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!
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
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.
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?
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.