- six dower Aug 23, 2009 08:06 AM
I had the pleasure of having a great dinner at Plum in Shadyside (located in the former Richard Chens space). I was a bit leery due to the lack of info on the cuisine, menu, and reviews. I am aware that it is a very recent opening, however I expecting to find something on the web.
Here is the 911: Food is top notch. EVERYTHING my group ordered was terrific. The flavors and the fresh ingredients shined through in every dish. I was very impressed with how well each dish was presented and seasoned.
The restaurant bar provides a great drink list. The bartender was very friendly and very knowledgeable about the menu. Next time I will spend a bit more time at the bar, very spacious and the service was great. The bar area would be perfect for a quick bite after work.
The sushi bar is very comfortable and roomy. Most sushi bars are a bit cramped. We dined at the sushi bar and enjoyed watching the chef prepare many great dishes. BTW...the executive chef spent some time at Nobu in NYC.
The sashimi and the rolls were the best that I have had in Pittsburgh - including UMI and Chaya. We sampled the lemongrass beef lollipops, spicy seafood soup, and the chicken basil stir fry dish. For dessert we had the Richard Chen's famous chocolate bar with homemade ice cream. Please, do not forget to order this dessert. It feels like a sin with every bite....yes, it IS that good.
The decor is great and the lighting is much better than it was at Richard Chens. Service was great.
I am counting the days until I can return on Thursday so that I may sample more of the menu items.
I can second the recommendations for Plum. We did a quick stop in on Friday night to check it out. They wanted 20min for a table, but there was plenty of room at the nicely integrated sushi bar.
The fish we had certainly places this Plum in the top 5 sushi joints in town. I'd be interested to see if it holds, but for now, it's very nice. The Chinese oriented dishes were only ok. The exception was some phenomonally well-cooked string beans marred only by slightly heavy hand with the salt. However, the dishes that were more Thai and Malay oriented seemed to have a nice blend of home style taste and polished restaurant technique/presentation.
Maybe just a touch over-priced, but certainly in the range of the other East Liberty options. We'll see how it pans out after the honeymoon settles down. I think we'd pop in again for some quick pre-date or post-date sushi, but not sure I'd make it a destination in itself.
I have been to Plum twice now. First time was a wednesday night at 8pm. Not many people and great service. I had the salmon sashimi and my husband had the pad thai. Pad Thai was good, the noodles were not overdone. Very close to Typhoon's pad thai. Sashimi was great, but I preferred Tamari's sashimi a hare over Plum. The sushi bar is nice, the decor is great.
The second time i went was this past saturday night. Absolute disaster. It took 40 minutes to get our first drink. 40 minutes. the one friend who hadn't ordered sushi, got her meal first. Then we received our sashimi and then the appetizer came at the end. Strange. The chicken satay was really really good. They ground their chicken and marinate it and add herbs so the flavor is really consistent through the chicken. The rainbow roll was excellent, sashimi was more fresh on saturday night and also delicious. The haphazard timing of the food and the extreme wait for a beverage was a bit of a sour note and didn't allow us to relax the way we would have liked to. On the positive side, our drinks were comped which is a good sign of a restaurant still working out the kinks and understanding that issues still exist.
I will give it another week or two to settle in and get training up to speed and then try again. On the other hand, we went to Tamari the week before and I thought it was very delicious! the seviche and robata grill were excellent.
I hate to throw a wet toque on the thread, but I can't recommend Plum, for many reasons. Yes, the decor is nice but the service is perhaps the worst i have experienced in an upscale restaurant. We are big supporters of the restaurant scene and know many in the business. We had a bad experience the first time around, but went back several more times because we know that sometimes, restaurants simply have a bad day.
However, on each visit, we waited between 20-30 minutes after being seated for anyone to offer to take a drink order. When that was done, it took another 10-15 minutes to get the drinks. Then, our wait person would disappear for another interval. Without fail, we would be at the table for almost an hour before we could order. We even thought that we could fare better at the sushi bar, but, uh, no. The sushi-tzu wanted to take our order before we had been asked what we wanted to drink.
So what about the food? Middle-of-the-road Pittsburgh Asian. Nothing particularly adventurous, and most non-Japanese dishes are bathed in sticky sauces. Really, do we need yet another rendition of Kung Pao? And miso-glazed cod is about a decade past boring.
This past Saturday, we visited for lunch, thinking that we might have better luck. We sat at the sushi bar. 20 minutes, and no one spoke to us. So we left, and we won't be back.
We will stick with Tamari from no on.
I would beg to differ with hungryi's post. Wife and I had Sat. lunch on the 16th and found it very likeable and fairly inventive for Pittsburgh, if somewhat expensive. Likewise, service was friendly and efficient. My sea urchin appetizer was the only miss, maybe because I didn't much like the raw quail egg-when I ordered it I didn't anticipate the egg would arrive ON the urchin. Our soups, sushi, wife's pad thai, and my Indian -influenced noodles we heartily endorse as well-executed.
I'm happy that you had a nice experience. I gave the place another try and the only way we got any service at all is by spending an obscene amount on wine. the service is simply horrible. They skimp on personnel, and those that they do have know little about the food they offer. I wrote them directly and have been ignored, which illustrates quite perfectly their attitude toward customer service.
I have two observations: I don't mean to be rude, but I doubt you have had much sushi. Uni often comes with quail egg. It doesn't have to, but it's not unheard of.
Also, do you think that we really need another nasty Americanized version of a dish (pad thai) that you can get at way too many bad Thai restaurants already? Really, pad thai? Inventive!
I don't know if the menu is merely a product of an unimaginative chef or a commentary on the sorry state of dining in Pittsburgh. It's not necessarily the chef's fault. After all, he/she needs to make a profit and if diners want yet another pad thai, then so be it. But I won't be spending my money for it. Better, in my opinion only, to go to Tamari where the chef is really interested in his clientele and his cuisine. Or even go to the Dumpling House, which is short on decor and has a wine list like a Polish Hill bar, but whose sushi chefs are constantly bringing in fresh seafood and preparing it in innovative and tasty ways, at a reasonable price. And if you insist, you can get your boring chow mein next door.
Andy's (stand in Wholey's)
Original Fish Market @ the Westin (also has benefit of being open quite late and fantastic oysters)
I've also heard good things about the sushi at Penn Ave Fish. I've bought a ton of great fish there, don't know why I've never tried their sushi...
Of course, Umi has great fish, but I always think of that more as a place to do omakase rather than just simple sushi. Seems like a waste to just go there for the sushi.