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Chef's table in Pittsburgh?

Looking for recommendations on a good, interesting meal in Pittsburgh. Good wine line key, cost not a primary objective. My main client was recently married, and want to take her and her wine-loving husband out to dinner. I'm probably more of a foodie than they are, but they'll go along with me, I'm convinced.

I haven't done much fine dining in PIT, so not quite sure what I'm looking for. I read the review of Eleven's chef's table, but it didn't terribly excite me. I've eaten there 4-5 times and found it good, but not wow. I've eaten at quite a few places downtown, with the probable exception of Nine on Nine (although I walk by

For a point of reference, the new husband loves Lidia's, and is a regular there. Her favorite is Capital Grill. I want to mix them up more than a little bit.

I'm thinking maybe Salt of the Earth, but beyond that really have no clue. Thanks!

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  1. Go with your first instinct...You won't go wrong with Salt! That said, my next favorite is Nine on Nine. Another idea might be Montery Bay on Mt. Washington. The food is not quite as inventive as Salt, but the view really makes for a memorable evening.

    http://burghfeeding.blogspot.com/

    1 Reply
    1. re: Burghfeeder

      I totally agree with Burghfeeder regarding Salt. It is always my suggestion for the type of event described in the OP.

    2. Salt doesn't do tastings AFAIK, though it would be easy enough to sort of make your own.

      Spoon has a 5 course tasting hat would likely appeal to everyone's tastes. Tamari also offers a Chef's tasting menu.

      Given your preferences, I would lean towards Spoon.

      1. How about Cure in Upper Lawrenceville? It is BYOB so you could take wine that interests you! Food is delicious...and though the menu is small...It changes frequently and has something for everyone.

        1 Reply
        1. re: vacationmomma

          Cure offers a family style tasting that's very, very reasonably priced, and Severino is a hell of a chef. That said, it's a bit more casual than Spoon, which also has an extensive wine list (saving the host the trouble of pairing when he's not sure what they'll be having)

        2. We're headed to Salt of the Earth. I'll report back soon! (although I do want to check out Cure, and glad to hear that it's more casual)

          1 Reply
          1. re: wizzy99

            looking forward to your report! Just saw this on the site "Chef’s Tasting menus available Mon-Wed evenings with one week’s advance reservation."

          2. I've only been there once, but was amazed at the wine selection at Bar Marco in the Strip. Coupled with a very tasty appetizer and entree list, I really enjoyed my evening there.

            1. As promised, reporting back. We had a WONDERFUL meal at Salt. They offer a tasting menu Mon-Wed, with seating at the kitchen bar. We were a party of four, and it was tough having a conversation across all of us due to the straight nature of our seating, but we all agreed that we truly enjoyed ourselves.

              We went with the 8 course tasting, with drink pairings. I can't say wine pairing as it wasn't solely wine, but everything was a wonderful match. We arrived for dinner a few minutes after 6pm, and left 3 hours later, just after 9pm. Pricing for the tasting was $100, plus $55 for the pairings. Alternately we could have gone for a 5 course tasting for $75, with a $35 pairing. In talking with the chef, only one course, the dessert, was directly off the menu. We noticed that several of the wines, particularly the pinot noir that paired marvelously with the lamb, was not on the menu; our hostess mentioned that she had picked it up especially for us.

              Amuse: scallop, radish, chie, olive oil, lemon
              Soup: canteloupe broth, melon, mint, oregano, jalapeno
              nectarine, lardo, cress, correl, cucumber
              foie gras, fig, fried garlic, pink peppercorn, balsamic vinegar
              Fish: black bass, uni, potato, carrot, basil
              meat: lamb, beet, musroom, beets, black garlic
              cheese: blue cheese, plum, honey, cocoa, celery
              dessert: peach, chocolate, hazelnut, pound cake

              My favorites:
              1) the lamb, by far. simply amazing, especially with the wine pairing
              2) sea bass. I like fish, but this was sublime.
              3) foie gras. I can't believe that foie only made it to number 3, but numbers 1 and 2 were that good

              Overall summary: I'd go back in a heartbeat. The tasting menu was pricey, but I thought delivered value as well. I wouldn't recommend this for a serious business discussion due to the 4-across seating (picture sitting next to each other at a bar), but with some flexibility in how you position your chairs you can manage.

              I couldn't figure out how to post directly at the appropriately place in the post, so I decided to just use flickr for photos of the meal. Photos were with my phone, so not my finest work.

              http://www.flickr.com/photos/25025207...

              4 Replies
              1. re: wizzy99

                So happy to hear you had a great time and thanks so much for the report! Salt wasn't offering regular tastings when I was still in Pitt, but Sousa and his team have created my favorite dishes to date.

                The price is on the higher side, but seems fair given that it was the equivalent of a chefs table..but I don't think they should count the amuse as a course. Was Sousa cooking himself?

                1. re: Rodzilla

                  No, our chef (forget his name) has only been there a little over a year, but did a fantastic job. I also mentally questioned the amuse as a course, but I was pretty full at the end, and really didn't need anything else!

                  1. re: wizzy99

                    I just saw on twitter that it was Chad Townsend, I've never had the pleasure - only Sousa and Rubis, but the entire team is very talented.

                    1. re: Rodzilla

                      I got some clarification: Chad Townsend, our Chef de Cuisine, Maggie Meskey, our bar manager, and Tim, your server.