An evening at Mio! (Pittsburgh)
I must say, I enjoy food. I am not the most knowledgeable foodie on the planet however I can recognize and appreciate quality and I certainly have harbored my own opinion on taste as it pertains to my palate. With that being said I wanted to share the experience of my first visit to Mio with my lovely, beautiful, and Italian girlfriend.
I made reservations via Open Table via my iPhone for Friday evening at 7pm. I was surprised to find a table available to us. As we arrived parking was plentiful (however bring your quarters as there is a 24/7 metered lot across the street).
To my surprise upon arrival at 7pm, Mio was rather empty. This didn't bother me as we had ample room to take in the calm, inviting and warm interior. There is a long row of tables for (2) on the right side where you walk in, a small "wine" bar on the left hand side, and tables for (4) in the back left corner. I was curious when our hostess seated my companion and I in one of the tables for (2) next to the only other couple dining in the entire restaurant. We both found this odd but went with it anyway. They were so close that we almost partook in each others conversation. I will compliment our seat selection because there is an LCD above the bar that displayed the Pen's game while we dined. Mio is in Aspinwall which is a nice little community even on a semi-rainy fall night. The location only adds character because it's not too terribly stuffy!
We were greeted by our server "Dana" who was both knowledgeable and helpful with the menu both solid and liquid. Mio does employ a sommelier that we didn't take advantage of this trip! The wine list is plentiful for every price range. He certainly has procured some fine vino. We choose the wine by the glass which ranged from about $8 to $12. I also have the bartender's "fall harvest" version of the sangria. It was very well done and comparable to the plum infused sangria Soba has to offer.
The food was nothing short of Amazing. I would best describe the menu as "Contemporary Comfort" food but they describe it as "New American". I had the Char-Grilled Pork Chop topped with pulled pork (you heard me right)! The pulled pork was mouth watering and contained jalapenos that brought both flavor and mild heat to my plate. The pork itself was cooked PERFECTLY! Kudos kitchen!! My date had Gulf Shrimp with Cheddar Grits, jalapenos, with a sausage gravy. Let me tell you about their sausage, it was divine. So flavorful that I can still taste it and my mouth waters just thinking about it! We had this same sausage in our handmade sausage ravioli appetizer. We did share a very well prepared salad before the ravioli that was fresh, crisp, and layered with flavors.
Not to be outdone, dessert called our names. Both dishes (Pumpkin Cake and Pear/Cranberry Creme Brulee) carried with them the excellence that was prominent in all the other dishes this evening.
We will certainly return to Mio in the near future and may use it as our new "default" wine bar. I have read on their site they have a pre-fixe menu of three courses for $36ea. (Tuesday thru Thursday) and offer a private dining room for parties of 8 or more. (this area also looks into the wine cellar) I would say that Mio has entered my Top 5 restaurants in Pittsburgh list. With its fresh ingredients and flavorful dishes it passed the "Italian Girlfriend that is VERY discriminating with food" taste test. That alone should be your motivation to try it.
225 Commercial Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15215-3024
Mio Kitchen & Wine Bar
225 Commercial Avenue, Aspinwall, PA 15215
Have eaten at Mio twice and both times it was excellent. I think it doesn't quite get the attention of some other restaurants is because of the price point, which seems to be a bit on the high end, and the location, which, like Bona Terra, isn't great, and means if you are making an evening of it, you have a decent drive to any other planned destinations.
I hope it survives, but not a good sign that it was relatively empty on a Friday night. Tough business, man.
Bona Terra Restaurant
908 Main St, Pittsburgh, PA 15215
I agree Whigsboy. One of my top three favs in PBurgh. It is very rarely mentioned on the boards. Is is pricey, however the food is worth the price. I hope it survives the typical PBurghers that want big quantites for little price. This is the reason why we have so many chain restaurants that are packed daily and with long wait times on the weekends, while great places like Mio's are empty. Perhaps we should give Mio's more highlights on the boards.
My husband and I have been debating whether or not to go back there. Granted it's been well over a year since our first - and only trip - there, and we made a point to go because it was new and wasn't a chain. I remember the appetizers and salad were yummy (I had this amazing butternut squash soup) but was thoroughly disappointed in my entree (terrible memory, it was chicken or pork with some sort of sauce...) as it was EXTREMELY salty. I am not one to complain normally, but I mentioned it to the server, and never saw here again until we got our bill - and were billed for the inedible food. Left a bad taste in my mouth, so to speak = )
Now that I read your review, it's given me a reason to give them a second shot! Thanks!