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First Friday Dinner at Enrico's Biscotti (Pittsbrugh)

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mhoffman Sep 23, 2006 04:10 PM

I've heard that Saturday lunch at Enrico's is really great. I went to their site and found out that they also do dinner the first Friday fo every month. Has anyone been? Was it great? Was it worthwhile? What did you eat?

http://www.enricobiscotti.com/store/g...

  1. y
    yammers Jan 7, 2007 03:00 PM

    sorry to hear about your horrible experience. i've only ever been to the strip location for lunch/brunch...never thought of going there for dinner. anyways, the shadysdie one is totally different. also if you like that type of italian food, you should try Dish in the southside.

    1. r
      Rick Jan 6, 2007 05:43 PM

      We went to the Strip location once for breakfast that we'd read so much about. I invited my parents and we were all really looking forward to it. We got there and the the menu was anything they had available in the front of the store and ham and cheese quiche! That was it, the same usual items they always have except on Saturday they'll bring them to you in their back room while you sit on old wooden chairs that feel they could break at anytime. The coffee thankfully didn't suck and the quiche wasn't bad, but I'd rather have went to Pamela's.

      1. m
        mhoffman Jan 6, 2007 05:09 PM

        The meal was a complete and utter disappointment. A culinary catastrophe of painful proportions. What I'm trying to say is that the food was really, really bad. Enrico's clearly does not understand the distinction between rustic and sloppy, and this conflation showed itself in the conceptualization, execution, and presentation of the entire menu. The website whetted my appetite by advertising, "You never know what’s on the menu, but we always feature the woodburning oven." I imagined a simple roasted lamb, or perhaps foul, caramelized in the blistering heat of the bread oven. But last night the wood oven wasn't even going! I can honestly say I've never had a worse meal for anything like $45 apiece.

        Here's a breakdown, course by lamentable course:

        PARSNIP BISQUE: This pureed soup was one of the least offensive dishes of the evening. It had good parsnip flavor, and was chunky in a way which, at the time, I interpreted as pleasantly rustic since I was still optimistic about the dinner. The soup apparently had also had a bunch of other ingredients in it (cilantro, peppers and other veggies, etc.), but they really had no business bring there as they did not contribute to the flavor. The soup was served at a merely tepid temperature (a theme of the evening), was under-seasoned (another theme), and was topped with a dollop of white stuff which our server referred to as sour cream, but which most certainly was whipped cream.

        ORRICHETTE WITH SAUSAGE AND KALE: If this dish had had no further ingredients it might have been passable. Why oh why did they add dried figs and raisins and God-knows-what-else to it? It was topped with what our server explicitly referred to as " Parmigiano Reggiano." After one bite my companion and I knew this was a lie. It might have been parmesan, but it was definitely not the good Italian stuff. I also saw the cook reaching into a big bag of pre-grated cheese while preparing the dish. Unforgivable at $45 a head! Oh, did I mention the pasta was lukewarm?

        POTABELLA GRATIN WITH SALAD: Now things started to get really, really ugly. A watery, under-seasoned stack of mushrooms topped with soggy breadcrumbs was slopped onto a small plate next to undressed salad greens, goat cheese, and dried cranberries. How many culinary rules of thumb did this dish ignore? Let me count. (1) Do not serve unadorned salad greens. (2) Do not place a hot item—especially a hot, *wet* item—next to a crunchy cold item like salad. (3) Do not serve some people a pound of mushrooms and two leafs of salad, whilst serving their companions the opposite ratio. (4) If you can't make one item correctly, making two items incorrectly does not solve your problem; it only exacerbates it. (5) Don't forget the friggin salt!!!!

        MONKFISH STEW WITH TUMERIC RICE: Here we hit absolute rock bottom. We'll put aside the fact that the choice of fish is ecologically questionable (I'm sure they didn't shell out for the newly available sustainable farmed stuff). We'll also put aside the fact that this meal included a soup AND a stew. My plate consisted of two golf-ball sized chunks of fish, a single canned tomato, and a lump of sorry-looking yellow rice. The whole mess was sitting in a shallow pool of watery broth. Who serves so little fish? I've had 9-course menus with larger servings! The fish was tasteless, and the rice truly inedible. It was way overcooked and mushy, and it tasted as if it had literally NO SALT WHATSOEVER. Someone needs to tell these guys that turmeric is more of a coloring agent than a flavorful spice, and the addition of it cannot salvage mushy, pasty, insipid garbage. Sorry, I'm getting angry again.

        PISTACHIO SEMIFREDDO WITH CANTUCCI: The desert wasn't so bad, which makes you think that these guys should stick to what they do every day. The dominant flavor in the semifreddo seemed to be almond extract, but it was tasty, and I was well beyond picky by this point.

        The best part of the meal? The wine we brought with us: Nozzole La Forra Riserva Chianti Classico 2001. A fantastic deal ($16.99) at the wine stores now if you can still find it. Oh, and did I mention that, despite forcing down everything but the rice, I went home hungry?

        1. y
          yammers Jan 6, 2007 04:32 PM

          sorry! you are talking about the strip one, not shadyside. I like their beans and greens and the salad with the cranberries.

          1. y
            yammers Jan 6, 2007 04:32 PM

            I eat at enricos on ellsworth, all the time. the menu changes really frequently. there is always a risotto of the day that is usually pretty good. when king copper salmon was in season, I had a piece there and it was incredible. my favorite is the ahit tuna tartare with truffle oil. to die for. it's hard to recommend one thing because the chef changes it weekly. I'm a big fan

            1. m
              mhoffman Jan 5, 2007 03:57 AM

              I claimed I was going in December, but could not get a reservation. However, I AM dining tomorrow night for certain. I don't know what their making, but, being that it's winter, I figure I'll go pick up an red from Tuscany or Piedmonte to bring along. As promised, I'll report back.

              1. yayadave Nov 16, 2006 03:17 AM

                Enrico Biscotti and Enrico's Ristorante are two different places, one in the strip and one in Shadyside. It might cause some confusion if the distinction is not made clear.

                1. m
                  mhoffman Nov 16, 2006 02:55 AM

                  It looks like I'll be going to the December edition. I'll report back.

                  1. a
                    AimeeP Sep 25, 2006 07:29 PM

                    I have - weekday lunch a while ago. Beans and greens were very good(and I'm a beans and greens snob), pizza was excellent. There were other interesting menu items but I don't do lunch often and if I'm in the strip on Saturday it's for shopping. Maybe someone else can pipe in........

                    1. m
                      mhoffman Sep 24, 2006 10:08 PM

                      Really? No one's eaten at Enrico's?

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