Union Pig and Chicken

10 Sep

Union Pig and Chicken is Kevin Sousa’s BBQ and fried chicken restaurant in East Liberty.  If you live in Pittsburgh and are not familiar with either Kevin Sousa or Union Pig & Chicken, then you live under a rock.

I’m no BBQ connoisseur, but I have long heard praise for Union’s dishes, and have been itching to try it.  We had a meal planned with extended family (with Mr. Beez’ parents and my mom), and I was desperate for once to dine together somewhere that didn’t have the word “Darden” on the menu’s small print.

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Union was perfect because it’s straightforward.  Brisket. Fried chicken. Cornbread. Pork shoulder.  Keep it simple.  That pleases everyone.  The meat is seasoned but not sauced, so you can play around with the little cruets on your table and decide whether you want your ribs Carolina style, or smothered in spicy sweet BBQ sauce.  We all found pleasing selections.

Every item was high quality.  The only downsides in my meal were related to preferences, not quality. I believe the baked beans had a honey base, and I prefer maple.  The cornbread was more on the corny side, and I prefer my conrbread more on the bready side.  Despite my differing preferences, I would never turn my nose up at a meal here.  My favorite were the ribs, which literally did fall off the bone.  I love ribs, but I have no interest fighting with the meat.  These ribs were effortless.

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The dining room is community seating, which is my personal hell.  I go to restaurants to spend time with the people I’m already with, not to brush elbows with the next party over. I was thrilled that the hostess was very attuned to personal space, and staggered parties throughout the room.  It did not even feel like community seating.  We were there for the old people and toddler early dining time of 5pm, so we did have the benefit of a slower dining room.

I was pleased that the service was swift and attentive.  When you’re eating with a toddler, dining leans more toward the utilitarian than the leisurely.  We had enough toys in tow to keep the beastie entertained, but it certainly helped that our orders were taken promptly, the food arrived quickly, and there was no delay in presenting and processing the check.  (Also a bonus– we managed to be seated in the corner, so while the check was being processed and the kiddo ran out of patience, she was able to dance in the corner without disturbing diners or staff.)

I’d return in a heartbeat…although I’ll probably keep my visits to the quieter times, so I don’t have to share a table!

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