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

The 400-Word Review: The Equalizer 2

An unnecessary sequel to the Denzel Washington action flick arrives for a quick beat-em-up fix.

The 400-Word Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

The sequel to the 2008 ABBA musical is far from perfect, but might have enough charm to keep you on board.

You're Going to Be Upside Down a Lot on New Kennywood Coaster

Kennywood has revealed its replacement ride for “The Log Jammer” which will be located in a new portion of the park entitled “Steelers Country.”

Restaurant Review: Poulet Bleu

Richard DeShantz steps it up with a move from Downtown to Lawrenceville and shows Pittsburgh how to make French dining fun.

Pittsburgh to Host Nation’s First Black Beer Festival

Day Bracey and Ed Bailey of Drinking Partners Podcast and Mike Potter of Black Brew Culture online magazine will bring 12 black-owned breweries to Pittsburgh in August for Fresh Fest.

Coming Clean: Why We Aren't a Green City ... Yet

Pittsburgh is no longer a smoky city, but that doesn’t mean it has cleaned up its act. Pittsburgh's air quality still ranks among the worst in the nation. What steps are being taken to reduce Pittsburgh's ongoing dependence on fossil fuels?

Ultimate Comfort Food: The Joy of Dumplings

Why our dining critic thinks dumplings might be his ultimate comfort food.

Our Seven Favorite Dumplings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, of course, is best known for the pierogi. Our love of dumplings extends beyond that, however. These seven dumplings are our favorite restaurant versions of their various styles.

The Tailor's Dumpling: Kreplach

A Pittsburgh chef and his family continue to craft a family recipe with roots in Poland.

The Pittsburgh Region's Top Dentists 2018

Our annual list, which contains 376 dentists across 11 specialities, as determined by topDENTISTS.

A Weekend Mission of Mercy in Pittsburgh

More than a thousand people come to PPG paints arena once a year for free dental care, thanks to an ambitious, all-volunteer effort.

Jump Into the River: Open Waters Beckons Strong Swimmers

It takes a strong swimmer and the right timing to dive into the three rivers. for those up to it, the difference between the pool and open water is profound.

Pirates Are Still a Long Way From a Hollywood Ending

Despite an 8-1 winning streak going into the All-Star break, the Bucs are in desperate need of a sequel, not only to win back some credibility with fans, but also to convince their owner not to sell off more pieces of the team.

National Aviary's New Renovations Make it Essential Pittsburgh

It's time to add the National Aviary to the list of local favorites you visit again and again.

PM on KD: Family City Guide 2018

PM Associate Editor Sean Collier appears on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live to discuss our Family City Guide for 2018-2019.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags


You're Going to Be Upside Down a Lot on New Kennywood Coaster

You're Going to Be Upside Down a Lot on New Kennywood Coaster

Kennywood has revealed its replacement ride for “The Log Jammer” which will be located in a new portion of the park entitled “Steelers Country.”

Comments

Tom Hanks May Have Found Co-Star for Fred Rogers Film

Tom Hanks May Have Found Co-Star for Fred Rogers Film

One of the stars of FX's “The Americans” is reportedly in talks to appear in the Mister Rogers flick “You Are My Friend.”

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pittsburgh to Host Nation’s First Black Beer Festival

Pittsburgh to Host Nation’s First Black Beer Festival

Day Bracey and Ed Bailey of Drinking Partners Podcast and Mike Potter of Black Brew Culture online magazine will bring 12 black-owned breweries to Pittsburgh in August for Fresh Fest.

Comments

A Pop-Up Bar in Pittsburgh that Serves a Sober Alternative

A Pop-Up Bar in Pittsburgh that Serves a Sober Alternative

Empath provides the vibe and social space of a bar, as well as stepped up beverage service ... without the alcohol.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Eight Best Frozen Treats in Pittsburgh

The Eight Best Frozen Treats in Pittsburgh

Our dining critic picks his favorite ice cream, ice pop, frozen custard, vegan delight and more.

Comments

Six Underrated Kennywood Rides You Need to Try Again

Six Underrated Kennywood Rides You Need to Try Again

Leave enough time in your next visit to Kennywood to revisit some old favorites and these underrated gems.

Comments


National Aviary's New Renovations Make it Essential Pittsburgh

National Aviary's New Renovations Make it Essential Pittsburgh

It's time to add the National Aviary to the list of local favorites you visit again and again.

Comments

Stop Using Uber and Lyft, Renting a Bike is Better

Stop Using Uber and Lyft, Renting a Bike is Better

You'll save money and have an easier time hopping between neighborhoods on a Healthy Ride bicycle.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pirates Are Still a Long Way From a Hollywood Ending

Pirates Are Still a Long Way From a Hollywood Ending

Despite an 8-1 winning streak going into the All-Star break, the Bucs are in desperate need of a sequel, not only to win back some credibility with fans, but also to convince their owner not to sell off more pieces of the team.

Comments

Compelling World Cup Worth a Periodic Embrace

Compelling World Cup Worth a Periodic Embrace

The competition is as fierce as the fans are passionate and both can be appreciated without a firm grasp of the details.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
The 400-Word Review: The Equalizer 2

The 400-Word Review: The Equalizer 2

An unnecessary sequel to the Denzel Washington action flick arrives for a quick beat-em-up fix.

Comments

The 400-Word Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

The 400-Word Review: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

The sequel to the 2008 ABBA musical is far from perfect, but might have enough charm to keep you on board.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Perfect Proposals that Flashed Back to First Dates

Perfect Proposals that Flashed Back to First Dates

Return to your roots before your relationship blooms into a beautiful marriage.

Comments

I Do, Now Let’s Have Some BBQ

I Do, Now Let’s Have Some BBQ

A five-course meal doesn’t fit with every wedding. These laid-back couples opted for casual — and delicious — cuisine perfect for their outdoor and barn receptions.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Wow Factor: Empty Nest Inspires Timeless Makeover

Wow Factor: Empty Nest Inspires Timeless Makeover

When her last child graduated from college, Ingrid Meenen did something she had been wanting to do for 20 years — renovate the first floor of her Upper St. Clair home.

Comments

Head to the North Hills for Two Blooming Garden Tours

Head to the North Hills for Two Blooming Garden Tours

The Wexford Garden and Pond Tour and the Southern Butler County Garden Club tour both take place this weekend.

Comments