Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Luke Wholey's Wild Alaskan Grille

A couple of Thursdays ago, DB~ and I met for dinner after work down in the Strip District.  We decided to try Luke Wholey's Wild Alaskan Grille on Penn Avenue.  We had passed by this place a couple of times on recent trips to the Strip and it seemed interesting enough.

It was a cold, dreary Thursday night in December and when I got there at 6 pm, I was the only person in the restaurant.  By the time DB~ got there, maybe 3 other tables were filled.  The interior of the restaurant is exposed brick and murals, with the one that I was staring at being a large orange-yellow fish.

While I was waiting for DB~, I was reflecting on one of the restaurant's previous incarnations, that being a nightclub known as Area 51.  It was also known as another name as a nightclub and I think it was during that name that I was there one night when Alexei Morozov and Alexei Kovalev were there.  Morozov was without a doubt my least favorite Penguin of all time.  I thought he was such a Mary that had no grit to him and not enough offensive ability to offset it.  Needless to say, those two were surrounded by a bevy of young women anxious to be Mrs. Morozov or Kovalev -- at least for one night.

Back in present day, when DB~ got there we checked out the dinner menu at Luke Wholey's.  For the scion of Pittsburgh's most famous fish family, I found the menu to be a little lacking in terms of interesting selections.  There were multiple shrimp dishes, cod, scallops, and yellowtail, but with an array of seafood available a short walk away it was puzzling that the menu was so ordinary.  The preparations were pretty standard as well, nothing gourmet or anything to separate the menu from others serving seafood.

On Christmas Eve at a family party, one of DB~'s uncles told me that he thought Luke and his uncle, who took over Wholey's after Luke's father passed, had a little bit of a falling out which led to Luke striking out on his own.  Perhaps that accounts for some of the standard fare menu selections, but it's not like Wholey's has a monopoly on fish in the city of Pittsburgh.

Our food was good, not great, although it seems as if the family secret for the recipe of lobster bisque was smuggled out during the split from the Penn Avenue fishmonger house.  It was as good as ever.  I hope that the restaurant can get a more daring chef and a more diverse array of seafood.  Otherwise it may go the way of Alexei Morozov's career with the Penguins -- underwhelming and wanting more.


  1. I've been curious to try this place out, as it's fairly close to where I live and work. But I never see a crowd in there, so I've been hesitant - it feels weird to sit alone in an empty restaurant. I was also somewhat turned off by their strange promotional schtick with the lobster phone when they first opened. I think they need to do something more effective to lure people in - have some happy hour specials, try to get people in for brunch on Saturdays in the Strip with special menu items, something...

  2. I encourage you to check it out, but be prepared for the onslaught of average.