Looking for somewhere different to dine in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area? Check us out! We get together once a month with a couple of rules...no repeats and no chain restaurants. We started in 2009 and are still going strong!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Eighty Acres

February 2015
1910 New Texas Road, Pittsburgh PA 15239
http://eightyacreskitchen.com/
Eighty Acres Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon



 
This was the second time I have been to Eighty Acres and it did not dissapoint either time.  The atmosphere is small and quaint with the feel of being inside an old barn.  They have a good mix of square and round tables and you do not feel like you are sitting on top of each other as you do in most smaller restaurants.  We shared several appetizers including the mussels, flatbread and the queso.  Most of the people at the table preferred the queso.  The mussels were good but only came with one piece of bread for the five of us.  For my entree, I went with my staple salmon which was tasty.  The weight staff was friendly and attentive.  It is nice to have a place like Eighty Acres east of the city (Plum)!  We did have one complaint of the night - while we were having a drink at the bar before dinner, one of the people in our group overpaid their bar bill by $20 and the bartender just took the money without bringing it to their attention.

Wild Sage

January 2015
3932 William Flynn Highway, Allison Park, PA 15101
http://wildsage8.com/

Wild Sage on Urbanspoon


 





#1
Wild Sage review:  I really liked the atmosphere of the restaurant.  The chorizo flatbread appetizer was really good, but when I think flatbread, I think really flat and crispy (my personal preference).  This had a pizza-like puffiness to the dough, but it was still tasty.  Their selections of salads was very unique, it was hard to choose as they all sounded delicious.  I chose the Harvest salad with arugula, roasted sweet potatoes, wild rice, almonds and a vinaigrette.  This was one of the best salads that I have ever had.  There was a nice balance of savory and sweet within the salad.  My entrée was the Pecan Crusted Chicken Breast.  The chicken was very flavorful and tender.  We split three desserts which were all really good. 

#2
I enjoyed my dinner at Wild Sage.  The lobster crepes were delicious although it was more like a tortilla, than a crepe. I really enjoyed the chorizo flatbread and my southern belle salad. The kale and bacon combo are always a winner in my book. I had the scallops for my main course and the scallops were done perfectly but I would have preferred a different side to accompany the dish, the lentils did not add anything to the dish. Overall an enjoyable night out but felt the price point was a bit high for the area.
 
#3
I really liked the menu at Wild Sage—the menu was creative without being too exotic so everyone could find something that they liked.   I thought the taste of the lobster crepes was good but the crepe itself was more like a tortilla.  I would call this a lobster enchilada instead.  We also split the chorizo flatbread as an appetizer and it was just the right amount of spice. The arugula salad w/ pears and goat cheese was very fresh.  There were several salad choices, including the ever present kale salad, that looked appealing.  I had the salmon stuffed with crabmeat, artichokes and spinach.  It was perfectly cooked and a generous portion size.  We split 3 dessert and the chocolate cake from Prantl’s was my favorite.  We also as the crème brulee and the napoleon (sp).  The only downside was the price point.  We spent $75 per person with each of us drinking 2 drinks.  While this is not an unusual price for a place in the city with a great atmosphere I think this is high for a brightly lit restaurant with no real ambiance.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Buon Cibo

December 2014
4556 William Penn Highway, Murrysville PA 15668
http://www.ilovebuoncibo.com/

Buon Cibo on Urbanspoon
 "I liked this small family run BYOB restaurant.  Everything was made to order and the portions were substantial.  I has the crab cake/scallop platter.  The scallops were nicely caramelized.  I did not know that I could have gotten the crab cake grilled rather than fried.  I would have preferred that from a preparation standpoint.  The crab cake had very little filler and tasted great.  I had the side of pasta which I really did not try as I focused on my seafood.  The house salad was fresh and I liked that they placed the bottle of house dressing on the table so you had control over how much (or little) dressing you used.  We split the antipasti tray and edamame appetizer.  The food is not overly creative but is a notch above regular Italian fare.  The owners were friendly, coming to the table to introduce themselves.  We were there mid week and the place was relatively empty."
 
"The bruschetta appetizer was absolutely delicious.  For my entrée, I had the Chicken Parmesan.  The portion was huge for the price!  I opted for greens and beans for an additional charge rather than a soup or salad and I was a bit disappointed.  I love greens and beans, but this one lacked flavor.  My chicken and pasta were excellent, I wish I would have opted for the vodka sauce on my pasta as it would have made the dish perfect!"
 
"Buon Cibo has the feeling of a small town restaurant where everyone knows each other.  It is a family friendly BYOB establishment where you feel like you are downtown Pittsburgh for an evening out.  I liked that the owner specially made a bruschetta plate for us - it was a nice touch.  I have been back to Buon Cibo since our group went together and I loved it even more the second time around."
 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Toast

November 2014
5102 Baum Blvd, Pittsburgh PA 15224
http://www.toastkitchen-winebar.com/

Toast Kitchen and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon


I really enjoyed Toast.  The evening started off right by our being seated at a round table—so much nicer when there is a bigger group.  We shared 3 appetizers—I remember Mac and Cheese and maybe greens and beans.  My entrée was a seasonal special of acorn squash which was excellent.  We were there on a Wednesday night and the bottles of wine were half price.  We also split 3 desserts—the crème brulee and pot de crème were highlights.   The food quality was excellent and the service solid.  I would go back to Toast anytime.
 
This was my first time at Toast and I really loved it.  The atmosphere at Toast was really unique.  The bottom floor had a full bar and comfortable couches/chairs.  The upstairs had more seating and they had round tables which we love!  The food was very good and the prices were surprisingly reasonable.  Half price bottles of wine is always a bonus!


Elena's

October 2014
191 Hillcrest Shopping Center, Lower Burrell PA 15068

I loved the stuffed banana pepper appetizer, they had just the right amount of heat.  For my entrée I had the Chicken Parmesean.  It was a HUGE portion, enough for lunch the next day.  I had my choice of a soup or a salad, I chose the pasta fagioli which was delicious (I order it every time I go there).  I like that the restaurant is BYOB and there is no corkage fee!

Elena’s is very much a neighborhood red sauce Italian place.  I liked that you could order half portions. It is BYOB with no corkage.  There is nothing adventurous on the menu but is a great place for an inexpensive dinner out.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mediterrano

September 2014
2193 Babcock Blvd, Pittsburgh PA 15209
http://www.mediterranocuisine.com/
Mediterrano on Urbanspoon

I have been to Mediterrano before and have always enjoyed it but I thought that things were a bit off on this visit.  We were there on a Tuesday and were told that there were no specials as the head chef was off.  That was disappointing as in the past there had usually been a good seafood and lamb special.  We had a sampling of appetizers and I thought all were solid.  I liked the grape leaves and the hummus sampler.  I thought the pita serving was a bit skimpy.  My entrée was the stuffed tomatoes and they were excellent.  The cinnamon flavor was not overpowering. The commentary on the food was that everything was flavorful and everyone enjoyed there entrees.  I found it odd that at a Greek restaurant they would be out of lamb but when 2 people from our group ordered the lamb kabobs they only had enough for 1 order.  The portion size on the kabobs and on the sea bass entrées ordered seemed small.  There was not a bit of food left on any of the plates—most likely a combination of great taste and small portions.  The BYOB and limited corkage helped keep the tab in line.  I would go back to Mediterrano but would try to go on the weekend when there is more likely to be daily specials and a full kitchen.

Grit & Grace

August 2014
535 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15222
http://gritandgracepgh.com/
Grit & Grace on Urbanspoon
Grit & Grace was such a different dining experience than any other restaurant in the area.  All of the plates are meant for sharing and they are served as soon as they are ready.  Not all of the plates come out at the same time which helped to not have an overwhelming amount of plates on the table and kept the conversation going throughout the night.  There are small and larger plates to choose from and the wait staff also comes around serving small tastings.  All of the food was good and the sharing experience caused people to try things they normally would not.  I am keeping this restaurant on the list to go back!