Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

NOLA on the Square

NOLA gives Market Square a taste of New Orleans with Creole/Cajun cuisine.


Photos by Laura Petrilla

At last, Pittsburghers can have an upbeat New Orleans experience with nouveau Creole/Cajun cuisine and live music in a colorful, jazzy atmosphere. The recently opened NOLA on the Square is an integral part of the newfound vitality of Market Square.

NOLA is the brainchild of French-born Yves Carreau, executive chef and proprietor, in partnership with corporate executive chef Andrew Hebson. Carreau has a knack for bringing us the right concept in the right location at the right time, having found great success with two Cultural District establishments: Sonoma Grille, a West-Coast kitchen and wine bar, and Seviche, a nuevo-Latin tapas and cocktail restaurant. 

NOLA is located in the former 1902 Landmark Tavern. The partners fell in love with the space upon first visit and felt that it reminded them of New Orleans. “With both the food and the building, we are trying to offer modern touches while respecting old traditions,” says Hebson. “New Orleans has a deep culinary history, and those are big shoes to fill.”

For the restaurant’s interior design, general manager Jerry Fink teamed up with the chefs and Charles Stern, an independent local designer who also did the striking interiors of Sonoma Grille and Seviche.

Sit on the front patio where the hubbub of the restaurant spills onto the square, or have a seat in the gorgeous bar area, where you can admire the beautifully restored tin ceiling, rich woodwork of the bar and the fun, imaginatively tiled floor. After you pass through the bar, you will see the lively, open kitchen. Next, you'll turn the corner and walk into a surprisingly large, quieter dining room done in red brick and accented by dark wood. Throughout the restaurant, you can view the large New Orleans-themed paintings created by Pittsburgh native August Vernon.

NOLA’s menu features starters, soups, salads, flatbreads, casseroles and entrées; it offers dishes that you might never find in Pittsburgh, such as alligator and frog legs.

The red beans and rice is a great starter ($4, lunch; $6, dinner), with pleasingly firm red beans, white rice and generous chunks of tender smoked-ham shank. Another fine choice is the fried artichokes ($7, lunch; $9, dinner), featuring large, lightly fried artichoke quarters served with a Creole mustard and ranch dressing. 

Although I’ve never really cared for gumbo, I love NOLA’s. The Gumbo Ya-Ya ($4, lunch; $5, dinner) is filled with tender, shredded organic chicken, mild okra, rice and subtle file (sassafras) flavoring. NOLA’s crawfish and sherry soup ($5, lunch; $6, dinner) is extremely rich yet delicious; it’s loaded with sherry, cream and chunks of crawfish. The soups, in my opinion, are much more memorable than the salads I sampled.

Among the sandwich options, I tried the shrimp po' boy ($12): fried shrimp on a Mancini’s Bakery baguette with a ravigote (oil, vinegar and mustard) dressing. Also available is the Croque Monsieur ($9): smoked ham and Gruyère cheese on grilled, rustic bread served with apple butter and Dijon mustard (on this sandwich, I missed the béchamel sauce typically found in the French version). The steak fries (perfectly spiced with salt and NOLA’s proprietary Cajun seasoning) that accompanied the sandwiches were definitely my favorite part. If you’re not having a sandwich, you can order a side of them for $4.

Among the wood-fired flatbreads, a standout choice is the crawfish and andouille Creole ($11): a generously sized pizza featuring tomatoes, artichokes, tender crawfish, big chunks of sweet and spicy andouille sausage, and melted provolone cheese—all built on a tender crust partly made with a semolina.

I highly recommend the blackened red fish entrée ($22): a simply prepared, blackened white-bodied fish served on beans and rice with an accompaniment of homemade chunky coleslaw. The seafood jambalaya ($25) is like a mini paella served in a cast-iron dish, with rice, shrimp, scallops, locally sourced chicken and andouille sausage; rather than being spicy, I thought the jambalaya had a basil accent.

Throughout the meal, the service was capable, quick and friendly. During each visit, several people attended my table with generous smiles.

In addition to the large selection of draft and bottled beers (including Louisiana’s Abita) and wines that cover all price points (a $6 glass to a $600 bottle), NOLA offers a cool variety of New Orleans cocktails that you’re not likely to find anywhere else in the ’Burgh: Featured mixed drinks include the New Orleans Milk Punch ($8), the Hurricane ($9), Vieux Carré ($10), Creole Julep ($10) and drinks containing absinthe.

The portions at NOLA are large, but if you have room for dessert, I recommend the classic, slightly sweet (and not greasy) beignets ($7).  Another good choice is the creamy bananas-foster bread pudding ($7) served with rum sauce and salted-caramel ice cream. Pastry chef Kerrie Jean McMillen makes NOLA’s treats. Coffee, which is the perfect complement to dessert, is from Nicholas Coffee Co., NOLA’s historic next-door neighbor.

The restaurant has already received an enthusiastic reception from diners, including Louisiana transplants who dine there daily, and is packed during lunch and dinner. The restaurant is especially hopping on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, when there is live music. A nice touch: On nights that bands are scheduled to play, there's no cover charge; instead, you can make an optional $5 donation to one of two charities: Make it Right, a charity helping rebuild New Orleans Lower Ninth Ward, and The National Wildlife Federation Gulf Oil Spill Recovery Fund.

NOLA on the Square Info:
» 24 Market Square, Pittsburgh (15222); 412/471-9100, nolaonthesquare.com
» Mon.-Sat.: lunch, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; bar menu,
3-11 p.m.; dinner, 5-11 p.m.
» Starters, Soups & Salads: $4-$12; Sandwiches: $9-$12; Flatbreads: $9-$11; Entrées: $11-$15, lunch; $17-$32, dinner; Desserts: $5-$10
» Serves alcohol; major credit cards accepted; takes reservations; limited vegetarian options; wheelchair-accessible; no smoking; free valet parking or self-park on street or in nearby garages; gluten-friendly options available; will seat past 10:30 p.m.; offers catering/banquet services; outdoor seating available.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Director and “Mr. McFeely” Discuss “Won't You Be My Neighbor?”

The director of the forthcoming Mr. Rogers documentary sits down with the longtime Mr. McFeely and Pittsburgh Magazine.

Pittsburgh Teen Chess Phenom to Host Her First-Ever Tourney

Chess enthusiast Ashley Lynn Priore hopes to enrich the Steel City’s involvement in one of the most classic and challenging of board games.

Hungry for Something Good, Pittsburgh? Where We're Eating in June

We're obsessed with Greekfreez vegan frozen treats, taking a first look at the new menu at Independent Brewing Company and traveling to The Tavern on the Square. Plus, we talk to Poulet Bleu pastry chef James D. Wroblewski II.

Working in a Steel Mill Turns Fantastical in 'The Glass Lung'

Pittsburgher Anjali Sachdeva’s first book blends the normal with fantasy in nine short stories.

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.

Pittsburgh Flicks and Nightlife in June

PM Nightlife Editor Sean Collier explores the popularity of Coughlin's Law on Mt. Washington and the future of Jump Cut Theater.

Pittsburgh's Can't Miss Concerts in June

The Pittsburgh music calendar is packed this month. Check out some of our suggestions for the best ways to spend those steamy summer nights.

June: Best of Culture in Pittsburgh

Check out some of the finest stage plays, dance performances and exhibits taking place this month in Pittsburgh.

Undercover: What We're Reading in June

Reviews of Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance by Mark Whitaker and Abandoned Pittsburgh: Steel and Shadows by Chuck Beard

Perspectives: How Cold Is Too Cold for Spiders to Live?

A former Marine and Pittsburgh firefighter comes face-to-face with his biggest fear.

Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Faces Centennial Challenges

This year marks a milestone anniversary — and questions regarding the emerging digital economy — for the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh.

Highmark Stadium Struggles To Accommodate Music Fans

The Station Square venue could be a good place to see a concert. It's not there yet.

CMU Launches America’s First Degree in Artificial Intelligence

Starting this fall, undergraduates at Carnegie Mellon will have the option to earn a degree in one of the world’s fastest growing fields.

Hog Wild at Fallen Aspen Farm

Owners Jake Kristophel and Desiree Sirois are committed to compassionate animal husbandry at Fallen Aspen Farm.

This is Where ‘Pittsburgh's Paul Bunyan’ Would Have Lived

The living emblem of Pittsburgh steelwork, immortalized in a Braddock statue, has been reborn with a titular space in Bloomfield.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


Director and “Mr. McFeely” Discuss “Won't You Be My Neighbor?”

Director and “Mr. McFeely” Discuss “Won't You Be My Neighbor?”

The director of the forthcoming Mr. Rogers documentary sits down with the longtime Mr. McFeely and Pittsburgh Magazine.

Comments

Pittsburgh Teen Chess Phenom to Host Her First-Ever Tourney

Pittsburgh Teen Chess Phenom to Host Her First-Ever Tourney

Chess enthusiast Ashley Lynn Priore hopes to enrich the Steel City’s involvement in one of the most classic and challenging of board games.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Lorelei Will Open in the Former Livermore/Pines Space

Lorelei Will Open in the Former Livermore/Pines Space

The owners of Independent Brewing Company and Hidden Harbor plan to bring a beer hall and cafe to East Liberty.

Comments

An Inclusive Community Breaks the Ramadan Fast at Salem's Market & Grill

An Inclusive Community Breaks the Ramadan Fast at Salem's Market & Grill

The Strip District restaurant draws a diverse community to its nightly ifṭār buffet.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places to Introduce Children to the Performing Arts

Best Places to Introduce Children to the Performing Arts

When you see a show at one of these organizations, you may enjoy it as much as the children.

Comments

The 4 Best Sports to Try This Spring in Pittsburgh

The 4 Best Sports to Try This Spring in Pittsburgh

Looking to switch up your physical activity now that it finally feels like spring? We found four sports you can play locally that you may never have considered.

Comments


Highmark Stadium Struggles To Accommodate Music Fans

Highmark Stadium Struggles To Accommodate Music Fans

The Station Square venue could be a good place to see a concert. It's not there yet.

Comments

Take a Tricky Trip To Mars at Escape Room 51

Take a Tricky Trip To Mars at Escape Room 51

The new escape room in Pleasant Hills is a great game for newer players.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Here We Go? Steelers Have More Than a New England Issue This Time

Here We Go? Steelers Have More Than a New England Issue This Time

At this time last year the Steelers perceived themselves, and rightfully so, as a team that was a mere win over the Patriots away from returning to the Super Bowl. This year, the focus is elsewhere.

Comments

Surprising Pirates Proving to be an Acquired Taste This Season

Surprising Pirates Proving to be an Acquired Taste This Season

For the time being, at least, fans continue to send owner Bob Nutting a message wrapped in apathy.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

The 400-Word Review: Solo: A Star Wars Story

The Star Wars series experiments with telling an origin story, with mixed results.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Pope Francis: A Man of His Word

The 400-Word Review: Pope Francis: A Man of His Word

The careful documentary is a valuable document of the pontiff's philosophy. As a film, there are issues.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Wine Classes Keep the Pre-Wedding Celebration Classy

Wine Classes Keep the Pre-Wedding Celebration Classy

Palate Partners School of Wine & Spirits offers a chance for brides- and grooms-to-be to explore libations before (or instead of) a night on the town.

Comments

He Recovers from Stroke to Officiate Granddaughter's Wedding

He Recovers from Stroke to Officiate Granddaughter's Wedding

It was always Ashley Watkins’ dream to have her grandfather perform her wedding ceremony — but a serious illness almost got in the way.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
From Milan to Pittsburgh: These are the Kitchen Concepts of the Future

From Milan to Pittsburgh: These are the Kitchen Concepts of the Future

Local interior designer Lauren Levant traveled to Italy for the influential Salon del Mobile show featuring the latest innovations in the furniture and design industry. With an emphasis on quality over quantity, these are the kitchen concepts she says will be making their way stateside.

Comments

Get Creative: Pittsburgh Podcast Inspires 'Girl Bosses'

Get Creative: Pittsburgh Podcast Inspires 'Girl Bosses'

Thinking about starting a creative business but don't know where to start? From photography to interior design, Gamechangers, the new podcast from local textile designer Savannah Hayes, gives a behind-the-scenes look at the design industry from the female perspective.

Comments