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A NYC'er Opinion on Pittsburgh Eats (LONG)


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A NYC'er Opinion on Pittsburgh Eats (LONG)

TEG | Apr 17, 2007 10:53 AM

I had posted a couple of weeks ago looking for restaurants to check out during a quick trip to Pittsburgh. I'd set the parameters for places within walking distance of my downtown hotel, and where I could get in and out for $30 to 40 bucks. I am happy to say that I was able to check out a few of the recommendations, and must say that I was pretty impressed with what I found. Here's a recap:

After getting to the hotel rather late in the evening I opted out of downtown exploration and ventured all of 20 feet to the pubbish Tap Room within the hotel. I considered breifly the fish and chips, but after the waitress recommended the burger I had to go with that. It was excellent and the fries were even better. It definitely rivaled some of the best burgers I've had here in New York. Also got a chance to try out the Iron City Beer and the Penn Marzen, both good with the burger. Price was on point at $20 a person with food drinks, tax and tip.

Having a conference to attend I went for the quick breakfast buffet at the Terrace Room. Good as far as buffets go. Excellent made to ordre omelet and even better banana nut bread. Definitely on the expensive end at $17 plus tax and tip.

Next was lunch, where I walked by Lemongrass -which had been a recommendation for a chowhounder. I was impressed by the cambodian food. I had a noodle dish with brocolli, egg and beef, while my more mainstream companion had shrimp fried rice. Although the noodle dish (very similar to Thai Pad See Iew) wasn't marked as spicy I asked the server if they could make it spicy and they complied. It was the perfect amount of flavor. Lunch for two was $20, with a couple fo cokes. The lunch items also came with soup and a spring roll.

We ventured a little further for dinner - to the South Side - which was a 5 dollar cab ride away - to visit a little place called Cafe du Jour on the recommendation of a hotel staff member. It was the perfect littel neighborhood spot and to make things even better it was a BYOB. Rarily do you find a BYOB of such high quality in NYC - other than perhaps Tartine. Everything we had was outstanding. We started with the spinach and asiago dip, which came with warmed french bread. Just as we were about to run out of bread with half the dip still left the server brought us another loaf without being asked. A sign of great service. I also had a salad with apples, gorgonzola and arugula. it was great, and the dressing was complimentary to the ingredients, rather than overpowering. Main courses were seared scallops with cous cous and porcini-crusted steak with mashed potatoes. The scallops were perfectly cooked, very tender and tasty, and the steak was also tasty. Mashed potatoes were excellent. All in all, this is one of the better meals I've had in a while and the price being just over $60 when all was said and done can't be outdone.

Having heard good things about Lidia's we enjoyed a nice walk through the stip district (I wanted to go in to each of those specialty shops and pick something good to eat) first adn then settled in for lunch. We shared the frito misto - a mix of calamari, shrimp adn zucchini fried in a light batter and served with some marinara sauce. Pretty good. The asparagus-split pea soup that came with my entree was uneventful, but the ceasar slad that came with my companion's was great. He felt it was too strong with parmesan, but I loved it. His entree was a steak panini that used real hunks of meat rather than flat sandwich steak. He said it was the best thing he's eaten so far. I had the pasta tasting trio, which included a fettucine with venison ragu (very goo, but very rich), bow ties with peas and shrimp (less interesting, but still good), and cheese filled ravioli in a light cream sauce and cognac soaked raisins (this was the best one, with a sweetness I didn't quite expect). I coudl have eaten a whole other plateful of the ravioli if I wasn't stuffed by this point. The price was a steel at 50 bucks with a couple of beers, tax and a good tip.

Our last meal in Pittsburg was lunch the next day as we were at the ballpark stuffing our faces with hotdogs and nachos. I was tempted to try out the "Bucco Taco", but alas couldn't fathom all those ingredients together. We walked over to Station Square and went for Grand Concourse. I beautiful space to be sure. We started with some buffalo shrimp - just like wings but with shrimp instead. Actually quite good. I wish I could find a place out here with those on the menu as I am not fan of wings. I had a steak sandwich on foccaccia topped with mozzarrella and portobello mushroom. Nothing to write home about, but it was good. My companion had a turkey burger, which he said was good. The cole slaw was great - it had jalapeno's which added a nice kick. Price for the meal, wasn't bad at abotu $35 for the both of us.

I was impressed with most of my meals in Pittsburg. I would love to get back there someday and explore a little more, especially Carson Street and the Strip District, where it looks like there are a lot of options for some great food.

Thanks to those who helped guide me.

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