Monday, June 15, 2009

Sewickley Speakeasy

Saturday night, my parents took us out for a (very) belated celebration of SP's birthday. They love Sewickley Speakeasy, and SP had never been there, so that's where we went. It's on Ohio River Blvd along the Ohio River and train tracks and no, it was not really a speakeasy. After some research, it turns out the building is the former home of the founder of Haysville and the house is nearly 200 years old.

The decor is far from something more 'modern' or 'sleek' like Eleven or Casbah; there's a fireplace and 'old time' pictures and knick knacks and exposed brick - remember, the house is 200 years old. There's also an outdoor patio and a small bar area. I've seen some reviews posted online that say the decor is horrible, outdated, like a 1980's dentist's office. I disagree with all of those. To me, it's simply an old home with decor designed to evoke the feeling of being back in the Roaring 20's.

They have a huge wine list and if they can't find a bottle you select, they always bring some options similar to the one you selected. We shared a bottle of Kendall Jackson Sauvignon Blanc (sauvignon blanc being my favorite white) and a bottle of Sterling Cabernet. Some posted reviews said the list was all about white zinfandel - I must conclude that reviewer either didn't look at more than one page of the wine list or simply is too stupid to understand/appreciate/remember a wine list.

My photos from dinner turned out terrible - the lighting is a bit dark, or perhaps I should say intimate or romantic. I refused to use my flash - its just not the kind of place where a flash should be going off while one photographs all the food on the table!!! Plus, I used my cell phone, not a 'real' camera. But here goes:

For appetizers, dad, SP, and I split 2 orders of crab stuffed mushroom caps. There was lots of crab in the caps and not so much filler-type stuff, plus the sauce on the plate was delicious. Mom had her usual Escargot en Croute. She loves the garlicky, puff pastry, cream sauce snails. The mushroom caps:
Next, SP had vegetable soup while the rest of us had salad. Dad got the raspberry dressing but ended up liking my balsamic dressing more - all my dressing was sopped up in the warm, crusty bread rolls. The salad is mixed greens, a tomato wedge, maybe an olive or cucumber slice and sprinkled with sunflower seeds. To me, it's the perfect size salad. My salad:Now for the entrees. Dad got Duck a L'Orange, which he said was very good. Mom had Veal Oscar (veal with asparagus). SP had one of the night's specials: sole stuffed with crabmeat. And I had Veal Zurich - veal topped with fried onion rings and gruyere in bordelaise and sauce beurre blanc. Yum. I chose the zucchini in dill for my side, dad got baked potato, mom got mashed red potatoes, and SP had rice pilaf.
Veal Zurich & Duck a L'Orange:

Veal Oscar & Crab Stuffed Sole:

For dessert, the four of us split creme brulee and apple puff pastry with vanilla ice cream. Both were delicious. No photos - I forgot! Dessert showed up and we all dug in with gusto!!

Some online reviews complained about the service. I will say that service was a bit slow this past Saturday, and it was the most crowded I'd ever seen it, but our waitress was very friendly and apologetic. In the past, service has always been terrific - but note that my parents ate there so much when they lived in Pittsburgh that they remember us every time I call to make a reservation.

Also, some online reviews complained about the 'old' menu and that everything was in butter. My reply is this: the restaurant is not trying to be a modern, fusion style place, or a big city bistro, it's not on the trendy South Side or in upscale Shadyside, it's trying to serve older classics in an old house. Yes, the food is rich. It is not for those watching a waistline or cholesterol. Yes, there's 'old' classics like frog legs (appetizer) and lots of steaks and veals - one reviewer complained that everything was veal, veal, veal. While there are several veal dishes (Oscar, Marsala, Zurich, Spinachi, Romano, DiParis), it looked to me like chicken in all the same ways as the veal. There are several steak options (which I don't remember because I am not a fan of steak), there are scallops, fish, crab cakes, crab stuffed shrimp - a total of about 10 seafood entrees on the front of the menu. There's also lamb, duck, pork chops - just about anything. There's also oysters as an appetizer, a shrimp/crab cocktail, fried zucchini... probably 12-14 appetizers.

My family really likes this place and we would definitely go there again - I think I've already heard rumblings of a trip there in December the next time we're all together.

Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

1 comment:

  1. I REALLY liked the Speakeasy. People complaining about the decor or the lack of "light"/"modern" choices are missing the point -- if that's what you're looking for, you went to the wrong place.

    The wine list is all about white zin? Are they even reviewing the right place? Sheesh!