Review: E2 and Park Bruges

Highland Park gets a taste of Europe with the opening of E2 and Park Bruges.


Photos by Laura Petrilla

 

If you haven’t been to Bryant Street in Highland Park lately, check it out. Two recently opened restaurants—E2 and Park Bruges—offer casual cuisine with a European flair and are part of the burgeoning little commercial district, soon to add a Japanese restaurant and the retooled At the Park bar. 

These new establishments join the existing food scene that includes fine dining at Joseph Tambellini Restaurant; Thai food at Smiling Banana Leaf; tasty pastries at Food Glorious Food, a bakery and cooking school; and great coffee at Tazza D’Oro Café & Espresso Bar, the neighborhood meeting place.

E2 and Park Bruges are brought to us by chef/owners who have succeeded in other enterprises. E2 is owned by executive chef Kate Romane and Larry Lagattuta of Enrico Biscotti, the well-known bakery and cafe in the Strip District. Park Bruges comes from family owners Elaine Wolfe and Barry Silverman, daughter Amy Seager and her husband, chef Jesse Seager. This team found great success with the popular Point Brugge Café, located in Point Breeze.

E2 is a small eatery that can seat 28 diners upstairs, up to 85 people downstars and 12 on the front porch.  The space was renovated with asparagus-colored walls, chalkboard-topped tables, a giant chalkboard menu and photographs of friends, family and loyal customers from the Strip District restaurant, soon to be enhanced with photos of E2 customers. 

The cuisine at E2 is healthful with a European (predominantly Italian) flair. Romane’s partner is third-generation farmer Tara Rockacy of Churchview Farm in Baldwin. Romane takes produce to E2 daily from the farm where they live.

The brunch menu is a nice mix of traditional breakfast fare and hearty luncheon foods.  My favorite was the brioche breakfast ($10): homemade brioche and pieces of Camembert on mixed greens with sliced Granny Smith apples—all drizzled with truffle honey.  The frittata changes weekly; the feta, olive and oregano version ($11) is light and fluffy and not overcooked.  The bread puddings and French toast (both made with Enrico’s homemade bread) change weekly and are excellent as well.

E2’s brunch and dinner menus offer “OMGs” (which stands for “Oh my gosh—I am so hungry!”).  Romane says, “I want people to have something to nibble on when they come in hungry and are looking at the menu.”  During brunch, OMG offerings include homemade beignets, donuts and zeppolis (savory fried dough sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and pepper with optional anchovies rolled into the dough). Sadly, these can be inconsistent—sometimes great but over- or undercooked at times.

However, at dinner, the OMGs are wonderful, especially the marinated olives ($3), which are plump and fresh; the simply prepared white beans in olive oil ($3); and the Gorgonzola spread ($3)—all served with homemade focaccia.

For dinner, the simplest dishes are the best ones.  I recommend the huge pan-seared
scallops ($11), the beans and greens and sausage ($12), the spaghetti aglio e olio ($12) and the fettucini with meat sauce ($12). 

E2 offers a few desserts: biscotti, berries with lavender whipped cream and homemade chocolates.

Unlike E2, Park Bruges moved into its space after local community groups extensively rehabbed it and mossArchitects completed all design work. The interior is uncluttered and spacious, with low-key elements of dark-wood floors, light-wood tabletops, pewter walls and burgundy furnishings. About 65 people can be seated in the restaurant's booths and tables, with additional seating available on the patio.

To launch the new restaurant, Kevin Hunninen, executive chef of Point Brugge, moved to Park Bruges. James McCaslin, Point Brugge’s former sous chef, took over as executive chef of Point Brugge. Park Bruges' menu is rather similar to that of Point Brugge.  “Point Brugge has more of a Belgian flair, while Park Bruges has more of a French flair,” says owner Elaine Wolfe.

The homemade soups and salads are among Park Bruges' strong suits, along with the signature mussels ($12): a generous 16-ounce portion of grit-free, plump mussels cooked in a flavorful broth (choose from classic white wine, shallot and herbed buerre blanc, or spicy Creole with andouille sausage, peppers, onions, celery and Maytag bleu cheese) and served with crusty bread to soak up the broth.

Park Bruges has two unique dishes: the tarte flambée and the poutine. The tarte flambée ($10-$13) is from the Alsace region of France and is similar to a flatbread, with crisp, lightly baked crust and a variety of toppings. Poutine, “the official street food of Montreal,” is Canada’s version of the Pittsburgh classic, fries and gravy. The Classic Montreal Poutine ($8) comprises Park Bruges' crispy signature fries topped with homemade beef gravy and cheese curds from Lawrenceville’s Arsenal Cheese.

A great complement to the poutine would be any one of the Belgian beers offered, which have “a wide variety of flavors with more complexity and richness” than American beers, says Wolfe. Desserts at Park Bruges are a must and are made by the talented Susie Treon, whose desserts are reminiscent of any European bistro.

Info:

E2
» 5904 Bryant St., Highland Park (15206); 412/441-1200, e2pittsburgh.com
» Brunch: Sat.-Sun., 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; Dinner: Tues.-Fri., 5-10 p.m.; Sat., 6-10 p.m.
» OMG's: $3-$5; Salads & Appetizers: $8-$12; Brunch Entrées: $9-$12; Dinner Entrées: $8-$18; Desserts: $6
» BYOB ($6 corkage fee); major credit cards accepted; dinner reservations only (for parties of 6 or more); vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options; wheelchair-accessible; no smoking; street parking; outdoor dining; catering/banquet services.

Park Bruges
» 5801 Bryant St., Highland Park (15206); 412/661-3334, pointbrugge.com
» Lunch: Tues.-Fri., 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Brunch: Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Dinner: Tues.-Sat., 3-10 p.m. (bar stays open until 11 p.m. on Sat.), Sun., 3-9 p.m.
» Salads & Appetizers: $5-$15; Brunch Entrées: $6-$15; Dinner Entrées: $16-$26; Desserts: $7.
» Alcohol; major credit cards accepted; vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options; wheelchair-accessible; no smoking; street parking; seat past 10:30 p.m. on Fri. & Sat.; outdoor dining (seasonal).

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

With so many options in and around the city, every couple can find the special space that feels just right — whether they’re looking for nature, rustic charm, fairytale romance, stained-glass beauty, treasured religious ritual or classic tradition.
Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Delve below the surface to explore the underground areas that serve as vital pathways to our region.
Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Chefs who grew up in Pittsburgh are shaping the culinary scene in other cities across the country — and gaining national recognition in the process.
Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

The meat-centric restaurant in the Strip District is helping to redefine Pittsburgh's dining expectations.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Great Catch: Easiest Way to Tasty Lenten Fish Frys

Great Catch: Easiest Way to Tasty Lenten Fish Frys

Looking for a delicious battered fish sandwich or golden-brown pierogies on Friday? Here’s a handy guide plus a few fun facts about our fascination with fish.
Sweetheart Ideas: How to Make the Most out of Valentine's Day

Sweetheart Ideas: How to Make the Most out of Valentine's Day

From a hotel “Love Lockdown,” to a museum breakfast in bed, to a rooftop singles event - there's plenty to eat, drink at do in Pittsburgh on this weekend for love.
Beer News: East End Brewing Moving to Bigger Space in Strip District

Beer News: East End Brewing Moving to Bigger Space in Strip District

The new space, called the East End Brewery Taproom, will offer lunch and dinner service, expanded hours and a place for customers to sit and enjoy a pint of beer from one of the brewery’s 12 taps.
See How Pittsburghers Used to Get Around

See How Pittsburghers Used to Get Around

This rare video gives you a passenger's perspective of street car trolley travel in the 1960s.

Sign Up for the 412 e-Newsletter

 

Our new, daily e-newsletter is curated by the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine and is designed to give you the very best Pittsburgh has to offer -- delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign me up!
* Email
 First Name
 Last Name
  * = Required Field
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

Goin' to the Chapel – Or Not?

With so many options in and around the city, every couple can find the special space that feels just right — whether they’re looking for nature, rustic charm, fairytale romance, stained-glass beauty, treasured religious ritual or classic tradition.
Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Underground Pittsburgh: Explore our City of Tunnels

Delve below the surface to explore the underground areas that serve as vital pathways to our region.
Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Kitchen Roots: Ruta, Solomonov and Ehland

Chefs who grew up in Pittsburgh are shaping the culinary scene in other cities across the country — and gaining national recognition in the process.
Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

Restaurant Review: Gaucho Parrilla Argentina is Smokin'

The meat-centric restaurant in the Strip District is helping to redefine Pittsburgh's dining expectations.
Cranking Out Old School Valentines Sealed with a Quirk

Cranking Out Old School Valentines Sealed with a Quirk

In Lawrenceville, a love for letterpress leads to a business whose greeting cards reach audiences across the country.
Pittsburgh's Third Renaissance and Complaints from 2007

Pittsburgh's Third Renaissance and Complaints from 2007

This third Renaissance has allowed us to be spectators as Pittsburgh changed from a city suffering the damages wrought by the collapse of its steel industry to a vibrant, active place known for its academic, medical and technology sectors.

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Great Catch: Easiest Way to Tasty Lenten Fish Frys

Great Catch: Easiest Way to Tasty Lenten Fish Frys

Looking for a delicious battered fish sandwich or golden-brown pierogies on Friday? Here’s a handy guide plus a few fun facts about our fascination with fish.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

PittGirl: Yikes! Imagine This Instead of a Fountain at the Point

City leaders considered many options for Pittsburgh's confluence including something that looked like it was designed by the Jetsons, or an absolutely bonkers, batpoop insane idea by the one and only Frank Lloyd Wright.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pittsburgh Chef Move: Lily Tran New Executive Chef of Soba

Pittsburgh Chef Move: Lily Tran New Executive Chef of Soba

Tran takes over big Burrito's Ellsworth Ave. restaurant from Dustin Gardner, who moves back to Casbah on Highland Ave.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
7 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

7 Best Restaurants for College Students in Pittsburgh

Easy access from universities, wallet-friendly prices and really good food make these our favorite choices for the university set.

Comments


Head to 'Quick and Shameless' For an Unpredictable (and Essential) Night of Pittsburgh Comedy

Head to 'Quick and Shameless' For an Unpredictable (and Essential) Night of Pittsburgh Comedy

The LGBTQ-friendly variety show offers one of the city's most unusual (and often unforgettable) lineups of comedic talent.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Super Bowl Predictions: Can I Have That One Back?

Super Bowl Predictions: Can I Have That One Back?

Denver's upset win over Carolina -- predicted by hardly anyone (including yours truly) -- should be interpreted as good news for Steelers' fans.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Shirts We Love For Valentine’s Day

Shirts We Love For Valentine’s Day

Let your heart do the talking with these fun sweaters from Rosewood Boutique.

Comments


Sean Collier's Popcorn for Dinner

The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
George Clooney, Jane Austen, Nicholas Sparks and Some Zombies Walk Into a Multiplex

George Clooney, Jane Austen, Nicholas Sparks and Some Zombies Walk Into a Multiplex

Our reviews of "Hail, Caesar!," "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and "The Choice."

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Behind the Lens: Wedding Ring Photography

Behind the Lens: Wedding Ring Photography

On day three of our Week of Wedded Bliss, we spoke to wedding photographers about their inspiration for these five enticing ring photographs from our Real Pittsburgh Wedding Couples.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Say Hello (and Goodbye) to These Home & Lifestyle Shops

Say Hello (and Goodbye) to These Home & Lifestyle Shops

Divertido and Jack + Jules close in Lawrenceville, while the neighborhood welcomes Brambler Boutique. Plus, Splurge expands to a new location in Fox Chapel.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Mock Crime Scene to be Held at Waynesburg University

Mock Crime Scene to be Held at Waynesburg University

The event is for high school students who are interested in criminal justice, law enforcement and forensic science.

Comments