Cure, a recently opened (January 2012, I think) restaurant on Butler Street in Lawrenceville. I wanted to try Cure because I had heard good things not just about Cure but also about Chef Severino when he was at Elements. At the same time, my desire to try Cure was somewhat dampened by my... fear of the menu. Read on for more details, and remember, despite being a 'food blogger' and loving to cook and dine out, I have a sensitive stomach and I am somewhat peculiar about what I will/won't eat/try! So I went in excited and fearful!
Since Cure is BYOB, our server opened our wine (Kendall Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon) and we enjoyed a glass while looking around, spotting all the pig decor/figurines, and looking over the menu.
What didn't we know? SP & I like to think we know a fair amount about foods/ingredients, but we both were a little clueless here.
Treviso: my guess was going to be a green, but there was also rapini in the dish and that's a green, so then I got confused. Looking it up we learned it's a town in Italy and also a red radicchio.
Boudin Blanc/Boudin Noir: my guess was going to be a blood sausage/non blood sausage based on the blanc/noir, and it is.
Escabeche: I know I've seen this before, but I just couldn't remember that it refers to poached or fried fish/meat with an acidic marinade.
Bacalao: we guessed this would be like Japanese bonito flakes, and we were close. It's dried, salted cod.
After our phone research, I felt a little too stupid to be at the restaurant! S & R arrived, opened their Mark West Pinot Noir, and we ordered. SP & I shared Crispy Pigs Ear Salad.
salami toscano, lardo, pork terrine, coppa di testa, chicken rillettes, chorizo, duck ciccioli, cornichon, mustard, red onion. They would have liked a bit more bread for with the meats. SP tried a taste of chorizo and said it was tasty and spicy. I tried a bit of whatever is in the lower right of the photo and it was pretty tasty. This is another example of scary to me foods - meats studded with things like garlic, meats cooked in and then mixed with lots of fat and turned into a spreadable paste, head cheese, meat jellies/terrines - the idea of these things does not appeal to me but at Cure when I forgot about what they were and actually tasted them, I went, hmmm, yum. Let's try another taste. Hmm yes, that's good.
S also ordered the White Bean Soup, which he said was very good. I forgot to take a photo. It comes with goat cheese, crispy kale, and chili oil. When it is served, the server places a bowl with the solid ingredients on the table in front of you and the pours the hot broth from a kettle over the solid ingredients in the bowl.
I discovered that we all are quite skilled in scraping our plates clean and maybe even licking them a tiny bit!
I really enjoyed my Cure meal, and as I said before, that surprises me because the menu is 'different.' I haven't seen too many Pittsburgh menus with pickled duck tongue or meat pie like this. It is a smallish menu with about 5 starters, 6 entrees, and 2 desserts, and I think some items change frequently. For instance, just a couple of days ago there was a mushroom risotto on the menu and I was thinking that would be my safe choice, but when we got to Cure, it was no longer on the menu. The mackerel that R ordered was not listed online on Saturday. Perhaps it's a fish option for Friday only because of Lent?
Our server was excellent. Happy to answer questions. Kept the water glasses filled. S & R brought 2 bottles of wine, a white and a red. They opted to open the red first and our server offered to keep the white chilled in their refrigerator in back.
It's always nice when a restaurant you are slightly 'fearful of' because its menu offerings are a bit 'different' turns out to be an amazing, delicious experience. That was the case with Cure for me. Lately I've seen more restaurants in Pittsburgh offering items like bone marrow, pork belly, pates, foie gras, and it makes me happy to see this even if it might not always be my personal choice in foods. I know my chicken entree wasn't too 'different' but I am excited that I enjoyed the pig ear & pickled duck tongue so much plus my tiny taste of the salumi platter and my taste of boudin blanc.
Cure is now on our 'Go To Again' list. It's delicious.