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Anything delicious in Pittsburgh??   Prefer downtown the area and I thank you

So at least in Pittsburgh I turn out to be the kind of person who sits around the Ace Hotel lobby with my laptop and a coffee.

Lucky people grew up in small towns; the unlucky ones in the burbs.

Sneak, do they have DJs at the Pittsburgh Ace?

 

As mentioned earlier in this thread, a photo of a Primanti Bros sandwich got me interested in moving to Pittsburgh, but I agree fries should not be inside the sandwich [though they do this in Paris too, no?]. More troublingly, no one with actual taste, who isn't inebriated at 3 am, seems to think their sandwiches are very good.

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Meat and Pototoes

 

Meat and Potatoes is a Downtown restaurant run by the same group as Butcher and the Rye. It's just good, not great. But how surprising to have such a good group-run restaurant in the CBD. And especially surprising in that these restaurants are in a persuasive hipster/NBC style. Pittsburgh is lucky to have them.

 

These are very much meatstaurants. I started with a so-called "snack" of fried pig's ears in vinegary barbecuey sauce. I hearby apologize for all the times I've dissed pig's ears. If you fry them, it turns out, they're just great. This went down great with a cocktail.

 

My pot roast main dish was more ordinary, but was fine. Maybe I ordered wrong.

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Cure

 

At last, a really really good restaurant that begins to live up to Pittsburgh's inflated (if I may say) culinary reputation.

Cure is, in fact, the progenitor of the current Pittsburgh dining scene, the first restaurant there to attract national attention and the model for much of what followed. (Well, actually, Brooklyn's the model. But you know what I mean.) It set off a restaurant explosion in its Lawrenceville neighborhood that has expanded to Pittsburgh's other hipster neighborhoods (and even, as we have seen, to the Downtown CBD).

Cure -- a mom-and-pop place run by Chef Jordan Severino and his FOH wife, Hilary Prescott Severino -- describes itself as "Mediterranean". And that's sort of true, as far as it goes. (But not much farther: choucroute?) But the real focus here is MEAT.

They're now pushing a tasting menu, but you can also order à la carte, as we did.

The best thing we had was what must be their signature dish, given that the menu calls it "This Is Why You're Here". A plate of ham (you'd figure that would be the signature dish of a place named "Cure") under some maple gunk. It's very hard not to gush about this ham. I think I'll stop at "even better than Benton's": both deeper and, if you can believe it, smoother. Just fantastic.

I went on to have some chestnut ravioli, which were very good. But the star pasta appears to be what my dining companions had, gnocchi with chicken/pork belly meatballs. I forwent that, however, because I knew I was going to finish with . . . .

"Charcroute", their cute name (as you can see, they perhaps overvalue cute names here) for a choucroute made entirely (as far as proteins are concerned) of pork products: belly, cheek, boudin blanc. (The converse -- or is it obverse? -- I'm pretty sure it's converse -- of Le Coucou's Choucrote à la Juive, which omits all the pork and includes only duck.) (If only it were goose!) If the worst thing I could say about this delicious dish is that it wasn't quite as fine as Daniel Rose's . . . well, that's pretty high praise.

So here we have it: a New Pittsburgh restaurant that does in fact what New Pittsburgh restaurants are purported to do in legend. Only one thing is missing: a sense of place, a uniqueness. This place could be anywhere in the U.S. (including most notably my own home borough). It's easy to see it as the basis of a good local scene -- but hard to see it as the basis of a restaurant scene hyped as being the best in the country. Nevertheless, if you're in Pittsburgh -- a delightful city, BTW, that repays travel and is a mandatory visit for anyone interested in urbanism -- don't hesitate. I can't wait to return myself.

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Cure

 

At last, a really really good restaurant that begins to live up to Pittsburgh's inflated (if I may say) culinary reputation.

This is an interesting statement.

 

I wonder how often smaller cities (or can we say 2nd or 3rd tier cities) end up with inflated culinary reputations based on 1 or 2 good places opening?

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