If someone invites you to a bar in a college town, you're likely going to expect burgers, nachos, wings, etc. If so, The Headkeeper in Greensburg, PA will come as an absolute shock. The first thing that most guys will notice will be the wall of beer. To quote our bartender, it's an "adult candy store." But don't waste your time even thinking about beer until after you peruse the menu. How often do you see words like balsamic reduction or truffle oil on a bar menu, especially in a town that is home to four different colleges and a variety of trade schools?
My friends and I were absolutely thrilled when we saw the menu, and we had some trouble deciding what to order, so we decided to each get something different and let each other try them. The first thing we had was prosciutto-wrapped roast asparagus with a balsamic reduction. While the asparagus was properly cooked, and the prosciutto was nice and crispy, the key here was the tips of the asparagus. They had crisped up during the cooking and tasted of roast pumpkin seeds. The effect, especially with a bit of the balsamic reduction, was delicious.
Next up was a five-spice pork tenderloin with chipotle beurre-blanc. This item was suggested by our bartender. I haven't used five-spice in a couple of years, and never would have paired it with chipotle, but man did it work. The pork was succulent, the spices just right, and it was all balanced well, no one flavor overpowering the rest.
Last up was my favorite, which also happened to be my first exposure to truffle oil. Petite filet mignon, medium rare, with crisp straw fries drizzled with truffle oil. The presentation was great, as you can see. These straw fries weren't just on the plate as a side, but were part of the presentation and taste of the dish. Unlike I often see, the fries were actually crisp and flavorful. The steak itself was seasoned and cooked excellently, and the truffle oil just capped it all off.
All in all, these are better dishes than I've gotten in expensive and upscale restaurants for a lot more money. Good recipes, well executed, and great presentation. All with the little touches that separate a chef from a cook. Definitely stop by the Headkeeper if you're ever in Greensburg.