Rumors of amazing burgers and happy hour specials recently lured us into Butterjoint in North Oakland for a casual weeknight out. We entered planning for one round and to split a burger, and left having tried so much more.
Sampling a Bit of Everything During Happy Hour
We arrived around 5pm and easily grabbed a table in the cozy space, but things started to pick up around 5:30.
We first perused the Happy Hour specials that are available from 4:30-6:30pm on weeknights: $4 draft beers (except for a few like Arsenal Cider which are regular price), a $7 cocktail special (a Jim Beam Old Fashioned on our visit), and a $5 house wine (a Portuguese wine on our visit).
With specials like this, you know it is going to be good.
The draft list was full of local craft beers from the likes of Strange Roots (formerly known as Draai Laag), Brew Gentlemen, Helltown, and CoStar, with many varieties you'd be hard pressed to find for $4 elsewhere. I decided to try the CoStar Belgian Strong Ale, being one you do not see in menus all the time, which was delicious and very malty.
Although the cocktail special intrigued Jeremy, he was won over by the “Mercy of the Bartender” – a surprise bartender's choice classic cocktail. His drink turned out to be a Sawyer, a gin-based cocktail with lemon juice, simple syrup, and three kinds of bitters (orange, Peychaud's, and Angostura). The result was light and refreshing, an exemplary summer drink.
A Menu of Burgers and Pierogies
Butterjoint's menu is pretty simple and consists of a few small plates, salads, pierogies, and burgers. You can also get the full Legume menu (the sister restaurant right next door) until 9pm every night, but we chose to save that for its own visit.
We ditched our plan of going for only a burger and started with zucchini blossoms, which were covered in a super light and delicate crispy tempura batter, stuffed with a creamy ricotta, and served with a tangy sweet and sour sauce. I could have eaten an entire second plate of them, and it seemed as though every table in the whole bar had caught on to the secret, too, as everyone was ordering them.
For our entrees we had to try both a burger and pierogies. You can order the pierogies with a variety of accompaniments including sauteed greens, kielbasa, and sauerkraut. We chose the sauteed greens which were a nice garlicky, buttery, and bitter counterpoint to the rich pierogies.
The pierogies had a decent crispness and chew with a standard potato and cheese filling. The star, though, was the caramelized onions. I still have dreams about these onions. They were so caramelized and sweet they were almost jammy. Mind-blowing!
On the burger spectrum we went all out and tried the extra fancy burger of the day with bacon. The burger had a perfect amount of fattiness which meant great flavor and moisture. Creamy and salty gruyere, crispy fried onions, and bacon combined to make this burger an umami bomb. The bun was butter-toasted and soaked up the burger grease quite nicely. As with most burgers in Pittsburgh, it was a bit more done than we had ordered it.
The burger came with thin, crispy fries and an amazing garlic aioli for dipping. The pungent punch of garlic perfectly accented the rich aioli.
If you're in the neighborhood, Butterjoint is a great after-work hangout for craft beer and cocktails, small plates, and quality burgers.
Butterjoint is located at 214 N. Craig Street in North Oakland.
For more restaurants in and around Oakland, check out Fuel and Fuddle, Chick'n Bubbly, or head over to Squirrel Hill for even more options! Or, for more reviews of Pittsburgh restaurants, click the previous link to be taken to our directory of every review on Discover the Burgh!
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