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May 30, 2010 02:57 PM

Pittsburgh dining report, 3-day visit in late May

First evening: dinner at Eleven in the Strip district. Efficient, non-assuming service. Not incredibly informative re wine list (Reisling? huh?? Is that red or white?), but this made up by generally first-rate New American cuisine. Party o' three had glass of Kremstal Gruner (yes, that's a reisling); later an Edna Valley Pinot. Good choices. Starters: tuna tartare -- good, but unremarkable. Entree of Elysian Fields Farm Lamb. Outstanding. Passed on desserts for cheese (forgot the names); table mates had semifreddo and pineapple cake, and admired both. In sum, Eleven is a very good restaurant, beautifully appointed and with terrific food.

Post-prandial beer (Victory Devil Hop) in Tap Room bar at Wm Penn Hotel. Hit the spot.

Second evening (too busy on business to bother with lunch): Beer + dinner at Church Brew Works. One of the strangest locales mine eyes ever did see. Restored church converted intro brew pub -- and by that I don't mean radically alerted; 'tis a church with a brewery and restaurant replacing pews, altars, etc. Excellent beer selection (had the pale ale, dunkel, and stout and stout in that order). Food was more than servicable (buffalo burger & sweet potato fries). Certainly the highlight of the trip vibe-wise. Wouldn't miss it on a return trip through the 'Burgh.

Third day lunch: Franktuary. High-end hot dog place in downtown (in the basement of a church -- is there a theme here??). Had the "locavore" beef hot dog. Very good, but not better than that. Worth a visit, but not a big detour.

Third evening: Dinner at the bar at Nine on NIne. Surprisingly dark, uninspired decor in bar. However, the food was excellent. Started with Salmon pizza, then softshell crab, then finished off with grilled sardines. I might have shifted around the order on second-thought, but the food was impeccable. Couple glasses of wine -- Marlborough NZ sauvignon blanc and then a petit sirah (forgot the name). In all, a very good choice on my part!

Summary: Impressed with Pittsburgh. Would definitely look forward to return trip.

Tap Room
1402 N 3rd St, Harrisburg, PA 17102

Church Brew Works & Restaurant
3525 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

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  1. Nice write up! Yeah, we do have some decent food in these parts and it's getting better all the time. Locals pretty much know about Eleven and Nine on Nine, but good on you for pointing out the bar food at Church Brew Works, which - for bar food - manages to be somewhat creative and often surprisingly decent.

    Nine on Nine
    900 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

    Church Brew Works & Restaurant
    3525 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15201

    1 Reply
    1. re: Panini Guy

      I am a native Pittsburgher, transplanted to South Carolina. My late husband used to cook at Church Brew Works and I miss the delicious foods prepared there. I have been trying, in vain, to find a recipe for the orzo cakes served there. Can anyone help? Those orzo cakes are one of my fondest memories of his time there and I would love to be able to prepare them.

    2. I really enjoyed this review, It is extremely honest and on point. Franktuary and Church are places MANY MANY in this city will never even known about.

      I am surprised Chruch doesn't get brought up more on this site, especially thier pizza and piergoies