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Need New Dining Ideas? Where We're Eating in November

Butternut-squash ravioli, a poached egg in salsa verde and Chinese broccoli quick-fried in pepper are among our favorites this month.




Photo by Laura Petrilla
 

Ohio City Pasta

Ohio City Pasta Pittsburgh draws visitors into Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District with the scents of seafood, sauces and other steaming ingredients. Butternut-squash ravioli is especially suitable for the season. There’s a case of fresh pasta to take home and cook or enjoy on site for lunch or dinner.
[2401 Penn Ave., Strip District; 412/266-5333, facebook.com/ohiocitypastapittsburgh
 

Slippery Mermaid

The “flaming mermaid” roll, with shrimp, tuna and cucumber, packs flavor without overwhelming punch. For those who dislike raw-seafood sushi, the “spicy octopus” roll is warm and zesty. Kids, gluten-free diners and vegetarians all are accommodated.
[613 Beaver St., Sewickley; 412/741-2459, slipperymermaid.com]
 


photo by hal b. klein

The Vandal

The Vandal — with its clean and classic look, both on the menu and in appearance — fills a void: We need more spots offering quick-but-good meals for dine-in or takeout. At breakfast, a poached egg in salsa verde is served with red peas. Later-day hits include salads, frites and more. 
[4306 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/251-0465, thevandalpgh.com]
 


PHOTOS BY SEAN COLLIER
 

Smoq Pitt

Bring this food to your next tailgate or game-day watch party. Smoq Pitt’s meats are true to its name; the top-of-the-line brisket and baby-back ribs are prime companions for cold beer. Crispy onion rings and pulled pork also earn high marks.
[600 Brookline Blvd., Brookline; 412/668-3459, smoqpitt.com]
 


photo by haley wisniewski
 

Pho Minh

Comparable to ramen, pho is a Vietnamese staple packed with noodles, broth, meats and other mix-ins. Order fresh spring rolls and green papaya salad to start off the meal the right way. Note that this cash-only establishment is located in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it building on Penn.  [4917 Penn Ave., Garfield,; 412/661-7443]
 

Sichuan Gourmet 

As temperatures drop, Sichuan Gourmet adds a bit of heat. The Squirrel Hill hotspot caters to spice seekers, and its menu denotes when a meal may cause you to grab for water. We like the subtle zest of the Chinese broccoli dish that’s quick-fried in pepper. The vegetarian offering, complemented by fried or white rice, delivers on flavor without sitting in a pool of sauce.
[1900 Murray Ave.; 412/521-1313, pittsburghsichuangourmet.com
 



 

Chris Matrozza  Bar Manager | Station

Chris Matrozza got his start at a few notable local watering holes, where he’d been drawn to bartending because of the appeal of having regular customers. He laid much of his cocktail-making foundation at one of the city’s go-to drink spots, Kelly’s Bar & Lounge (see page 113 for more). He’s been said to have a straightforward style “with a touch of cheekiness.” As far as steering the bar program at Station, he says he wants to make cocktails “you really can’t buy at the store.” His preference for adding a layer of complexity has resulted in incorporating infusions, special syrups and other additions into his drinks.  

Bartender’s essential?
If a bartender doesn’t have a sense of humor, he’s dead in the water. It doesn’t matter what we put in the glass — we provide atmosphere; that’s the biggest part of my job.

Sources for inspiration and experimentation?
Anything around the restaurant world — going to big events for bartenders helps out. Lots of bartenders now use “The Flavor Bible.”

Favorite seasonal ingredient?
Almonds — I think almonds have a versatile range and help to transition between seasons. ... I’ve found that [they work] well with tequila drinks. ... [they add] another dimension. 
 

 

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