Stopping in Pittsburgh on my way to Ohio
I'm driving home to Cleveland for the holidays and thought I'd stop in Pittsburgh for dinner. I'd love to try a favorite neighborhood spot, w/ good food, that's chef owned, and serves seasonal/farm-to-table cuisine. Price isn't really an issue. I do the drive a lot so it would be great to try new neighborhood spots each time, use it as a way to explore Pittsburgh a bit more. Thanks!
Here's something I posted on another forum today, for someone who was looking for "best, fanciest":
I've never eaten at Salt, but I have never heard one bad word from anyone who has eaten the food. For some reason, I look at their menu, and I never see anything I want to eat. On the menu for today (12-18-12), nothing in the Start section begs me to eat it. I'd like the risotto with the mussels, but I'd as soon skip the other elements that go into it. Only the scallops sound good to me in the Main section. http://www.saltpgh.com/menu/
If you like seafood, maybe try Penn Avenue Fish Company downtown. They get a mostly lunch crowd, i.e., dinner is only Wed, Thu, Fri, and Sat, but the food is superb. It is not a fancy place, though. http://pennavefishcompany.com/home_downtown.html
I would be inclined to eat at Spoon, probably. It's an attractive room, nothing formal, but a nice contemporary vibe (placemats by Chilewich, if that rings a bell), and I've always loved the food. Fresh, local, modern american cuisine in Pittsburgh East End. http://www.spoonpgh.com/
Another place I'm hearing good things about is Cure, in Lawrenceville. It's for meat eaters. http://curepittsburgh.com/
Best "farm to table" place might be Legume in Oakland. I've never eaten there, but people mostly say excellent things. http://legumebistro.com/
re: Jay F
Jay...it's time you go to Salt.
Spoon is good call, I've never had a bad meal there.
Cure is another that's certainly worth a visit, neighborhood vibe, very much farm to table - the best charcuterie you'll find in PGH
Root 174 definitely a neighborhood spot, they even have discounts for the locals. Mark Bittman stopped in a few months ago after he spoke at Carnegie
I just checked out Root 174's website for the first time. There are a few things on the menu that sound good, especially these starters (WITH MY COMMENTS IN CAPS--TO DISTINGUSH, NOT TO SHOUT. I'D USE ITALICS IF I COULD.):
Bone marrow crème brulee, parmesan, green apple gremolata, baguette (GREEN APPLE GREMOLATA? PLEASE...)
Roasted beets, carrot vinaigrette, horseradish crème, watercress, marble rye, celery (I HOPE THIS WOULD BE MORE THAN ONE BITE. EVERYTHING ON IT SOUNDS WONDERFUL.)
Mussels, chipotle-tomato broth, frisée, cherry tomato, frites (MMMM...)
Scallop, duck skin remoulade, blistered radish, pumpernickel, citrus (NOT SURE ABOUT DUCK SKIN REMOULADE, AND RADISH IS SOMETHING I PUSH TO THE SIDE OF MY PLATE, BUT SCALLOP...MMMM...I GUESS THE FACT THAT IT'S WRITTEN IN THE SINGULAR MEANS *ONE* SCALLOP.)
These main courses also look interesting:
Pork belly, white bean purée, woodland mushroom, apple jalapeño compote (HAVE I EVER HAD PORK BELLY? DO I *LIKE* PORK BELLY? THE REST SOUNDS GOOD, SO...)
Slow roasted salmon, kale, cippolini onion, harissa, olive salad (NOT SURE ABOUT THE HARISSA)
AS OFTEN HAPPENS, I'D PROBABLY WANT TO ORDER LARGER VERSIONS OF THE APPS.
re: Jay F
I've had the Bone Marrow Creme Brulee and really liked it.
Jay, I'm not saying this to criticize, rather to encourage you to try some of these dishes/places that I believe you'll enjoy.
It seems that you get caught up on seeing one component in a dish that you're not sure about, or maybe haven't had before and fear you won't like it.
If there is an ingredient you're sure you don't like, that's one thing. But especially at a place like Salt, where part of the fun is seeing which form the ingredients present themselves.
Worst case scenario - you're not crazy about it.
We had our first meal at Root 174 on Friday and it was probably the best, most creative meal we've had in the Burgh to date. The brussel sprout starter was great to share. I had the chicken dish. The thigh and yam waffle was to die for and the sauce/deviled egg pulled it all together. DH had the crispy headcheese which was amazing, too. I agree that you have to step out of your comfort zone a little at places like this and trust the chef. For example, my husband is not crazy about cauliflower, but it"worked" in his meal. Of course, there are few things we don't eat...
The only thing we didn't like was dessert, a bread pudding that had a salty taste.
We also got to talk a bit with the chef and get his take on the food scene, including his favorite spots. We'll definitely be back!
re: mb luvs SBH
The reason why these newer restaurants are successful are because they are pushing the culinary envelope. It's a refreshing change from the usual run of the mill restaurants and mediocre food. Don't let the descriptions throw you off. I've been to Salt many times and never had a bad meal.
It's just nice not to see the usual Pgh desserts on the menu (creme brulee, carrot cake and molten lava or chocolate/chocolate cake).