Sauce - Bridgeville Borough
“Yinz guys going to Sauce tonight?”
“Nah, I think we’re just going to head dahntahn to the strip club.”
I overheard the above conversation between two burly, 50ish gentlemen in the Bridgeville LA Fitness men’s locker room as I was changing out of my running clothes. Later that evening, as my motivation waned to travel downtown for a burger at Winghart’s, that memorable exchange flashed in my head and I suggested the idea of grabbing dinner at Sauce to my wife. The restaurant is purported* to have great burgers, and since it’s located only a couple miles down the street from us it didn’t take much to convince her.
We headed down** Route 50 to Bridgeville and parked at the convenient lot nearby on Station Street. Entering Sauce, I was immediately surprised at how loud the music was playing. It wasn’t as cacophonous as the 80’s room at the Matrix in 2005, but it certainly was raised to a volume above what is typical at other bistros. The fact that it was a Nelly song, and one from his more recent, less-desirable catalog of hip-pop hits, made it even more jarring to my ears. The patrons skewed mostly towards the over-forty crowd, so maybe the high volume is intended to make the older people feel like they’re experiencing the party life without having to endure the frequent violence at the real nightclubs of Station Square and the Strip District. Other than this loud music, the atmosphere was actually quite unpretentious and welcoming.
Business wasn’t particularly brisk on this Friday night and my wife and I were seated immediately in a half-oval booth across from the bar. It delighted me to see NBA basketball on the two big wall-mounted flat screen televisions and this entertainment quickly took my mind off the music. Perusing the drink menu, I found that Sauce had a fairly long bottled beer list but no drafts. The prices were a little high (around $5/bottle) and since we’re trying to buy a new house, I figured I’d make the huge sacrifice of not imbibing in a Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout. Feeling guilt free after running four miles at the gym earlier that evening, I decided I was going to indulge my vociferous appetite by selecting only unhealthy options from the menu. My wife and I decided upon starting with the Loaded Fries appetizer and then using our burger side dishes to try out the alluring Mac N Cheese and Homemade Potato Chips. We gave the cheerful waitress our order and anxiously awaited our food while watching an explosion of Linsanity.
The fries were delivered before long in a cast iron skillet still piping hot from the kitchen and looked delightfully scrumptious. Unfortunately much like Jane’s troublemaking younger sister Sydney from Melrose Place, the dish’s good looks were ultimately deceiving and belied a huge disappointment. The fries were flaccidly soggy and the gelatinous Jack Cheese sauce seemed like a lactose-free imitation due to its tastelessness. The bacon and onion straws were solid but of too short of supply to save the whole appetizer.
I was hoping that my A1 Steak Sauce Kobe Beef Burger would salvage the evening culinarily, but it too was substandard. The burger barely registered with my taste buds and gave no indication of being high-quality Kobe beef. From where we were seated, we could see into the kitchen and there appeared to be a lot of flame-ups coming from the grill. My wife theorized that there may have been a new(er) cook working on this particular evening and he was incorrectly pressing all the flavorable juices out of our meat. Aside from the burger itself, the aged Swiss topping was nondescript and the sidecar potato chips were dried out and burnt tasting. My wife felt equally underwhelmed with her Pancetta Bacon and Gorgonzola burger and the pedestrian attempt at mac and cheese.
Final Call: Our waitress was extremely pleasant. That’s pretty much the only positive statement I can make about Sauce. All of our food was painstakingly bland, which is an unforgivable crime when the dishes are primarily artery-clogging, unhealthy options. If I wanted an evening filled with soft buns and bad taste, I would have been much better-off going to Blush with those guys from the locker room.
* Sauce was voted best gourmet burger in 2008 by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. I think this occurred before anyone else served gourmet burgers. It’s like me saying “I’m the best husband my wife’s ever had.” Technically it’s true, but only because there’s no competition.
** I unintentionally start any travel directions with “down”. “You head down Rt. 51”, “Just go down Craig Street”, “Leave Century III Mall and come down to the Maxi Saver at 7:30 to see Billy Madison” – regardless of vertical or cardinal direction, I just can’t help but do it.