Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Review: Crested Duck Restaurant

Crested Duck is a prime place to enjoy cured meats, pickled plates and European-inspired bistro dishes, such as chicken roulade.




Photos by Laura Petrilla
 

 

Crested Duck is one of Pittsburgh’s top places to find charcuterie. An expansion of the successful Crested Duck Market in Beechview, Crested Duck Restaurant is a showcase for small-batch, housemade products — sausages, pâtés, prosciuttos and more — served with high-quality accompaniments.

The restaurant’s food is reminiscent of offerings at old-school Parisian cafés: refreshingly restrained, disciplined, appropriately portioned and highly flavorful. Some dishes are very rich, but they are entirely worthwhile.

Executive Chef/Partner Kevin Costa was 24 when he started Crested Duck Market four years ago. The self-taught chef’s exhibitor booth in the Strip District’s Pittsburgh Public Market offers a dizzying array of products made from beef, pork, duck, chicken, elk, rabbit and venison sold in various preparations: confits (meats preserved in their own fat), terrines, dry-aged meats and others. Among my favorites are the dark-red beef bresaola ($6.25 per 4 ounces) and the venison prosciutto ($9 per 4 ounces). Inside the public market, Crested Duck also stocks regional cheeses and various pantry items such as grains and beans.



 

The market now may be in the Strip, but all meat products still are produced in Beechview, where the restaurant is located. Its BYOB eatery seats only 20, so you’ll need to make reservations — and bring a bottle of your favorite red wine ($5 corkage per person). This minimally decorated spot features red walls, black tablecloths and a dark slate floor.

Regarding the restaurant, Costa says, “I want to walk the fine line of making the food approachable but elevated enough that you would feel you couldn’t make it at home.” Truthfully, very few could produce Crested Duck’s offerings at home. When was the last time you made a chicken-pistachio terrine?

Among the cold choices, an absolute must-have is the charcuterie plate ($10, half portion; $20, full portion). You might get “Penn Avenue” salami, pork lomo or sliced, smoked duck breast. Another signature choice is the pâté selection ($14), typically providing a pâté, terrine and mousse. To accompany these rich offerings, consider getting the pickle plate ($6), predominantly offering an assortment of such traditional vegetables as cucumber, cauliflower and okra. Another good match is the lightly dressed salad du jour ($9); I had one with thin pear slices, pepitas and goat cheese.



 

Beyond charcuterie, there are other cold choices, including the provencal tart ($6), abundantly topped with caramelized onions, kalamata onions and anchovies.

I was a little surprised that the crusty baguette loaf from La Gourmandine costs $3. Most cold dishes, particularly the charcuterie options, are best when eaten with bread, so I would prefer that it were complimentary.

Among the hot plates, the chicken roulade ($11) is French-inspired; tender ground chicken is encased in a soufflé-like outer layer of chicken, egg whites, mushrooms, spinach and herbs de Provence. A minor complaint: The Gouda-alfredo sauce, on which the roulade sits, is a bit grainy.

I didn’t much care for the crispy pork belly ($9), but that’s probably because I had assumed it was braised. Instead it is a confit, making the result a little too fatty for my taste. The tender, sliced bistro steak ($16) is great, served with a pungent roasted-red-pepper chimichurri.

The housemade desserts are on par with the quality of food. The grilled almond, orange and polenta cake ($7) has a toothy texture; it’s soaked in orange syrup, making for an earthy, satisfying treat. The chocolate bread pudding with dried cherries ($7) contains the right level of moisture and a rich dark-chocolate flavor.



 

The service at Crested Duck is on the casual side; typically, one or two servers are scheduled per night. My server was extremely knowledgeable about the products and made thoughtful recommendations.

In addition to visiting the Crested Duck public market booth and Beechview restaurant, you also can sign up for a butchery session or get four months of flavored bacon by joining the bacon club. 



 

Kevin Costa / Executive Chef, Partner / Crested Duck



 

How did you get started? 
I was always the kid who hung around the kitchen. When I was 16, I started working at a pancake house in the North Hills — first as a dishwasher and then as a pantry chef. After I finished college [at The Ohio State University], I did volunteer work in Africa. When I got back to Pittsburgh, I looked around and really felt that there were not enough charcuterie products in town. Most things for sale were either not made in-house or very traditional — at that time, Cure had not yet come on the scene. So, when I was 24, I started at Farmers@Firehouse in the Strip District, selling my earliest products.

How did you master charcuterie? 
Honestly, I’m completely self-taught. I started out with a lot of butchering books. After you read many, many recipes, you start to learn the most successful ratios for the primary components, which are meat, fat, seasonings and curing agents. Then I spent a lot of time tweaking recipes. A lot of the challenges were really more about texture than flavor.

You’re using organic, local products. What about the additional expense? 
When I was [younger], and everyone else was spending their money on music or clothes, I would spend it on food. I never felt resentful about spending extra money for better product. It just makes sense.

What’s happening with your USDA certification? 
It was a very time-consuming process, but our cured products are now USDA-certified . . . Once you get the USDA stamp, you can sell your products to retailers, so soon you will be able to buy Crested Duck products at four Giant Eagle Market District [stores]. We are going to work on getting our smoked and cooked products, like pâté, certified next.

How did all this lead to a restaurant? 
When we moved to the Pittsburgh Public Market, our booth was double the space of our previous location [at Farmers@Firehouse]. Then [when the public market relocated,] we completely moved our deli business out of Beechview [and] into the Strip, although we still produce everything in Beechview. So we had the old deli space empty and thought it would be fun to have a small restaurant there. We had already experimented with occasional prix-fixe dinners for about a year. We assumed that our store customers would be our restaurant customers. But now we are having people coming for the restaurant and then learning about the store. That’s been a nice surprise.


1603 Broadway Ave., Beechview; 412/892-9983, crestedduck.com; hours: 5-10pm Thu-Sat; BYOB ($5/person corkage fee); not suitable for vegetarians


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