Last Updated on October 27, 2022 by Angie
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The Rib Room is an intimate 8-table restaurant hidden away in a room at the back of Meat and Potatoes in downtown Pittsburgh. As you might guess, this Richard DeShantz spot features prime rib, premium cocktails, and an exclusive vibe with prices to match.
While you likely need to be a big fan of prime rib to enjoy this menu fully, anyone who loves Meat & Potatoes and their delicious creations should consider snagging a reservation to this one!
A Mix of Meat & Potatoes Classics and New Items at The Rib Room
Our visit started with cocktails at the Meat and Potatoes bar while we waited for our table as the prior seating was running a little late. Soon we were led to the back room where the Rib Room is located which felt like an extension of Meat and Potatoes, but quieter and much more intimate ambiance that felt a bit like a speakeasy- but for a restaurant.
On the bar side of the spectrum, cocktails seem to be the featured drink here. Unfortunately, as we were still working on our drinks from the bar at Meat and Potatoes, we didn't get to try any of the Rib Room specialties which are different. The cocktail menu is brief and focuses on tricked-out versions of classics with special liquors, like an Old Fashioned with Wild Turkey Rare Breed and a Sazerac with Libery Pole peated rye and Pikesville rye. The prices are steep for these concoctions, though, with some drinks clocking in at $20-$30+. (If you want something a bit more approachable, Meat and Potatoes full bar menu is available at The Rib Room as well.)
Soon our server was explaining the menu and making suggestions on how to compose a meal, which we appreciated since I, personally, didn't want just two pounds of prime rib as it is not my preferred style of beef (although Jeremy would have probably been happy with that). The suggestion to order the lobster thermidor (listed as an appetizer on the menu) alongside the prime rib for the main course was perfect as this menu is indeed meant for sharing.
We kicked things off with an appetizer of wagyu carpaccio with incredibly thinly sliced beef that melted in our mouths. Topped with paper thin slices of jalapeno, Thai basil aioli, cilantro, and fried shallots, this dish had everything going for it: creaminess, crunchiness, freshness, and spice.
A crab louie salad was up next featuring beautiful delicate lettuces, a half of an avocado overflowing with lump crab meat, lots of herbs, and a mayo based dressing. It felt light and refreshing, which was a good thing considering the onslaught of food that was about to happen.
In need of some more alcoholic refreshment, we switched to wine for our main course. There is a wine by the bottle list but we opted for glasses from the Meat and Potatoes menu. The options on our visit trended Italian with a mix of new world options as well. We settled on a Washington Syrah (great with the prime rib) and a Super Tuscan blend recommended by our server (also excellent even though we don't normally go for this style of wine).
Soon our main course and sides were served- the dishes just kept coming until we thought our table wouldn't hold any more weight. And then we remembered we also ordered lobster!
There are three cuts of prime rib on the menu, a 14 oz. bone-in king's cut, a 12 oz. boneless queen's cut, and a 10 oz. thin sliced English cut. It's all dry aged then cooked low and slow to medium rare perfection. We chose the queen's cut which was a perfect amount for two to share, given the other sides we ordered. Although we don't normally eat a lot of prime rib, we thought the meat was a nice medium rare, juicy, and tender but still with a good chew.
The prime rib was served with beef au jus, horseradish, and Yorkshire pudding, but there was also the option of adding on “enhancements” like foie gras, pastrami bacon, or fresh truffles. We ordered the mushroom fricassee which was presented on top of the prime rib and were so glad we did. The mushrooms were perfectly sauteed with lots of herbs and gave an intense earthy, umami flavor to the meat. Although the beef au jus and horseradish were nice accompaniments, we really thought the mushrooms pushed the dish over the top to spectacular- this one is worth the upgrade.
The sides weren't a mere afterthought, either – creamed spinach was on point and well-seasoned, truffle fries were so aromatically truffle-y and crispy, and the yorkshire pudding had a nice crispy caramelized exterior (perfect for mopping up all the sauces, mushrooms, and beef).
Oh, and let's not forget we had an entire lobster thermidor to go along with the prime rib. Honestly, the lobster almost stole the show for us. Split in half, cooked in a cream sauce, then placed back in the shell, it was absolutely luscious. The meat was so plump, juicy, and tender, and the creamy sauce was decadent. While our market price for the lobster was more or less on par with an order of prime rib, we also need to note that lobster prices generally can have wild price swings, so the value proposition here may change over time. If your market price is reasonable, do not skip this order.
The dessert option on the Rib Room menu is a baked Alaska which we couldn't partake of due to my tree nut allergy. Our server was kind enough to offer the dessert menu from Meat and Potatoes, but we were at risk of having to be rolled out of the restaurant from eating so much so unfortunately we had to forgo dessert altogether.
Like most DeShantz restaurants, the Rib Room is about more than just the food (which is on point and excellent)- a meal is an entire experience. If you like prime rib, like feeling fancy, or just like to treat yourself because it's Thursday night, you'll definitely want to put the Rib Room on your must-try list. That being said, if prime rib is not something you enjoy, you may find you like the front-of-house menu at Meat and Potatoes far more for the menu variety.
We may be in that latter category by personal preference, but we recognize how well-executed this menu is all the same!
The Rib Room is located in a small backroom of Meat and Potatoes at 649 Penn Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh. Those who are visiting will check in at the same host station. As the restaurant is small and only seats approximately 16 tables a night, advanced reservations will likely be required apart from last-second cancelations as this spot is likely to become one of the most exclusive seatings in Pittsburgh.
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