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Willow revisted in Pittsburgh (long)

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Restaurants & Bars

Willow revisted in Pittsburgh (long)

AimeeP | Jan 9, 2005 10:23 AM

Got a coupon for one free entrée at Willow so I decided to give it another try (after a mediocre experience on the night of their grand opening a few months ago). There were no reservations available so we decide to just go and see how long of a wait we would have.

When we arrived we were told we would have an hour to and hour and a half to wait, which was fine, we bought a bottle of wine and were about to sit in the lounge by the fireplace when our coaster started flashing for us to return to the hostess station (which was a pleasant surprise based on the 2 hour wait WITH reservation at our first visit). We were seated upstairs with views of the woods - they have done a great job with the decorations and renovations at this place, warm colors with lighting that reflects al of the glass windows very nicely.

The wine list is good but not extensive, they do have several bottles for fewer than 20 dollars.

For an appetizer we tried the Brazilian calamari, which was described as sautéed and served with a spicy chimichurri sauce. There were plenty for 2 to split, the calamari rings were tender but the sauce was not on the side but under the calamari and was sweet and very oily so the dish seemed heavier than fried calamari. Not terrible just not great.

For dinner my husband had the tuna special, which was a nice sized portion of tuna medallions done a little more than he likes (he did ask for very rare) on a sort of succotash of baby corn, lima beans and a white creamy sauce. The dish was somewhat bland, the baby corn had a strong pickled flavor, which, in a warm dish made the sauce seem oddly medicinal.

I chose the Chilean Sea Bass, which, when it arrived was so obviously overdone that you could see that there was a one inch section of the fish all around the fillet that was completely dried out. I dine out fairly often and have 3 times sent a meal back – the first was chicken that was served raw in the middle. The second was on my first visit to Willow and the third was at this visit to Willow. The entree was replaced with fish that was done nicely, but the dish was described as being three herb encrusted and finished with a mango- jicima salsa. There was no trace of any salsa. My side was green beans which, thought they were a bright green color were rubbery. My husband’s side was described as tropical rice pilaf, which turned out to be plain white rice with canned chunks of pineapple.

Overall the meal was disappointing, again there is nothing terrible that I can point out other than the kitchens habit to overdo fish but there is no dish that I have had there that I would say I would want to have again.

So if you go – try happy hour from 5-7, half off ALL drinks and most appetizers. A nice space to sit but really not a place I care to try for dinner unless the kitchen changes what they do.

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