This is the second year we’ve had the pleasure of taste-testing Braddock’s Pittsburgh New Year’s Eve menu. From the start to decadent finish, the prix fixe menu was filled with creative culinary endeavors and classics. But what about the plating? Always a sucker for good plating, it didn’t disappoint, either. Here’s our take on five tasty courses that rang in 2018.
Mr. Locke and I are happy to call Braddock’s one of our go-to restaurants when we head into Pittsburgh proper. The reason? We’ve never, ever been disappointed in a meal. And, while its everyday menu leans on classic side, when it comes to holiday dining the creativity really flows.
First Course: Lobster Cream Soup
This year’s menu had a classic soup course with a kick: Lobster Cream topped with a crispy prawn. As a gal that was born in Eastern Canada where lobster is very prevalent, I’ve had plenty to sample. But this soup was more than just a classic cream soup. The crispy prawn had an oily fried flavor that you don’t expect to have – and Mr. Locke was super impressed with the fun spin.
Second Course: Salad Nicoise
I enjoy a good Cobb Salad and, if you’re not familiar with a Salad Nicoise, think of it as the French version. All the ingredients are beautifully arrange on the plate. Instead of chicken, bacon, and avocado, there’s green beans, tuna, and potatoes. Braddock’s version had Boston bibb, haricot verts, redskin potatoes, olives, cage free eggs, and tuna. A shallot mustard vinaigrette was the proverbial icing on the top. The tuna? Perfectly seared. If given the choice between the soup or the salad as a standout meal opener, I have to go with the Salad Nicoise.
This NYE, Braddock’s offered a choice of three apps:
– Moules Marinieres: fresh Maine mussels
– Pan Seared Foie Gras: spiced citrus puree, watercress
– Braddock’s Local Charcuterie Board: Parama cured meats, Pennsylvania cave-aged cheese
Taking the divide-and-conquer approach, Mr. Locke and I both agreed to choose a different plate for each of the last three courses. My choice was the charcuterie and, man, am I happy I picked it. A personal size charcuterie filled with cured meats, creamy cheeses, and nuts with a spicy kick, the three textures made for a really good appetizer course.
Mr. Locke chose the foie gras. He found it to be flavorful and smooth. The citrus puree gave a nice, mild compliment and the watercress a distinctive crunch.
Again, three choices were offered:
– Dry Aged Filet of Beef: cremini mushroom puree, bone marrow lyonnaise, red win jus
– Pan Roasted Halibut Fillet: herb crusted, salt-baked golden beet root, roasted cauliflower mash, potato crisp
– Homemade Tagliatelle: Serenity Hill Farms lamb, swiss chard, roasted garlic, ricotta salata
I was looking for something truly hearty for the main course and found it in this filet. Compliments of it being dry aged, the texture was just lovely. I’m a bit of a kook when it comes to how I like my red meat cooked: medium well, thank you. Yes, I know medium rare is what is recommended but I like what I like. And I really liked this one. Bone marrow has been super trendy the past couple of years as well.
Mr. Locke had to go for tagliatelle for his entree. The lamb was very rich and perfectly seasoned. As for the tagliatelle, cooked perfectly. The bitterness of the greens offset the lamb very well and the ricotta only added to the dish’s richness.
Fifth Course: Dessert
How sweet it was! Two choices for the final:
– Madagascan Vanilla Cheesecake with blueberry compote
– Chocolate Panna Cotta with port glazed amarena cherries
Happily, we ordered one of each and split the dishes. Given the two selections, there was no way I wouldn’t have tried a bite or two of each one.
Here’s the thing about a good dessert: it doesn’t have to be massive to be filling. So let’s talk cheesecake for a second. The Madagascan vanilla was prevalent in the dish and the blueberry compote was both sweet and just a bit tart.
As for the panna cotta, I’ve had the pleasure of trying several styles, and Braddock’s is right there at the top. Perfectly smooth and decadent, the amarena cherries gave some tang and tartness to cut through the chocolaty sweetness. One word: amazing.
So, Braddock’s has crushed it two New Year’s Eves in a row. What’s next for the restaurant? A new daily menu and I can only guess it will be worth another visit.
In a Nutshell
So, the question to be answered is this: was Braddock’s prix fixe menu worth the $75 per person? Absolutely. Given the five delicious courses, lovely atmosphere, and gracious staff, there’s no wonder why we’ve made a beeline for it two years in a row.
Disclosure: Mr. Locke and I were graciously hosted by the folks at Braddock’s to give you fine folks the scoop on its New Year’s Eve menu. All opinions are my own!