Notion is coming back!
- Rodzilla Oct 22, 2012 12:31 AM
An excerpt from the facebook page..the entire message is worth reading.
"Thursday, I signed a lease to open notion.
To everyone who has supported us in this past year, those of you who have seen the struggle on our faces, we thank you. I cant tell you what it means to have people believe in you, even when you don't believe yourself.
We are one step closer, not to the end of a year wed rather forget, but to the beginning of the quest for perfection we've been dreaming about.
Thank you all so very much."
I'm pumped. Some of the dishes I had at notion remain the best I've had anywhere. No doubt that East Liberty is a better location than Oakmont. I can't wait to visit.
Nothing quite like it for miles. Some great places have opened around PGH in recent years, the scene is really blossoming.
Though the appreciation for food is much, much higher in other cities. Some of the guys in PGH (especially Racicot) are just as, if not more talented.
And I'll bet anyone a tasting at the new location that the camaraderie seen between the guys in PGH beats most cities.
This is really an amazing review:
And a news update from the PG:
As a longtime Pittsburgh native, I am quite frankly tired of having to go to Chicago or NYC to get a dinner like this. I've heard many haters say Pittsburgh isn't and will never be ready for this type of restaurant. Ironically, one of the most vocal I know is a Salt of the Earth investor. I cannot disagree more. A restaurant like notion will fill a huge void in Pittsburgh, specifically the need for a high-end modernist restaurant. For people who really like food, it will be the perfect place in town for special occasions, impressing clients and out of town guests, or just having a really nice night out for couples with small children who don't get out much (like us).
The restaurant renaissance over the last several years has been tremendous and taken us beyond the world of Big Burrito. Pittsburgh is ready to take the next step and embrace a NYC/Chicago-Michelin starred-style restaurant like notion. We can't wait.
Bread service? I'm a bit astounded and disappointed to read that one of the things Dave "learned" about operating a Pittsburgh restaurant is offering a bread service. Salt got complaints about lack of bread constantly in the early going, but people got used to it. I don't see how that's possibly a winner when you're trying to do what Notion does.
UE was where I first read about Racicot's cooking when he was still at Nemacolin. I was lucky enough to beat UE to notion..though I didn't have quite the degustation.
I won't claim to have anything close to the culinary experiences of UE, but I have visited some very highly acclaimed places. Even still, some of my most memorable dishes were at notion.
I used to think that once I left PGH for a more food-appreciative area, that my previous favorites would be outdone. That's not the case at all. If anything it showed me just how talented a few guy's in the Pittsburgh area are, and how lucky the city is to have them. I only hope that more and more people will come to realize this, and support the guys who have the balls to try and elevate the scene.
I completely agree.
I would also like to see the Salt-lovers stop bashing notion. Although both have modern approaches to cooking, they are completely different kinds of restaurants that offer completely different dining experiences.
Racicot wants notion to be a destination restaurant. Despite his short time in Oakmont, he's already drawn some national attention:
To be included in the same list as places like Alinea, Coi, Momofuku Ko, Moto, and wd-50 is extremely impressive. Having dined at all of those restaurants, I can assure anyone that they offer a far different and far superior experience than Salt of the Earth. It's really not fair to compare them because Salt isn't that type of restaurant. Sousa himself said they did not want to design Salt as a destination restaurant. I really like Salt, but for some reason people close to Salt of the Earth continue to bash notion. It doesn't make any sense. It's comparing apples to oranges.
Notion will have their work cut out to be on the same level of the restaurants listed above. Racicot has the talent and drive to get them there. The already-great Pittsburgh dining scene will be all the better for it.
BTW, bread service can be a fantastic part of dinner. At Guy Savoy I had a bread pairing which matched 12 different breads with 12 different courses. It was one of many elevating details of one of the best dinners of my life.
Admittedly, that wasn't was I was thinking about regarding bread service. I've never heard of a bread pairing dinner but I have no doubt it exists as I once sat through a coffee pairing dinner and absolutely despised the coffee element even though they were all great coffees, as it took away from the delicious courses instead of adding to them. And I was a bit of a somebody in the coffee industry at the time so I was supposed to enjoy it. Nope. Keep pouring the wine.
I've never bashed notion as a concept and have no doubt Dave is immensely talented. I'll be looking forward to the reopening and will get there eventually. However, on a personal note I was offended at an ill-conceived Tweet he launched last summer complaining about farmer's market prices and suggesting those on limited budgets were better off going to McDonalds. This was while Slow Food was promoting their $5.00 dinner campaign. I found it a bit arrogant and he went down a notch in my book.
re: Jay F
It's also patently false as the entire $5.00 dinner program conclusively proved. The problem isn't the prices at the farmer's market, it's the lack of food/nutrition education coupled with lack of ability/desire to cook. Dave chose the wrong soapbox. I have much more to say on this, but that would be a thread hijack, so I'm not going there.
Went to the soft opening last night. Overall we were very pleased with a couple of exceptions that I chalk up to personal taste more than execution.
You can probably get a seat tonight thru Saturday as they've extended the soft opening until then. It's a short menu (apparently half of what Dave plans to offer), comprising:
Tartare (Korean flavors, peanut, iceberg) - this is a holdover from Oakmont, designed to be eaten as lettuce wraps. Excellent.
Risotto - roasted shrimp, manchego custard. Very good.
White Asparagus - egg yolk jam, vanilla, pinenut praline (served as a soup - this was only dish we didn't try)
Oysters - horseradish cream, compessed cucumber, sorrel. Oysters were not briny enough to counterbalance the cucumber IMO.
Cod - shellfish sauce, daikon disks, almond, rose, cod skin "chip". Very good, perhaps underseasoned.
Ribeye - spring onion (and other small onions), truffle essence, arugula flowers. This was exceptional.
Chicken - mushrooms (sauce + small Asian mushrooms), kohlrabi/apple relish, mustard seed. Chicken was cooked sous vide and presented as small cylinders, which, IMO, affected the texture in a not positive way.
Milk chocolate - chunks of Nutella cake with bits of dehydrated chocolate that tasted like malted milk balls. Banana cream and chip, hint of orange. Delicious.
Yogurt - freeze dried fruits, maple, calamansi sauce. The sauce was like a gin-and-tonic-flavored gel and not particularly appealing as it didn't work particularly well with the yogurt. But we ate it all, so can't complain too much.
The wine pairings were off the hook. The Argentine vigonier was the best white I've had in years and perfect for the first two courses. The Cotes du Rhone was good, but a bit of a compromise as it had to work with both the beef and chicken. I found the Sherry served with dessert to be a bit too sweet to my liking.
A sourdough and brioche were served as a bread course. An amuse bouche of creme fraiche/roe/grapefruit foam preceded the apps and the finale was a pair of perfect basil macarons.
The soft opening is "donation only" so there's no bill, you pay what you think it was worth. Other than the chicken (which others there enjoyed) we thought it was worth a decent amount.
Our opinions might change once we see the actual prices, but there's no argument it's a fun and tasty adventure even if we didn't agree on the execution of each individual dish.
re: Panini Guy
thanks for the report! Glad to see Korean Flavors is still on the menu..the Ribeye and Milk Chocolate seem familiar as well - not a bad thing, as many Chef's continually refine dishes, and the versions I had were great to begin with.
I've had sous vide chicken cylinders elsewhere, and I'm with you - just not my preference. It always seems like luncheon meat to me.
do you happen to know if the breads were made in house?
I'm visiting the area in late May and this on the tops of the list.