The Pittsburgh Food Diaries: Grit & Grace

Yesterday was the perfect storm of inspiration.

I stumbled upon the list of Pittsburgh Magazine’s Best Restaurants of 2014 first thing in the morning, and it just so happened to be a Wednesday, my weekly night out. It didn’t take long to decide that we should try to eat at every restaurant on the list before the end of the year. A few hours later, I was on set at work, telling our director about the challenge I had given myself. He casually responded, “You should blog about it.” And there it was, the beginning of a series: The Pittsburgh Food Diaries.

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Our first stop was Grit & Grace, a new restaurant located on Liberty Avenue downtown. It’s long and narrow space offers diners an intimate atmosphere, and the menu captures the essence of cuisine from all around the world.

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We sat down at our table, a quiet little booth towards the back, and ordered drinks. A crisp Reisling for me, a hoppy beer for him. The waitress introduced to us their Dim Sum offerings, and we decided we’d try a few as our appetizer. As soon as the plates came around, we quickly grabbed the Hangar Steak Tartare and the Mortadella Congee to share. The tartare was topped with an egg yolk, and accompanied by sourdough crisps and caper berries. It was buttery and smooth and meaty and we devoured it in approximately .5 seconds. The Mortadella Congee sat on a bed of risotta, with broccoli rabe and kimchi. The marriage of creamy risotto, salty mortadella and acidic kimchi was to die for. This one only took us about .3 seconds to inhale.

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Then, the main course. I ordered dayboat scallops with shaved brussel sprouts, crispy pepperoni, buttermilk, pickled banana peppers and garlic croutons. With my first bite, I understood the whole idea of Grit & Grace. Opposites. The acidic flavor of the banana peppers and brussel sprouts and the saltiness of the pepperoni were perfectly balanced by the soft, creaminess of the scallops and buttermilk.

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For dessert, we enjoyed salted caramel mousse with rhubarb jelly, topped with rosemary. (Unfortunately, we dug in so fast that we didn’t even get to take a picture.) Again, the balance of the tangy fruit and the sweet and salty caramel had us wishing for more.

I think we can agree: Grit & Grace rightfully earned their place on the list of Pittsburgh’s best restaurants. Tune in next week to read all about the eatery on our list!

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