Well, I know I promised two entries yesterday, but after we got home from dinner, I was hard at work making our little princess dog her very own blog. (Yes, I’m now one of those crazy dog parents who make her dog a blog… but everyone on Facebook would NOT let me rest until I did it, so blame my friends!)
Anyway. What that means is that I didn’t have time to write our entry about dinner at Avenue B on Friday night!
Avenue B is a cozy little restaurant on the corner of Centre and South Graham, in that nebulous part of Pittsburgh that might be Shadyside, might be Friendship, and might be East Liberty. We’ve been driving past it for awhile now, and I always say, “We need to go there!” When I saw them on the Restaurant Week list, I decided it was time to stop waiting!
One of the reasons I was itching to try Avenue B is that they are BYOB! For the special occasion, we decided to bring one of our California wines: this is the Peachy Canyon 2010 Mustang Springs Zinfandel (interesting fact: these vines are grown near eucalyptus trees, so you get a hint of a soothing menthol finish with each sip!).
For Restaurant Week, Avenue B featured a 3-course prix fixe menu, but also had their full menu open as well. They do both a fixed seasonal menu and a chalkboard menu that changes daily. However, since we’d brought the bottle of Zin, there was only really one good pairing option on the prix fixe menu. So we decided to go for broke: I ordered off of that menu, and Michael ordered off of the regular menu, since we can’t stand to order the same things and not taste as many dishes as possible!
While we were waiting for our first round, we got this delightful bread basket. The bread was delicious, but the real winner here was the fresh chive butter. This was so good, it could even dress up a piece of plain white bread!
My first round (from the RW menu) was the falafel with quinoa tabouleh and tatziki (that’s a yogurt and cucumber dip). I have tried falafel before from the food trucks on campus in college, and I was never impressed. But these were amazing! I think it was the combination of all the dressings, plus the lightly-fried quality of the falafel that blew me away. I’m a falafel convert.
On our server’s suggestion, we decided to get the bourbon-glazed pork belly and avocado lettuce wraps for our other appetizer. The lettuce was fresh and crispy, the avocado was creamy, and the pork was just perfect, dripping with the glaze and tender as can be!
For an entree, I got the hanger steak with truffle smashed potatoes and creamed spinach. This was just amazing. First of all: the steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare, tender and juicy. The creamed spinach was light and flavorful (not the creamed spinach you dreaded at the high school cafeteria!). But the icing on this steak cake was the truffle smashed potatoes. Oh. Mah. Gawd. I know I’m late to the truffle party, but why aren’t we cooking with those things every day??
Since our wine was so hearty, Michael decided to stick with beef as well for his entree. He got the Kobe meatloaf. I am not a meatloaf person, but he loved it. I heard a lot of this at dinner: “Oh, I’m too full. Oh okay, just one more bite. But now I’m too full. Well… one more bite.” The potatoes with the Kobe meatloaf are goat cheese and chive (delicious, but I still liked the truffle potatoes better), and on top are crispy onions. I was very impressed with those crispy onions: they were actually like slim onion rings, and not like the crispy, dry fried onions you get on casseroles.
To accompany our dishes, we got these szechuan green beans. They were spicy!! Seriously, if green beans had been this fun when I was a kid, I probably would have been more willing to eat them. These were less like a vegetable side and more like a fun snack.
For dessert, we split the RW offering of salted caramel chocolate with olive oil ice cream in a lemon marmalade. The chocolate was the texture of a really juicy brownie, and the salt was the perfect addition. And the ice cream? It tasted like someone had poured limoncello on it. WOW! I think the flavor of the rich chocolate and the lemony ice cream really complemented each other, and it was a refreshing way to finish dinner.
I know for sure that we’ll return to Avenue B, even when it’s not Restaurant Week. The prices are a bit on the higher end, but it’s well worth it for the care in the preparation of the food and the unique dishes offered. Besides, you save on being able to bring your own bottle of wine! Can’t wait to return in a few months to try their fall and winter seasonal menu!
Coming later today, our final dinner of Restaurant Week (::tear::) at Nine on Nine, and our upcoming brunch at Verde to close out the week!