Hotspots: Where We're Eating in May

This month, we'll be at Udipi Cafe, Bar Marco, Shiloh Grill and Kous Kous Café.




 

Udipi Cafe
If you aren’t part of the burgeoning dosa appreciation movement, you will be after sampling Udipi’s mastery of the form. Impossibly thin and incomparably savory, dosas are giant crepes from south India, where all types of beans, grains and rice are soaked, ground, blended and transformed. Part of Udipi’s charm, besides the enormous menu that lists traditional fare, is that it’s located down a winding road parallel to the highway above; the anticipation builds, as it should, for the almighty dosa.

4141 Old William Penn Highway, Monroeville; 412/373-5581, udipicafepittsburgh.com

Bar Marco
The Italian cooking credo — quality ingredients, limited human involvement — holds true with frico, a magnificent snack served at this new Strip District spot. The treat (originally the frugal cook’s way of using cheese scraps) comprises a wedge of savory pie, borne of potatoes, baked in a skillet loaded with bubbling Montasio and melty leeks. Bar Marco’s inventive menu features a dozen more small plates and expertly mixed cocktails (a tequila gimlet with lime and basil, for example).

2216 Penn Ave., Strip District; 412/471-1900, barmarcopgh.com

Shiloh Grill
Venture to the Harris Grill’s sister restaurant atop Mount Washington and marvel at the interior’s uncanny resemblance to the Shadyside original. Intrepid travelers are amply rewarded for getting up the hill when a piping-hot cinderblock of lasagna arrives at their table. The so-wrong-it’s-right marriage of breaded eggplant, pesto, cheese and a slightly spicy tomato sauce shows that noodles aren’t necessary. Also recommended: fried local cheese curds, Jamaican jerk-chicken tacos and the Greek salad.

123 Shiloh St., Mt. Washington; 412/431-4000, theshilohgrill.com

Kous Kous Café
Like plucking the strings of an oud, the Moroccan chef singles out notes of saffron, anise, orange blossom and mint — complex, aromatic flavors. The melody created by chef Abdel Khila at this tiny café is spellbinding — from the house salad’s just-right sweet mint vinaigrette to the zaalouk (a bonfire-smoky roasted-eggplant dip). Even the couscous is bound to impress. Khila’s mother, who’s responsible for a subtle trio of cookies, is clearly an influence in her son’s kitchen.

665 Washington Road, Mt. Lebanon; 412-563-5687, kouskouscafe.com


Lisa Young, Owner, Sugar Mama Cakes


Pastry chef Lisa Young is the owner of Sugar Mama Cakes. You can find her sweet treats at the Pittsburgh Public Market.   

Favorite frosting:
Pomegranate buttercream. It’s this pretty dusty-rose color, and tastes so tart and delicious.  

Dessert you entertain with at home:
French macarons — say, Nutella, Salted Caramel and Strawberry Balsamic.  

Size of cookbook collection:
It fills up an IKEA bookshelf that has 16 cubbies. My favorite dessert cookbook is Dessert Fourplay by Johnnie Iuzzini, the judge on “Top Chef: Just Desserts.”  

Most unique cake:
I’m from Thailand, and I ask my mom to bring me tons of tea leaves when she visits so that I can capture that flavor in my Thai iced-tea cake.  

Best dessert you’ve ever had:
A hazelnut tart from WD50 in New York, a place known for its molecular gastronomy. It tasted perfect, and it was technically amazing; the filling was incredibly smooth.

Sugar Mama Cakes, 412/512-0455, sugarmamacakes.com

— Kate Chynoweth

 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh

Our exclusive list of the region's 584 leading physicians across 76 specialities.
Endless Challenges: 48 Remarkable Hours with 8 Pittsburgh Doctors

Endless Challenges: 48 Remarkable Hours with 8 Pittsburgh Doctors

Follow eight physicians over two days as they perform surgeries, consult on end-of-life care, treat accident victims, discuss hospital programs –– and then reset and do it all over again.
The Commoner — Too Much of a Good Thing?

The Commoner — Too Much of a Good Thing?

Chef Dennis Marron designs a menu of modern-American fare at The Commoner in the downstairs space of Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh.
What Inspires Ray Gastil's Careful Plan for Pittsburgh's Future

What Inspires Ray Gastil's Careful Plan for Pittsburgh's Future

How will the city’s new planning director stoke Pittsburgh’s next generation of developments?
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Two Pittsburgh Restaurants Closing; Kings Leaving the Family

Two Pittsburgh Restaurants Closing; Kings Leaving the Family

One of the eateries has been a staple in Bloomfield for more than a half-century.
Who's Carson? Why Does He Have His Own Street?

Who's Carson? Why Does He Have His Own Street?

Some of the names synonymous with Pittsburgh have surprising histories behind them.
Aviary Determined to Have Dwindling Condors Leave the Nest

Aviary Determined to Have Dwindling Condors Leave the Nest

The National aAviary is working to send ’Burgh-born birds back to their natural habitats to boost endangered populations.
Are You Missing Out? Why More People Love Life in Butler County

Are You Missing Out? Why More People Love Life in Butler County

Cranberry Township is crammed, but people still are flocking north.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh

Our exclusive list of the region's 584 leading physicians across 76 specialities.
Endless Challenges: 48 Remarkable Hours with 8 Pittsburgh Doctors

Endless Challenges: 48 Remarkable Hours with 8 Pittsburgh Doctors

Follow eight physicians over two days as they perform surgeries, consult on end-of-life care, treat accident victims, discuss hospital programs –– and then reset and do it all over again.
The Commoner — Too Much of a Good Thing?

The Commoner — Too Much of a Good Thing?

Chef Dennis Marron designs a menu of modern-American fare at The Commoner in the downstairs space of Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh.
What Inspires Ray Gastil's Careful Plan for Pittsburgh's Future

What Inspires Ray Gastil's Careful Plan for Pittsburgh's Future

How will the city’s new planning director stoke Pittsburgh’s next generation of developments?
Dare to be Different — PittGirl's Better Ways to Use Social Media

Dare to be Different — PittGirl's Better Ways to Use Social Media

You can use social media to change your life and the lives of those around you in a positive way.
Pittsburgh's Top 10 in April

Pittsburgh's Top 10 in April

The 10 best things to do in April in Pittsburgh.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module