On Saturday, my lovely wife took me out for a pre-birthday dinner. I wanted to try out one of the several new, highly buzzed about restaurants around town, so we went to Spoon. I never got to eat at its predecessor, Red Room, in the edge-of-scaryness-but-very-cool space in East Liberty, but I did want to make sure I got into what followed it.
The space itself is very dim, very chic, not overly expressive of its food like many restaurants, and very comfortable.
We both saw a five course tasting option on the menu, and as a first time guest, we both thought it might be fun to try. Little did we know how much food was coming, and just how good it was.
1. Pre-appetizer appetizer: Duo of bean soup. A play on ‘split pea soup’. Served in an espresso shot cup to be sipped, not spooned. Served with white bean on one side, black on the other…not sure how they did that. Certainly something I wouldn’t order off the menu [if you know me, I’m not a big bean guy….and I eat almost anything]. But the flavor was great, the ham hock was great, and we were off and running.
2. Appetizer #2: Gorgonzola Blue Cheese Souffle. Again, something that wouldn’t jump out at me. Souffle was fantastic, fluffy, warm, and just right. The salad next to it with beets, grapefruit, fennel, and arugula is DEFINITELY something I wouldn’t normally get. To my surprise, I could have eaten that all day long. Perfect second dish.
3. Appetizer #3: Cassoulet. Shellbeans and tomato stew [alright, enough with the beans already] with duck confit and homemade sausage. The duck and sausage were killer – the beans, well, that’s just me. My least favorite of the three starters, but if you like duck, that’s a great dish.
[By this point, we are already getting pretty full – especially on the three homemade breads that are on the table too that are fantastic]
4. Main Course #1: Crispy Skin Wild Striped Bass. The fish was perfect, and sitting on a play off clam chowder with one clam and the whole dish sitting in some chowder-like cream sauce. The bass was cooked beautifully. I probably would have ordered this off the menu if I had to choose an entree, and very happy they brought this. Excellently prepared.
[By this point, the wife is hurting, and I’m close.]
5. Main Course #2: Grilled NY Strip. Very pumped about this one. Came out rare, but oh so tasty. Comes with some bacon and mushroom spoon bread, but that didn’t go well for either of us. The creamed spinach, as much as I also shy away from spinach, was excellent. I was beyond stuffed at this point but I actually kept trying to eat more spinach.
[We’re both afraid we may fall asleep at the table now.]
6. Dessert: Date Cake w/ Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream. OMG.We thought there was no way we could eat dessert. This dessert changed that mood quickly. My wife is still dreaming about this date cake, and I’m dreaming about that ice cream. They even gave me a nice Happy Birthday message on the plate in chocolate. Seriously, who comes up with making a cake out of dates? Amazing. The ice cream, though, was unlike anything I had ever tasted. Could eat it ALL DAY.
Overall, that was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. Most likely the best I’ve ever had in Pittsburgh for sure. The tasting menu was a fantastic way to try out a lot of the menu for future visits. It’s a decent price tag per person, but it comes with a ton of food overall. Service was impeccable, to boot.
Bob gives this one two thumbs up, and will definitely be visiting there again.
The only curious thing was, I didn’t have to eat anything with a spoon?
134 South Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206