Today's AHT reader recommendation comes from Roddy G., aka Rodzilla on Serious Eats. Stick around here to read about Kaya's burger, or check out Roddy's food blog Rodzilla Reviews to read about the rest of his meal at Kaya. Thanks, Roddy! If anyone else wants to share some burger intel, email us at [email protected] or check out our review submission form. —The Mgmt.
2000 Smallman Street, Pittsburgh PA 15222 (map); bigburrito.com/kaya
Cooking Method: Griddled
Short Order: A fantastic Caribbean-inspired burger
Want Fries with That? Comes with chips, but they're not as good as the burger
Kaya is located in the heart of Pittsburgh's renowned strip district. The strip is packed with well known eateries and is home to some of Pittsburgh's most famous spots. So why did I choose Kaya?
1. I had heard nearly all positive feedback.
2. Executive Chef Sean Ehland was recently nominated for James Beard Rising Star Chef
3. The Kaya Burger
So here it is, the Kaya Burger. The reason I came. The burger was presented with a steak knife in the center to hold all of the accoutrements in place. It was stacked much too high for a clean "full bite" and became an absolute mess upon the attempt.
But that slight nitpick was forgiven as soon as I tasted the burger. The Angus beef came a cooked-to-order medium, with a finer grind encompassed in a well seasoned and nicely seared patty. I could taste every one of the many components: the fried egg, chihuahua cheese, avocado, tomato, bacon, and pickles. All of these were topped with Kaya Special Sauce, which is similar to Thousand Island/Big Mac Sauce—just better. The bun was another highlight: subtlety sweet and dense enough to hold up to the weight of the toppings. Fear not if your burger becomes deconstructed (it likely will); —mopping the sauce drippings with the wonderful bun is a fine way to finish this beast.
The chips were the only disappointment. They aren't offensive, but certainly not on a level of taste comparable to the burger. Opt for one of the many fun "tropas" on offer instead. My recommendation goes to the calamari.
There's no shortage of iconic establishments to grab a bite in Pittsburgh's Strip district, but if it's a great burger that you want, Kaya is your spot. —Rodzilla
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