Where We're Eating in February
We're enjoying a mix of top-notch cocktails, desserts, starters and no-fuss dishes across the city.
Join those who follow the Chinese lunar calendar as they hit the refresh button. On Feb. 19, this year’s Spring Festival, fill up on fish dishes, dumplings and spring rolls. South Hills stalwart Silk Road has mastered that last offering — particularly the Shanghai spring rolls. What’s not to love? Thin, flaky wrappers envelop crab and shrimp, plus mushrooms, cabbage and Chinese chives.
[5301 Grove Road, Suite 1, Whitehall; 412/881-7788, silkroadsushiandsteakhouse.com; photo by Laura Petrilla]
Big Shot Bob’s House of Wings
This no-frills joint dishes out Super Bowl party-appropriate wings. They’re hefty, messy and packed with flavor. Speaking of flavor: Big Shot Bob’s claims to offer more than 150 types — including two favorites: the Frankie Valli, with Frank’s Red Hot, ranch dressing and parmesan, and the Mr. Northside, coated in a honey mustard-barbecue sauce.
[1534 Fifth Ave., Coraopolis; 412/269-7468, bigshotbobs.com; second location in Avalon]
The potent mix of Japanese Yamazaki whisky and orange-y Grand Marnier cognac provide the base for the Warm Stare, one of Cioppino’s wintertime drinks. Enjoy hints of refreshing lemon and orange as you sip this warming cocktail while snacking on one of the small plates.
[2350 Railroad St., Strip District; 412/281-6593, cioppinoofpittsburgh.com; photo by Laura Petrilla]
Forget what you’ve sampled in those shelf-stable noodle packages: This place serves real ramen. Get your noodle soup curry-style or with seafood on top; as with pizza places, there’s a list of add-ons, from tofu to bamboo shoots. Although ramen is the specialty, we also like the rice bowls and the coconut shrimp starter.
[5860 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill; 412/521-5138, ramenbarpittsburgh.com; photo by Hal B. Klein]
Salem’s Market & Grill
Though its exterior is drenched in rainbow hues, Salem’s is one of those easy-to-miss spots. The halal market and butcher long has been known as home of some of the best chicken tikka masala in town. It’s also one of the spots that served goat before that meat was in vogue; you’re likely to have leftovers of the curry dish.
[2923 Penn Ave., Strip District; 412/235-7828]
This restaurant is classic both in its setting and menu selections. It’s where you take your family for brunch, friends for good barbecue in warm weather and sweets lovers for top-notch desserts. The weekday bistro buffet shatters preconceived notions — beef marsala and salmon with dill are among the fresh daily specials.
[414 Morganza Road, Canonsburg; 724/745-5575, bellaserapgh.com; photo courtesy Bella Sera]
Michael Rado, owner | Butcher on Butler
“I’m a carnivore through and through . . . I’m a huge fan of food. I want to be where the food is,” says Michael Rado, who takes pride in serving as a neighborhood butcher in his favorite U.S. city. The Culinary Institute of America-trained chef has cooked elsewhere, but now he wants to live here. He opened Butcher on Butler last February in the former Foster’s Meats space and does not plan to touch the famous kielbasa recipe. Rado is big on quality and accessibility, and his goal is to source everything locally by 2017. Find Rado’s housemade sausages (and more) at area brew pubs, and consider taking one of his occasional intro sessions on butchering.
Preferred meat to use?
That’s easy — the hog. The pig is one of the few animals [of which] you can use every single piece.
Elysian Fields [Farm’s] lamb, more specifically the loin chops.
Average shelf life of fresh cuts?
One week is the standard answer.
Recommendations for winter cooking?
Explore: Why not do a pork shoulder, salsa verde-style? Oxtails bring flavor to the pot . . . Lamb neck is another one. Roasted lamb neck is fantastic . . . It’s a great, hearty winter dish.
[5145 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/781-2157, butcheronbutler.com; photo by Laura Petrilla]