Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Lidia's (Restaurant Week)

Pittsburgh Restaurant Week is over and we didn't go to as many meals as we would have liked. One place we did go to is Lidia's. We haven't been to Lidia's since the first few months or so that we were dating, so it's been a while! In fact, it was so long ago that it was before the blog. One reason for the lengthy delay in returning is that I had not been super duper impressed with our lunch there back in October 2007 (if I correctly remember), I thought the manicotti I had was just OK, and based on that, I was unsure of returning for dinner and the higher dinner prices.

This time, we went Sunday evening, the last night of Restaurant Week, and instead of using the valet (which is on a slight slope/hill and I am not yet good at getting in/out of the car on any surface except a nice flat one - hurry up and get all better hip, please!), we parked a block away in a lot that, it turns out, is free on Sundays. Yay!
Neither of us wanted wine/cocktails since we had enjoyed a few the night before, so we ordered iced teas and I decided to try one of the Italian sodas, a mint-lemon soda. It was refreshing and bright with lots of mint flavor. I made SP help me drink it because it is a soda, so it's fizzy, and fizzy drinks seem to bother my stomach these days.
A lovely bread basket with an herb focaccia, cheese straws, and a white bread (I forget the exact description!) and a plate with a scoop of kalamata bean puree and I think a pesto bean puree, I'm not sure. I didn't eat much of the bean spreads (garlic fear) but did dip my breads in the olive oil. The breads were delicious.
We both chose to do the Restaurant Week menu and we both chose to start with Caprese Salad (tomatoes, mozzarella, onions, basil, balsamic vinaigrette). This is one of my favorite dishes and this version did not disappoint. I liked the variety if tomatoes. They were ripe and juicy and flavorful (of course it is tomato season, so they should be). Just enough vinaigrette - I never like when my dish is drowning in vinaigrette.
The second course was Cheese and Pear Ravioli with Cracked Black Pepper Butter. This ravioli is one of the best I have enjoyed in recent memory. The pasta was so light and fluffy and flavorful, lots of cheese flavor, delicious butter flavor without drowning in a pool of butter, extra cheese freshly grated on top. They seemed to melt in my mouth. I ate the entire plate. SP ate most of his, which made me sad because for medical reasons he currently needs to be extra careful of his carb intake and I was kind of hoping he would eat just 1 or 2 and leave the rest for me!
My third course was Pollo al Limone (scallopine of chicken breast with lemon, olives, and capers). I ate just one bite. Look:
Can you see the garlic cloves? It's my fault, I should have asked before ordering this, I guess I just thought that because garlic wasn't listed as an ingredient and that because I've had this dish in other restaurants that it would be OK/not have garlic cloves on the plate, but from the smell wafting off the plate and the number of cloves, I knew I couldn't/shouldn't risk it, even if they had been roasted until super soft and that is usually OK for me, but... I traded plates with SP and he ate one of my chicken breasts. We took the other one home.
SP had ordered Saltimbocca alla Romana (pork scallopine, fresh sage, prosciutto, wilted spinach & arugula). After we traded and this became my dish, I wasn't especially excited because we had eaten a lot of pork the previous week and the night before I had ordered pork for dinner, so I was feeling porked out. Plus, I had trouble cutting the pork. I found it a bit overcooked/dry. SP did not. Also, the greens had some garlic in them. And I didn't really like the crispy prosciutto; crisping it seemed to make it less salty, prosciutto-y.

So in the end, I had one bite of chicken and 2 bites of pork. SP ate the entire pork plate and half the chicken plate. He says it was all really delicious.
Dessert was Tiramisu, one of my favorite desserts. SP was disappointed because the Restaurant Week menu online had listed Lemon Basil Crostata as the dessert but our menus in the restaurant said tiramisu, which made me happy. This is a light, creamy version, a very good version. I ate all of it and he ate half of his.
Service was fine, although I found it odd that we were not given Restaurant Week menus until we asked and we were not offered coffee/cappuccino/tea after our meal (we didn't want any, we were just surprised by not being offered any).

It's beautiful and relaxing inside, orange colors and two huge glass chandeliers that look like a bunch of grapes and remind me of Chihuly glass. The food was good and I would go back again, although I would be more careful what I ordered and I would ask questions before ordering. The Restaurant Week deal seems like a good deal, $35 for the 4 courses, and the portions were definitely generous.

Lidia's Pittsburgh on Urbanspoon

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