Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

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 ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

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

Lidia Bastianich Shares Her American Dream in a New Memoir

PM Dining Critic Hal B. Klein talks to the celebrated chef, restauranteur, television host and author about grandparents, foraging and the plight of refugees seeking a better life in the United States.

They Prayed to Our Lady of the Roller Coaster

Two local priests –– riding the Phantom's Revenge to promote Catholic Day at Kennywood –– create a viral video. Along the way they deliver a most unusual sermon.

The Homestead Artist with a Worldwide Reputation

Jesse Best maintains a presence in New York and Tokyo. But, he says, Pittsburgh has been 10 times better to him than any other place.

The 400-Word Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The fifth "Jurassic Park" film is fun. Empty, somewhat disappointing fun.

Local Brewery Resolves Trademark Dispute With Sass

After Pitt ordered Voodoo Brewery to stop production of its "H2P American IPA," the company relaunched the beer under a new name.

Sprout Fund Passes the Torch

50 Pittsburghers to receive $1,000 Legacy Award to carry on the nonprofit’s vision.

Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

A Broadway musical about the life and times of the Pittsburgh Pirates? The idea might not be as farfetched as you think.

Pirates Pitcher Steven Brault has Pretty Good Pipes Too

The Pirates reliever sang the national anthem Tuesday night before the Bucs hosted the Brewers at PNC Park. It's worth watching, especially for his teammates' reaction at the end.

Crime in the South Side Has Fallen Dramatically

Illegal activity plunged along East Carson Street following several new security measures.

Fired by City Paper — Charlie Deitch Won’t Be Silenced

The former editor of the Pittsburgh alt-weekly is creating his own "more inclusive" publication.

Czechoslovakia was Forged in Pittsburgh

Rick Sebak details how the establishment of the European nation began with a meeting Downtown.

Brick by Brick: Legos Go High Art

Made entirely out of Legos, the sculptures on the display at the Carnegie Science Center’s new Scaife Exhibit Gallery range from the whimsical to the otherworldly.

Mike Chen, Dean of the Chinese Kitchen

The owner of Everyday Noodles looks to encourage more regionally specific Chinese food in Pittsburgh restaurants.

MultiStories: Real Estate – The Machesney Building

Visitors can still ogle the lavish marble and bronze interior crafted to appeal to the original owner's banker and stockbroker tenants.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


They Prayed to Our Lady of the Roller Coaster

They Prayed to Our Lady of the Roller Coaster

Two local priests –– riding the Phantom's Revenge to promote Catholic Day at Kennywood –– create a viral video. Along the way they deliver a most unusual sermon.

Comments

Local Brewery Resolves Trademark Dispute With Sass

Local Brewery Resolves Trademark Dispute With Sass

After Pitt ordered Voodoo Brewery to stop production of its "H2P American IPA," the company relaunched the beer under a new name.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
What Anthony Bourdain Meant to Me

What Anthony Bourdain Meant to Me

Reflecting on the loss of a person so many of us admired.

Comments

Northeast Kitchen Brings Northeastern Chinese Cuisine to Pittsburgh

Northeast Kitchen Brings Northeastern Chinese Cuisine to Pittsburgh

Chef You Shan Pei comes to Pittsburgh after cooking in Flushing, N.Y. restaurants for 18 years.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Five Best Spots to Get Pittsburgh-Themed Merchandise

The Five Best Spots to Get Pittsburgh-Themed Merchandise

Looking to show off your Pittsburgh love? Get your favorite city printed on basically anything at these local shops.

Comments

7 Best Pittsburgh-Area Places You Should Try for Doughnuts

7 Best Pittsburgh-Area Places You Should Try for Doughnuts

When you're craving the real deal, these local spots consistently churn out the very best.

Comments


The Other Moving Documentary About a Curious Pittsburgher

The Other Moving Documentary About a Curious Pittsburgher

In "Will Work For Views," the video artist and musician Weird Paul is a little bit Dr. Demento and a little bit Mister Rogers.

Comments

Man, There's a Lot Going on at Zone 28

Man, There's a Lot Going on at Zone 28

The relaunched entertainment complex in Harmarville is casting a wide net, with some success.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

Pirates Can Be Show Stoppers if They Follow Brault's Lead

A Broadway musical about the life and times of the Pittsburgh Pirates? The idea might not be as farfetched as you think.

Comments

Olczyk Embraces Awareness, Understanding to Fight Cancer

Olczyk Embraces Awareness, Understanding to Fight Cancer

Olczyk found out last August, in the wake of a six-hour surgery that removed 14 inches of his colon and “a tumor the size of my fist,” the severity of what he was suddenly confronting.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The 400-Word Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The fifth "Jurassic Park" film is fun. Empty, somewhat disappointing fun.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

The 400-Word Review: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

The documentary about Fred Rogers' work and philosophy inspires even more wonder about the television legend who called Pittsburgh home.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Toppers That Take the Cake

Toppers That Take the Cake

Over the traditional bride and groom standing on top of your cake? Try some of these different ideas for cake toppers.

Comments

Couple Shares Photo Spotlight With Four-Legged Friends

Couple Shares Photo Spotlight With Four-Legged Friends

This Pittsburgh couple is using their engagement photos to raise awareness about one of their most passionate causes.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
PPG Paints Unveils 2019 Color of the Year: Night Watch

PPG Paints Unveils 2019 Color of the Year: Night Watch

Paying homage to the restorative power of nature, this deep green shade is one to watch in the coming year. Here’s how to use it on your walls.

Comments

Five Pittsburgh-Based Etsy Shops You Need to Know About

Five Pittsburgh-Based Etsy Shops You Need to Know About

From furniture to wall art and beyond, these local makers created one-of-a-kind pieces for your home or office.

Comments