent for a drink when the game is on, but it’s got an interesting set of foods to try that should not be ignored.

Steel Cactus - Chipotle brisket tacos

The menu of the spot is fairly simple, and relies on a series of drinks and traditional Tex Mex staples to make it popular, like tacos, chimichangas, fajitas and the like. The trick is that some of those ingredients might surprise you. Here are a few examples:
  • Chipotle Brisket tacos: this one is made spicy take. Interestingly its chief meat is beef brisket: not at all typical of standard Tex Mex fare, which is smothered in a sweet barbecue and slightly tangy chipotle sauce. Really the interesting ingredient is the fried jalapeno peppers which garnish the dish. They add a very modest heat but don’t take away anything in flavor.
  • Pulled chicken tacos: Topped with such simple staples as cilantro and onion, lettuce and tomato, what really ties these together is the chicken, seasoned ever so modestly with a savory set of spices and a very slight bite. The texture of the meat is outstanding, fall-apart tender. The customization for this one lets you get “gringo style” simple flavors or the more interesting flavor profiles Cilantro and onion provide.
The restaurant has a very modern atmosphere, typically it features a vibrant inside bar and a  loud exterior where folks congregate on weekend nights for drinks, but the spot is also pretty frequently busy during sports events. It’s to be expected. That said, the price points are pretty reasonable, and the service was pleasant in my experience. The spot offers some good food, and it’s overall an experience worth at least one try.
 
Recommendations
  • The bar has street parking which can be difficult to come across in South Side. But some of the side streets offer some better options.
  • The tacos are great, there are a few options of “specialty tacos” with unusual ingredients like brisket and roasted beets — or you can build your own.
  • The bar is a lively sports bar concept. Expect a crowd.

 Steel Cactus Mexican Restaurant & Cantina on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: