Pittsburgh - Dish Osteria on the South side
Heard great things about Dish Osteria so I decided to take an out-of-town guest there last evening. The setting was a little dark, but romantic. We decided to order a few appetizers and then split an entree. (We really wanted to try a few different things based on the recommendations).
The first appetizer came within a minute (sardines). They were alright, nothing special. The second appetizer came 30 minutes later with our salad. It was the calimari which was essentially two tentacles served on raw greens with fried potatoes. The potatos were the only ingredient that provided any flavor to the dish. The octopus seemed over cooked since it was very difficult to cut with a knife. The salad, which we hoped would come after the appetizers, was a fennel with greens and orange slices. It was drowning in, and thereby overpowered by, the dressing. The salad also included onions which were cut similar to the fennel pieces. It was hard to see whether you were about to bite into an onion or a piece of fennel...which can provide quite a surprising difference to your tastebuds. The entree did come to the table already split (Nice). It was the fettucine with mushrooms and was the best dish of the night.
The dinner was poorly paced, we had to ask for small plates each time a dish was served, not once were we asked how was everything or did we need anything. (The restaurant was not packed and the owner was there to welcome us upon our arrival). Overall, I may go back for the pasta, but that is it. I think this restaurant was overrated.
The best dish there is the filet with mushroom risotto. On a recent visit my husband had the duck special that had the same sauce but sweeter that was served on the filet. He wasn't that impressed. We also had the bread salad that was good. Service was indifferent, but well paced. I love the Southside and was so happy when Dish renovated an old divey pub into a warm but hip osteria. However, I have yet to take someone there and they've been wowed. I will return for the filet.
I also had a less than great meal at Dish, with indifferent service, poor pacing, and mostly unimpressive dishes. However, I did try Girasole last night, as I'd heard great things about it from both my girlfriend and this board. I'm sorry to say that the dinner we had was abysmal.
I did come out of this meal with a story worth the price of admission, so it wasn't all a complete loss.
I ordered a simple, traditional and common Italian dish, Penne Arribiatta with chicken. It wasn't on the menu, but a normal marinara sauce with chicken was at the top of the menu, and I was certain that they would just spice it up a little.
I received my dish, and besides being totally without any spice, there was no chicken in it. I wanted to call the waiter over, but he was nowhere to be seen. So I walked into the restaurant (we were on the patio), found the waiter, who came by and I explained that I ordered Penne Arribiatta with Chicken, and there's no chicken in it.
He apologized, and promised to fix it right away. But here's the kicker: After 10 minutes he came back and asked me what Arribiatta was. Note that this is from a restaurant that is staffed and run by what seem to be native Italians. He went on to explain that they had been looking up the recipe on the internet, but couldn't figure out how to make it !
I told him that it was fine, I was glad to eat the dish as they usually serve it (which by the way was watery).
I guess I was out of line asking for an off menu item, albeit simple and common.
I'm going to keep looking for that elusive and great Pgh dining experience. I'm not looking to compare the scene with NYC or LA, but there's got to be something great there !
No one on these boards ever mentions in, but check out Cafe Sam on Baum Blvd. We had an exceptional meal there a month or so ago. We always liked it, but hadn't been for a while. I think the place got better.
I was underwhelmed at both Girasole and Enrico whatever in Shadyside of which people on these boards speak so highly.
Leaving alone how they could not know what arrabiata is, how could they not have found arrabiata on the Internet? To check, I googled it and got loads of results. A guest isn't out of line to order something that's not on the menu; the restaurant has the option of saying "sorry, but no can do". The worst way to handle it is to just bring the dish prepared some other way, as if the guest isn't going to notice!