New On The Scene: Casellula @ Alphabet City

Achievement: #3. 3 New Restaurants

With so many cool new spots opening all over Pittsburgh, the hardest part of our “three new restaurants” achievement is to pick only three to write up. Fortunately, Fox made up for my own indecisiveness by choosing our second new restaurant as a place to celebrate my birthday last month.

3 New Restaurants
As a reward for making it all the way to thirty-four years of age, despite my propensity for getting injured by home improvement projects and the like, Fox took me to dinner at Casellula @ Alphabet City, located on Pittsburgh’s North Side.

3 New Restaurants
Alphabet City, if you’re wondering, is the headquarters of Pittsburgh’s City of Asylum, an organization that provides sanctuary to imperiled artists and also offers a bunch of interesting creative programming. In fact, a fascinating documentary called (T)error was screening in the adjoining performance space while we ate. But I’m getting ahead of myself; that was later in the evening. I should start at the beginning.

3 New Restaurants
Truth be told, the first thing that caught my eye when we entered Casellula was their killer cheese display.

3 New Restaurants
So we ordered some cheeses and other small plates, and while we waited for the first course, we enjoyed some drinks off of Casellula’s nicely appointed cocktail list. Pictured here are the Rose Colored Glasses (right — contains gin, Aperol, St. Germain, lime, cider, absinthe, and lemon) and the Poe Died of Rabies (left — contains aged brandy, applejack, white port, lemon, served in an absinthe-rinsed glass).

3 New Restaurants
After much discussion, we had narrowed things down to four cheeses, each with its own pairing. From top to bottom, we had Rogue River Blue (a raw cow’s milk cheese), paired with chocolate chip shortbread; Coffee Cowboy (raw cow’s and goat’s milks) with shiitake mushroom salad; Roblechon (cow’s milk) with pickled turnips; and Monte Enebro (goat’s milk) with almond nut butter. Each pairing brought out interesting notes in the cheese — it was extremely well done!

3 New Restaurants
Along with our cheeses, we had servings of speck, salame, and coppa, along with delicious pickled cauliflower.

3 New Restaurants
Then came the hot stuff. We really enjoyed the arancini, which was made with porcini mushrooms, asiago, and balsamic onions. It was perfectly fried — crisp without being oily, and very savory.

3 New Restaurants
For our main course, we shared the gigantic Pig’s Ass Sandwich, a thick cut pork sandwich with cheddar, fol epi, B&B pickles, and a chipotle aioli. With its heft, it was definitely right for splitting!

3 New Restaurants
After dinner, we ordered some cappuccino and what turned out to be one of the most decadent desserts I’ve ever eaten: a rich chocolate cake drenched in heavy cream. It was nothing short of remarkable.

3 New Restaurants
Needless to say, I had a pretty good birthday dinner! I’d definitely recommend this place to any other adventurous eater — and be sure to try the octopus! We actually had that, too, but we’ll write that up when we put together the post for our Octopus 5 Ways achievement.

Casellula @ Alphabet City is located at 40 W. North Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Their hours are Sunday through Thursday, 5pm – 10pm, and Friday & Saturday, 5pm – 12am. They accept credit cards, but not tips — it’s a no-tipping restaurant. You can make reservations on their website.

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Filed under #3, #3-17, art, charcuterie, cheese, north side, pittsburgh, restaurant, sandwich, tapas

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