January 31, 2012

Avenue B

          Last weekend my wife and I went down to East Liberty and went to Avenue B for some modern American food.  The parking situation down there was horrible but the Market District is right across the street so we parked there.  Our reservations were for 5:30 and we got there right on time and were seated immediately.  The first thing you notice about the restaurant is how small it is, there were only 15 tables in the place so it gave it a nice personal feel.  The next thing you notice is the changing chalkboard menu.
          Our waitress came over and told us the daily specials and we already knew what appetizers we wanted so we placed our app order.  The blackboard menu changes daily and the also have a seasonal menu that has all of their specialties on it.  I started with the chocolate chipotle BBQ pork tostada and my wife got the Gorgonzola raviolis.
          My wives ravioli were great, they were sauteed and topped with candied walnuts.  The sweetness of the walnuts with the strong flavor of the cheese just worked a lot better than I thought it would.  The tostada was very good, it was a spicy sweet BBQ sauced pulled pork topped with re fried beans and a banana guacamole and sour cream.  It worked, it was weird but it worked so good.  The fried tortilla strips gave it a nice crunch and the banana guacamole I can't even describe you just have to try it. 
          We got our entrees about 20 minutes later and we were not disappointed.  I got the grilled butterfish and my wife got the bacon wrapped pork tenderloin.  We both wanted the pork but I was being nice and let her get it.  The pork was cooked medium well wrapped in bacon and covered in a honey BBQ sauce, all of this was on top of grits and collard greens.  The pork was cooked perfect and the BBQ sauce was some of the best I have tasted.  I wasn't a big fan of the grits or greens although I have to say the grits were creamy and rich but the greens were far too biter for my taste.  My butterfish was sushi grade fish and was seared on the outside and almost raw on the inside.  It was so tender and sweet and came with a side of squid ink linguine.  The pasta was thick and a dark black color, cooked al dente and had big chunks of tender lobster meat mixed in and topped with a saffron aioli.  The only problem I had with this dish was that the fish was topped with way too many shaved raw red onion and it over powered you palate, I pushed most of them off and and it was so much better, the onion almost killed the dish.

          My wife decided that she wanted dessert so we got the chocolate dessert they offered.  It was good it came with two chocolate fudge rectangles on top of chocolate cookies along witha mascarpone ice cream and a pomegranate juice reduction.  The fudge was velvety smooth, the cookies were crispy and the ice cream stole the show.  The tart pomegranate with the sweetness of the ice cream just married so well, I could have had a big bowl of just that ice cream.
          Overall I would say that Avenue B isn't on the same level as some of the top restaurants in the city but it is very close to it.  They have to make a few tweaks to the garnishes that accompany the main dishes and it would be right up there.  I loved almost everything about this place from the small size of the restaurant to the quality of the food.  I would go back here for sure it was well worth the money.

Overall 8 of 10
Food 8 of 10
Price 7.5 of 10
Service 8 of 10

5501 Center Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Avenue B on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Am coming through town in a few weeks...Was looking at going to Avenue B, but would love to hear from someone there what the very best restaurants in Pittsburgh are! Not looking for regional food, just fantastic European/American, fresh/farm-to-table type cuisine!