August 26, 2012


          So I was in a meeting last week and we started talking about food, I wasn't planning on going out but after talking that is all I could think about.  I have heard wonderful things about Stagioni so I figured we could give it a try.  I was hoping that this place would live up to the reputation I have heard.
          When you step inside you notice that it is very very simple and rustic nothing flashy at all.  We were told we were going to be seated upstairs and were taken up.  The upstairs is just like the downstairs, simple and rustic, closed in fireplaces and simple older lights.  When we sat down something didn't feel right and my wife started laughing at me, either the tables are too short or the chairs are too high.  I am a tall and bigger guy so a lot looks small next to me but I looked like a giant in these chairs.
          We ordered our appetizer and got the fresh mozzarella ball, at that time we also placed our entree orders, the wife got the jumbo shrimp and I got the quail.  Our mozzarella came out a few minutes later and you could feed a table of four with this dish.  The ball was about the size of a softball with four large slice of heirloom tomatoes under it sprinkled with basil and it had a balsamic drizzle on top.  The cheese was soft, buttery, creamy and still a bit warm from the water when it arrived at our table.  Just like any caprese salad all the ingredients worked together, the real kicker was the balsamic, it just really heightened the taste of the the basil and tomato.  The cheese would have been a good appetizer by itself but everything else made it a dish to remember.
          A few minutes after we were done with our appetizer the entrees came out.  I have never had quail before but I heard it is out of this world.  When the entrees came out I noticed like everything else there just how simple they were.  It almost looked like you could make it at home with no problem at all, after you taste it you understand you can't.  The quail were so favorable, they are unlike any other poultry I have ever had.  The breast is cooked like a duck breast to a nice medium and the meat is so tender and juicy.  The flavor of the quail was sweeter than chicken with earthy undertones to it.  Under the quail was an arugula salad with olives and homemade croutons.  By the time you get the dish the croutons are a bit soggy but I think that enhances the dish because they soak up the juices of the quail bringing the flavors to the salad.  The arugula is dressed simply with oil and vinegar which when I am at home I always think I hate it but when I get it when I am out I love it.  The saltiness of the olives mixed with the mild pepper in the arugula paired to make the perfect simple salad.  After I was done I asked the waitress what was on the quail because I tasted garlic all throughout the meal, she said just salt and pepper.  Either the croutons had garlic, I am crazy or she was wrong, I am going to go with option number 1.  But my wife would probably say its option number 2. 
          My wife got the shrimp and that came with gnocchi. The shrimp were pretty big, grilled with a bit of char on them and the gnocchi were of the potato variety.  The gnocchi were soft and starchy, they were mixed with grape tomatoes and parsley.  I really didn't get much of a chance to taste it being that I was in heaven with my quail.  I did get a little bite in and I must say again simple but good.  The sweet shrimp with the starch of the gnocchi and the acid in the tomatoes made for a dish that didn't disappoint at all.
          Overall this place is a top three for me here in Pittsburgh.  They have salt and pepper on the tables here but I bet they don't spend much money refilling them, everything was spot on.  I would suggest going down during the week because I have to say we spent about ten minutes looking for a parking spot on the weekend I bet it is more simple to find a spot during the week.  Other than the weird height of the tables I must say everything was perfect.  I would go back here for sure.  Everything here is simple, simple food, simple atmosphere.  It is so simple most people screw it up by trying to make it fancy, they know their food is good and don't try to do too much.

Food 9 of 10
Price 9.5 of 10
Service 8.5 of 10
Overall 9 of 10

2104 East Carson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

Stagioni on Urbanspoon

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