Last night, we were out and about in the city taking advantage of 2013 Summer Pittsburgh Restaurant Week! Their website is really interactive and it allows you to narrow your restaurant search down using options like “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” or “Special Diets.”
Surprise, surprise…we picked a participating restaurant that proudly supports local growers (and also happens to be an old favorite) – Habitat. Since their menu is seasonal and changes periodically, it was completely unrecognizable to me! Luckily, it didn’t matter because for PRW they offer a 3-course fixed menu.
Since there were 3 of us and we all ordered different variations, I got to try everything on the menu!
Christina and her mom both ordered the Arctic Char Salad:
Those are pickled cucumbers, smoked sour cream (very interesting taste!), squash blossoms, and onion crumble (a nice twist on the cruton). The Arctic Char was very mild, but tasty.
On the other hand, my Caesar salad tasted fishier than the salad with the fish!
The salad was excellent – the bed of Romaine was placed on marscapone cheese, which also filled the lemon garlic croutons. It served as an interesting variation from the traditional creamy Caesar dressing. Each crouton was topped with a salty fried anchovy. It was honestly the perfect portion considering the salty bitterness of the salad.
Christina’s mom ordered the Grilled Ribs
One word: Bazinga! The cherry BBQ sauce was no joke, especially when you tasted the tangy cherry with the pork puffs. We weren’t really sure what to expect from the menu’s claim of “pickled vegetables and black rice gel.”
Well, its exactly what it sounds like. It had the exact consistency of gelatin, which I’m assuming was used along with pickling liquid to make this nugget. I am a lover of tart, salty tastes so this was right up my alley. I have honestly never seen gelatin treated this way before! It was the strangest thing I think I’ve tried recently buy man was it good. Also, I don’t think its coincidental that the only two times I’ve ever had black rice was at Habitat. Both times I found it to be phenomenal!
There was also cornbread with whiskey butter:
This dish was a delightfully new twist on a savory, home-style favorite! I preferred my dish, however. The Alaskan Halibut was PERFECT.
It was seared to perfection and plated over a summer bean salad. The fish was the total star of this plate, I wanted there to be endless amounts of it. The burnt squash were so good that Christina asked why I don’t make her burnt veggies! (To which I replied: “Honey, I do make you burned food all the time. It just doesn’t taste as good as this.”) The menu said a leek puree, but I swear our server said this was an arugula puree and it tasted more peppery than oniony. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this was an arugula puree. No matter what it was, I am in love with it. I would have traded in my salad and my dessert for a double portion of this – it was that good.
Let me backtrack for a second. I would have traded in my dessert for more halibut BEFORE I tasted dessert. Once I had a taste, I doubt I would be willing to trade. I mean, COME ON. Is this real life?
The bottom layer is a blueberry panna cotta, topped with a blueberry compote, jasmine ice cream, and then had a piece of blueberry crunch and vanilla meringue sticks. I wanted to cry. I suddenly felt like I needed to eat this exact thing every single night of I would die. I got up this morning and ate a handful of blueberries. Just wow. I tried to get a little bit of each aspect on the spoon with every bite.
If you haven’t yet been to Habitat, you are honestly missing out on one of Pittsburgh’s best restaurants. Each time we visit there, I love it more and more. Each dish I’ve had is better than the previous and for the $35 price tag, you would be absolutely crazy not to have this meal.