Over in Squirrel Hill, there’s a small restaurant that has proven to be quite a difficult ticket to score. Often when I try to pay a visit to the Murray Avenue Grill, the seats are full and the wait is long, and for good reason: everything I’ve ever eaten at the Grill has been spectacular food. The Buffalo Chicken dip is a highlight for this fan of anything hot sauce flavored, but this isn’t PittSoup. The Grill is also home to a sandwich that I’ve only had twice, but it’s already in my upper echelon: the Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich.
Now, you should know that I’m slightly biased: brisket is my favorite kind of meat. Period, no questions asked, end of story. And when the menu claims that this sandwich is made with “the best smoked brisket around!” it’s no joke: the stuff practically melts in your mouth.
The sandwich itself is served on “grilled sourdough bread topped with swiss cheese, cole slaw and creamy horseradish sauce.” The horseradish sauce gives it a great little kick, the swiss cheese is a good partner in crime for the meaty brisket, and the cole slaw gives the sandwich a little fresh creaminess that truly tops it off. But, unlike my previous sandwiches, the main star really is the meat here.
When the sandwich came, I was actually excited that excess brisket had fallen off out of the perfectly grilled sourdough: I enjoy tasting a little of the brisket unencumbered by any other flavors. The smoke isn’t overpowering the way that some smoking can be, which is good because you want to be able to taste the meat first. And the taste is great by itself, giving a little salt but not too much, and the slight smoke gives it an extra robustness. Another aspect of this brisket is the texture: it’s thinly cut whereas some brisket can be sliced thicker, but don’t think this is wimpy meat. The thickness is just right; it’s enough for you to substantially notice it but it’s still thin enough to make it feel like a (high-class) deli meat, so they can pile it on in between the sourdough. Personally, the Grill’s unique preparation makes this my favorite utilization of brisket.
The Murray Avenue Grill is a fantastic little restaurant that should absolutely be explored by those who can gain entrance: it’s got a very friendly warmth to it, and the food is impeccable. This sandwich is an absolute gem: an aerodynamic and toasty piece of perfection, with just enough compliment to the premier barbecue meat in the world: brisket.