It's restaurant week in Pittsburgh. And, in my opinion, that's cause for reflection and celebration. When I moved back to Pittsburgh in 2005, Pittsburgh's food culture was barely on the map nationally. And, to the extent that it was, its largest landmarks were huge-helpings of fries and coleslaw atop sandwiches and pierogies stuffed with cheese, potatoes and sauerkraut. Those things aren't bad (in fact they're great), but the landscape has evolved so much in the last ten years; and its evolution has put Pittsburgh firmly on the map nationally for good food (and not just for hearty helpings of Eastern European food that are best enjoyed before, after AND during a Steelers game*). Over the last 10 years, we've watched our food culture become larger, more diverse, and more integrated. Our city has produced talented young chefs and has helped developed star chefs and restauranteurs, sure. But more importantly, our city has produced the foundation of any good food scene: farmers and artisans that range from local cheese makers to great local bakers to (of course) local brewers and distillers. This integration has not just spurred the growth a mature food and drink culture, it also has laid the foundation for great things to come. And, you need only glimpse at Melissa McCart's Post-Gazette food blog to know that the pace of growth is accelerating rapidly. New restaurants are opening every month, bringing us more and more diverse offerings and adding to the richness of our city.
Take some time this weekend to celebrate what has happened (and what's about to happen) to food in Pittsburgh. Enjoy restaurant week.
Our PGH Restaurant Week Special (available Friday and Saturday):
Middle-Eastern Spiced Skirt Steak
Served with farm-pepper salsa and lemon & goat cheese risotto.
Pair with a 7 ounce pour of any beer for $20.15
Chef Monique does right by her Egyptian heritage with big and bold Middle-Eastern flavors complimenting a perfectly grilled steak. Pro Tip: I highly recommend pairing (if you like big hops and big malts) with the Big Hairy Monster from Hop Farm or (if you are feeling just malty) the Black Lager (Schwarzbier!) from Lavery.
Speaking of new restaurants, our Saturday night guest bartender is Carrie Clayton, who is soon to head up the bar program at Poros, a greek-inspired restaurant opening soon in PPG 2 (on the corner of Market Square). Join Carrie Saturday night as she mixes a sure-to-be-delicious menu of Mediterranean flavors and spins on classic cocktails.
Thank you folks and see you at the Independent (and if I don't, it better be because you're trying the Restaurant Week vegan versus meat menus from our good friends at Root 174...)
* I apologize for nothing