Braddock’s Pittsburgh Brasserie, located in the gorgeous Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, has been on my radar as a worthy place to dine for some time. This New Year’s Eve, Mr. Locke and I had the pleasure of visiting and trying out its five course menu created especially for the holiday. Here’s the scoop in mouth-watering images.
You know me and Pittsburgh restaurants: I LOVE checking out new and new-to-me spots that will pull me into the city for a repeat performance and meal. Not a word of a lie, the New Year’s Eve menu at Braddock’s Pittsburgh Brasserie would compel me to drive into the city on a weekly basis to enjoy it over and over. Each course melded beautifully into the next by sharing subtle flavor nuances and the allover dining experience was a pleasure.
Ready for a recap in photos?
A Smashing Good Start
There’s something to be written about trying a restaurant’s in-house signature cocktail. Not only do you get the essence of a restaurant straight away, but you get a taste of the local scene and what it favors. Braddock’s Smash is just that: a refreshing blend of Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Fresh Lemon, Simple Syrup, Seasonal Berries, and Bitters. The berries are crushed to you get hints of the flavor with each sip and Mr. Locke really enjoyed it as a pre-dinner drink. Not into liquor but still want to try it? Ask for the non-alcholic version. That’s what I drank and it was refreshing and lovely.
So here’s the scoop on me and mushrooms: I’m not a huge fan of them when they’re just lying on a plate. I don’t like the “squeaky” texture that so many of them have, and by squeaky I mean they kind of just squeak around on my teeth until I finally give up and swallow them.
There was absolutely nothing squeaky about the first course, Foraged Mushroom Bisque with Champagne Crème Fresh. The mushrooms were both pureed and super-finely diced and the texture was exactly what you would expect for a bisque – creamy and decadent. The “B” written in crème fresh was not only whimsical and classy, but delicious.
The Salad Stands Alone
As a salad lover, I adore a green course that could stand alone and Braddock’s Rainbow Char Waldorf Salad does just that. With the expected ingredients of a Waldorf (apples, grapes, and celery), the chefs went a step further by adding Spiced Walnuts to give a little kick. The dressing, a Creamy Blue Cheese Bacon, was lovely in that it cooled off the heat for the spiced nuts.
Ink with No Need for a Pen
The first time Mr. Locke had Squid Ink Pasta was in Orlando and he’s been raving about it ever since. Happily, it was the third course of the night! With Little Neck Clams (not overcooked and chewy), Andouille Sausage slices, Sundried tomatoes, Shishito Peppers, the appetizer was not only delicious, the plating was stunning. With Foccacia to top it off, Mr. Locke has a new favorite appetizer.
If you’re not a fan of seafood, you should seriously give this dish a try. The pasta has the very slightest hint of “ocean” and the texture is wonderful and hearty.
Nothing Petit About it
Knowing ahead of time that we had five courses to enjoy, it was easy to pack myself. However, with the addition of the Seared Petit Fillet my place setting, indulging was never easier. Topped on Haricot Vert (that’s Green Beans to folks that don’t speak French!) and a Lobster and Crab Risotto Cake (which could have easily stood alone as its own entree), the medium rare fillet was drizzled with Champagne Cervil Hollandaise sauce and so amazingly tender. Generally I’m not a fan on medium rare beef but I took one for the team in that’s the proper way a Fillet should be cooked and it was really lovely. The meat was so tender it was almost velvety and the sauce was rich and creamy and didn’t overpower the beefy flavor.
New Year’s Day is generally all about making resolutions. Resolutions to exercise more, resolutions to eat better – you get the idea. If my resolution was all about eating better I would have given myself a pat on the back early on in the night compliments of the dessert and final course. The Velvety Chocolate Cheesecake is now on my top list for best dessert in The ‘Burgh. Yeah, I wrote that.
Velvet is the perfect adjective to describe what I enjoyed, actually. It was like no other chocolate cheesecake (Mr. Locke is not a fan of cheesecake in general and he really liked it!). Most impressive, the mint in the crust, fresh cream on top and Cointreau Raspberry Coulis in small dollops on the plate was the perfect ending to a perfect meal.
Disclosure: I was graciously hosted by Braddock’s to give to folks the scoop on what makes it so amazing in the foodie realm. All opinions are my own!