Our dinner choice was a place I wanted to try during Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, but we didn't have the time to get there: Kaleidoscope Cafe. Kaleidocope Cafe used to be River Moon Cafe, a place at which we dined back in May 2010 and really enjoyed. We were sad when it closed but hopeful when the space re-opened.
It's still a small, cozy restaurant. We were seated by a window, which was nice. I am guessing the triangle decor is supposed to evoke a kaleidosope, a tiny toy of which was on each table. At first, when the restaurant was nearly empty, it was very quiet and we could easily hear the conversations of fellow diners. Once the space filled with lots of people talking & enjoying their BYOB beverages, it got quite loud!
We didn't BYOB. Neither of us has been feeling especially well, we have both felt a cold coming on, so we didn't feel like wine. We ordered hot tea. Mint for SP, Earl Grey for me.
SP started off with a soup of the day, a Fire Roasted Vegetable Soup with cayenne in it. I found it to be too hot/spicy while SP really enjoyed it. It looked like there was maybe a bit of cream in the soup and all the veggies were pureed so the soup was smooth not chunky.
There are several small plates on the menu. SP chose to try the Duck Cannoli with white chocolate cardamom beurre blanc and pistachio dust. I tried a small bite of duck and cannoli shell. The duck was moist, tender, and a bit sweet but not overly sweet. SP loved this and is looking forward to a return visit so he can order it again.
I ordered the Deep Fried Gnocchi small plate. Oh my goodness. These were the lightest, most delicious gnocchi I have ever eaten! When I took my first bite, the gnocchi seemed so creamy and moist and melty that I thought it was almost like eating fried cheese. Not too potato heavy or starchy or dense. Just light deliciousness. The marinara was delicious, too.
Our server brought us a basket of warm pita with a honey~lemon~pine nut butter. The butter was so creamy and flavorful and it melted on the warm pita. We both like lemon a lot, so it's not too surprising that we really liked this butter.
For his meal, SP chose Pan Seared Basa with a lobster~white bean puree and greens sauteed with bacon. Our server had pointed out the basa to us when he first came over, telling us that it is a white fish similar to tilapia, and we heard him tell another table that the fish can actually be pounded without ruining the texture and taste. SP had heard of basa, and even eaten it once, but I hadn't heard of it. It was a huge piece of fish and he said it was perfectly cooked and delicious, especially with the lobster~bean puree and greens & bacon to add oomph to a mild white fish.
To SP's surprise, I ordered Scallops Beurre Noisette, seared sea scallops, toasted walnuts, & diced tomato in brown butter sauce over farfalle. Usually I don't order scallops as an entree. They were beautifully seared and flavorful. This dish was delicious - just 4 ingredients and a pasta. Simple, but it worked nicely. The walnuts added a nice crunch plus toasty taste, the brown butter was not too overwhelming and it was not a pool in which the other ingredients could swim. I ate all the scallops but only about half the pasta - it was a large portion, especially after the pita and gnocchi.
I knew SP would want the Poached Pear for dessert. It's poached in red wine & mulling spices, served with fig and spiced rum mascarpone quenelle and candied walnuts. He said it was delicious, of course, poached pear is one of his favorite desserts. I thought it was delicious, too, soft and spicy and moist, but I much preferred my dessert:
Apple Tart. Delicious crust with walnuts, pastry cream, thinly sliced apple, just so good. I really didn't think I'd be able to finish dessert when I ordered it, but this was so good I ate it all, scraping up every last crumb on the plate. Sometimes an apple dessert like this can be too bland or too sweet or rely too much on pastry flavor or a spice flavor. This was just right, not too sweet, creamy, I can't wait to go back again and hopefully they will still have this dessert!
I'm still sad we didn't get to try Kaleidoscope Cafe over Restaurant Week but I am very glad we went this weekend. The server and hostess (who also helped out in the dining room) were very nice and friendly, our water glasses were kept filled. I liked that our server pointed out a few items on the menu when he first came over.