Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh is so vibrant. You can find tourists and yinzers alike shopping for produce, browsing for 412 t-shirts, dining at all the amazing restaurants, and listening to the street musicians.
Those familiar with the Strip District know Wholey’s Fish Market. It’s a fish lover’s dream with fresh lobster, bass, scallops, shrimp, etc… Wholey’s was thriving, and Luke Wholey saw an opportunity to build off of the reputation of the family business. In 2012, he opened his own restaurant — Luke Wholey’s Wild Alaskan Grille.
On a mid-Sunday morning, my parents and I met at Luke Wholey’s for brunch. My mom and I are huge Bloody Mary fans, and very judgmental. A good Bloody Mary needs to be strong, a little spicy, and can’t be overpowered by tomato juice. Luke’s did not disappoint. We ordered their basic Bloody Mary, but they have a full menu of options! You can add flavored vodka, a full cooked crab, delicious sweet crispy bacon, etc. Really, you can make your Bloody Mary a full meal and skip everything else. (Which I wouldn’t recommend, their food is amazing!)
To start, we ordered their crab dip appetizer. To describe it in three words — it is cheesy, crabby, deliciousness. I barely left room for my parents to have more than a few bites because I could not get enough! Toasted breadcrumbs, lumps of perfectly cooked crab, and the perfect blend of cheese.
For my main course, I needed leafy greens after the decadent crab dip. The description of the Salmon Beet Salad sounded perfect — grilled Alaskan Sockeye Salmon served over a salad of petite whole lettuce leaves, red and gold beets, crumbled goat cheese, walnuts and pink grapefruit wedges, with a bacon vinaigrette.
The beet and grapefruit combination was refreshing after devouring the crab dip, and the salmon was perfectly cooked. However, Luke’s defining moment was the Steel City Lobster Roll that my mom ordered.
Typically the Lobster roll is served on a bun covered in their house-made lobster bisque and served with delicious fresh cut French fries. My mom is gluten intolerant so she has to avoid bread. She asked our server if there was any way they could do the Steel City Lobster Roll on the jasmine rice instead. The chef was very accommodating and adjusted the dish.
When the food arrived, the new rendition of the Steel City Lobster Roll looked the best. The jasmine rice absorbed all the flavor of the lobster bisque and buttery chunks of cold water lobster creating “a decadent mound of crustacean”. The waiter said that the chef loved the combination so much he might add it to the menu.
So, the next time you go to Luke’s for brunch, you absolutely must order a Bloody Mary and the Steel City Lobster over Jasmine rice. It will not disappoint.
Address: 2106 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222