Monday, May 2, 2011

At Last, Anniversary Dinner

After 2+ weeks of battling colds, we finally managed to feel well enough to go out to our anniversary dinner. We decided to celebrate at the restaurant where we had our wedding reception: Sewickley Speakeasy. We had reservations for 6 pm, but we were out beforehand doing some errands and were a bit concerned about traffic since we had read that there were some lane closures on I79, so we ended up being nearly a half an hour early. The entrance is a little difficult to see. I snapped the above photo as we made the right turn into the restaurant - we always slow down a bit when we see the traffic light in the distance because we know the right turn up the steep hill is coming up. Fortunately, our early arrival was not a big deal and we were seated right away near the windows. We noted that we were sitting in almost the exact same spot as we were for our wedding reception.

What's a celebration without some wine? We also ordered iced teas. Since we both are still a wee bit sick, we didn't want an entire bottle, and none of the by-the-glass selections really appealed to me. There are some half bottle options on the wine list. So we ordered a half bottle of sauvignon blanc. The mini bottle was cute, but I didn't really like the wine. I wouldn't order it again.S-Speakeasy has a large wine list. Lots of bottles from which to choose, although I felt there were a lot of chardonnays and merlots. I like the sauvignon blancs, viogniers, and syrahs, none of which was available by-the-glass when we were there. As we sipped our beverages and perused the menu, I had a nice view out the windows of the Ohio River.
Some warm rolls soon arrived:Warm rolls/bread are always tasty! I love spreading a bit of butter on the roll and then watching as it slowly melts and then soaks into the bread.

S-Speakeasy has a new 'Lite Fare Menu.' It seems like quite a good deal: appetizer, soup, salad, entree, and dessert for $15.95. The entree portions are half the size of the regular menu entree portions. The appetizer & soup are set; you do not get to choose. We considered the Lite Fare Menu, but Saturday's appetizer was beef tips with noodles and the soup a pepper soup, neither of which really appealed to us. We ordered off the main menu.

SP started with Escargot En Croute:Imported snails served in a flaky puff pastry with gorgonzola cream sauce and fresh chives. He enjoyed it, but we both think the dish has changed a bit since the last time we ordered it at S-Speakeasy. It didn't seem as saucy and it wasn't as garlicky as it used to be.

I chose Stuffed Mushroom Caps:Stuffed with seasoned crabmeat, baked, and topped with sauce beurre blanc. I always find these tasty. Lots of crabmeat and a tasty sauce.

We both chose the salad over soup, and we both opted for balsamic dressing.Quite a nice salad of mixed greens. One slice of tomato. Some sunflower seeds. And onion, which I picked off.

For my entree I chose Veal Zurich:Veal scallopini topped with crisp onion rings, gruyere cheese, bordelaise, and sauce beurre blanc. I really like this dish. It's definitely not healthy - the sauces, breaded veal, fried onion ring, melted cheese - wow! But it sure is tasty. For my side, instead of potatoes, I chose the carrots and zucchini sauteed with butter and dill.

SP chose En Papillotte:Icelandic cod filet steamed in parchment with leeks, red and green peppers, garlic butter, and white wine sauce. It looked so neat when it arrived, with the ruffled parchment edges. It made me think of phyllo dough and I kept thinking SP was supposed to cut the thin phyllo and eat it, too! But no, he cut/picked off the parchment to reveal his fish: You can barely see the cod because it's the same color as the parchment! He said his meal was very tasty.

I was too full for dessert, and SP was pretty full, too. He was sad because he really wanted the Apple Puff Pastry served with ice cream. It's very good, but it is a bit large and filling. We decided to split Creme Brulee:We scooped off the whipped cream first. I am always surprised when S-Speakeasy's creme brulee arrives with whipped cream on top. The burnt sugar topping was nice and crackly as we broke it with our spoons. You could still sense the heat from the torch on the top of the custard.It was a very nice dinner, and a nice way to recall our wedding day. We had a nice time reminiscing, remembering where people sat, where the cake was, everything about the day.

S-Speakeasy is in a very old home. It was never really a speakeasy. It's not sleek/modern inside; it's an older feel, maybe even quaint, with wood walls, fireplaces, lace curtains. The servers are very friendly and helpful - we've never had bad service. It is not a restaurant with healthy items! The menu is filled with what I think of as 'older dishes' like Liver & Onions and Duck a L'Orange. There's no new gourmet/fusion type stuff. There are a lot of options. Since we do not eat veal at home, I like to order it when we are out, and there are 5-6 veal dishes from which to choose. SP likes seafood and I think there are 10 seafood options - of course sauces like beurre blanc make frequent appearances and lower the 'healthy' aspect, but we don't eat out to be healthy, that's what salads at home during the week are for. Definitely one of our favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh.

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