Bring Flavor to the Table with These Summery Pittsburgh Appetizers
By Andrea Bosco Stehle / Photographs by Michael Fornataro / Fabrics from LOOM Exquisite Textiles
Asiatique Thai Bistro
Self-proclaimed “high-heeled chef” and owner Ling sees operating a restaurant as “an opportunity to heal others.” She solely uses organic fruits and vegetables, and regularly feeds customers who are suffering from cancer. One of her go-to appetizers is her Salmon Salad, comprised of organic leaf lettuce and spring mix, celery, cucumber, avocado, tomato, sautéed North Pacific salmon, and cilantro. She tosses the veggies in a fusion of chili paste, lime juice, olive oil, and mushroom soy sauce. “Serving everything fresh, healthy, and natural is a powerful mix,” says Ling. “And it’s easy!”
[Asiatique Thai Bistro, 120 Bakery Square Blvd., Bakery Square. 412.441.1212.]
The Big Y Group is introducing its newest Aegean-inspired restaurant, Poros, coming to Market Square in September! Executive chef Chris O’Brien, formerly of Restaurant ECHO, will be introducing a variation of dishes from around the Aegean Sea, like this one — grilled octopus, eggplant mash, preserved lemons, and grilled radicchio in the signature dressing, Poros citronette — on the Mezze menu. The chic, new “estiatorio” will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, will host private events, and will seat up to 100 people in the Square and 150 indoors!
[Poros, 2 PPG Market Square, Market Square.]
Shark week may be over, but it’s not going away anytime soon at Walnut Grill. Corporate Executive Chef Randy Simpson serves up a new addition to the restaurant’s appetizer menu: Shark Bites. He tosses fresh blacktip shark in a chipotle cinnamon spice blend and lightly fries the bites in tempura batter. Then, he tops the dish with a fresh jicama slaw of fresh cilantro, lime, and vegetables. It’s accompanied by a “mango-pepperdew” relish for a sweet, yet spicy, finish. Simpson spices up the eatery’s appetizer menu even more with Thai Curry Mussels, made with fresh PEI mussels, tossed in a slightly spicy red curry and coconut broth, and finished with fresh herbs, toasted coconut, and freshly grilled garlic crostini for dipping! “Who doesn’t love sitting outside and enjoying fresh seafood?” he says. “The mussels come in daily and are always fresh; the red curry gives just enough heat to make you continue to enjoy them till gone; and the coconut adds just a pinch of sweetness to complement the curry.”
[Walnut Grill, 724.933.8410, Wexford. 412.782.4768, Fox Chapel. 412.668.0951, Mt. Lebanon. 412.564.5746, Bridgeville. Robinson at Settlers Ridge, coming this fall!]
Plating precisely and artfully is essential for Executive Chef John Mottinger. He whips up this colorful, seasonal creation with baby kale, red quinoa, purple Peruvian potatoes, red radish, nectarine, Bing cherries, pickled watermelon, and balsamic-soaked figs. He adds a duo of pan-seared scallops and lemon-whipped ricotta for a flossy finish. “I plated this four different times before I was happy with the final result,” says Mottinger. “Just like any good chef, you never just make something and send it.”
Did you know? Willow’s recent renovation includes three special occasion rooms, two decks overlooking the trailing woods and creek, and a re-concepted menu of expansive small plates and bar snacks!