This past Saturday SP & I tried a restaurant that has been on our 'to try' list ever since it opened: Wild Rosemary Bistro. It's a 'special occasion' restaurant. Our 'special occasion,' or some might say 'excuse to go out to a more expensive than usual' meal, was the 'anniversaries' of when we started dating, moved in together, and got engaged. All 3 of those 'events' occurred in August on either the 21st or 22nd.We had read in Edible Allegheny (article here) and in newspapers (City Paper review here, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette review here) that a reservation on a Saturday was tough to come by, so it is a good idea to call well in advance. We called in early June. Since I am in a wheelchair and the restaurant is tiny, the woman SP spoke with suggested we come in around 5:30, before it got too busy, and that would ensure we got the easiest accessible table and wouldn't have to try to maneuver between tables. SP said OK.
The parking lot is gravel, not great for a wheelchair, but it wasn't too bad. Once inside the front door, you are greeted by a weathered blue-green table/hostess area. I didn't get a good look at the area to the left of the hostess area, but I seem to remember it having a large table to seat 8-10 or so people (there was a large party seated there when we entered) and that table is 'higher,' like sitting at a bar. We were seated at the first table off to the right, next to the red tiled fireplace. I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to dine next to the fireplace in cooler months and when it's dark outside and the candlelight from the candles on the mantle would be more noticeable.
The inside is bright. Lots of yellow, orange, and red. There were several dehumidifiers/fans running, which some might find noisy or annoying but they didn't bother us. In addition to the large party at the table to the left, there were a couple other tables occupied in the 'to the right' area.We took a bottle of Coppola sauvignon blanc to drink and it was opened soon after we were seated. SP & I only needed a bit of time to see that the menu was the same as what we had seen online, and we both already knew what we wanted!! Wild Rosemary changes menus frequently, every two weeks, I think, and some entrees stay (their scallops dish is their most popular) but newer ones appear (taking advantage of seasonal foods). Not long after opening our wine, we were served an appetizer of flatbread wedges with goat cheese and herbs with an heirloom tomato salad:The 6 flatbread wedges were wrapped in a mini bag tied with twine. We both really enjoyed these starters. The tomatoes were so fresh and juicy and the seasoning and dressing just right. Not too heavy, light and refreshing. Goat cheese & herbs on flatbread - what's not to like?! Especially if you love goat cheese, and we do.
SP chose the salmon for his meal:I had predicted ahead of time that he would choose the salmon! The full description: Bay of Fundy salmon, seared, served with paella (rice, saffron, piquillos peppers, white wine, and steamed Cherry Stone clams) and rocket. I looked up rocket before we went and rocket is simply another name for arugula (Wikipedia article here), also known as roquette.
The arugula salad also had a few sun-dried tomato bits, thiny sliced onion, and a few slivers of red & yellow peppers. If there was a dressing, it was very, very light. SP really, really enjoyed this dish - the fish was nicely cooked, not dried out, and he loved the clams and paella.
I chose the veal cutlet:Full description: veal cutlets pounded, lightly breaded, and sauteed, sun-dried tomato butter, artichoke potato confit, lemon oregano, and rocket. Oh my goodness, this was so tasty. The thin veal was not tough or overcooked and leathery like thin meats sometimes can be. The artichoke potato confit was excellent. Like SP, I really enjoyed the arugula salad. I ate it all!
After finishing our wine & entrees, SP ordered some hot tea:And I ordered a half press of decaf coffee:I am not a coffee connoisseur, I do not regularly drink it, but I really liked this coffee. I like that it is served in a press. Even though I was very full after dessert, I drank all the coffee because it was so tasty!
Of course we had dessert! We shared two 'Evening Sweets.' Neapolitan Brownie: And a glazed sour cream poundcake with peaches and creme fraiche.
My brain must've been in a food coma, because I kept reading 'Neapolitan' as 'Napoleon' and was thinking it would be a 'napoleon' with brownie instead of puff pastry and gelato instead of custard. Oops. So of course I asked what the gelato flavors in the Neapolitan are and our server nicely told me chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Not until we got home did it suddenly hit me that I had been reading it wrong!! I feel so dumb!! Of course 'neapolitan' favors are chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry! Some foodie I am...
It was very tasty, and we both really enjoyed it, lapping up every last bit of gelato, but the peach poundcake was even better. Oh my. I couldn't shovel it in fast enough. If we both hadn't been so stuffed, there might have been a fork fight for the last bite. SP let me have the last bite because he was stuffed and, being the sweets lover I am, I quickly speared it before he could change his mind.
We took a photo of our bill because we thought it was so cute, and definitely different from the norm. A skinny sheet of paper with the Wild Rosemary logo and our order handwritten - and so neatly! I didn't bother to blur out the prices - after all, I just wrote about what we ordered and the prices are listed at their website, so it's not a big mystery how much we spent. We just liked the unique bill.
We found the service at Wild Rosemary to be very good. Everyone was so friendly. There were no long lapses between courses. It was almost like dining at someone's home because everyone was so friendly and casual and made sure you had everything you needed. Nothing uptight or pretentious, no fear of disdain from a server for using the wrong fork. Just very warm-hearted and welcoming and cozy.
We will definitely be back to Wild Rosemary. In fact, like another couple who made a reservation for their next visit, we made a reservation for our next visit, which will also be on a Saturday but at a later time and in a cooler month -- hopefully we'll be next to the red-tile fireplace again.
**Megan from Spicy & Blue recently dined at Wild Rosemary; read her review here.