Monday, January 6, 2014

Casbah (Googer's Birthday)

Long time readers know we are huge fans of Casbah whether it's for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Long time readers also know that we are big fans of Big Burrito's birthday coupon for up to $30 off an entree during the 2 weeks around your birthday. This year, Googer decided to use his birthday coupon at Casbah and he asked SP & I if we would like to join him. That's a no brainer. Of course! So we joined him the Monday before New Year's for a lovely, as usual, dinner. We also got to play around with the new camera lens Googer gave us for Christmas (thank you!). Here's what we enjoyed:
Delicious, crusty bread with sea salt butter and labne (yogurt cheese). I love labne. The salty butter is really good, too, but the labne - I could easily smear one creamy and smooth scoop on a single slice of bread.
Yes, I really am that predictable. The Arugula Salad with pancetta, potatoes, mushrooms, goat cheese, and pancetta vinaigrette. Just as delicious as always.
SP is predictable, too. Charred Spanish Octopus, fennel, blood orange, prosciutto, sherry gastrique. He said the octopus was perfect, not rubbery or overcooked.
Googer chose Mesclun Greens, watermelon radish, pomegranate, charred orange vinaigrette, spiced pistachio. He said it was quite tasty.
SP's entree: Duck. I can't find the description on their online menu, and SP doesn't remember much except that the duck was perfectly prepared and the candied kumquats were a delicious accompaniment. As usual, he ate everything on the plate.
Googer chose Cioppino, mussels, little neck clams, shrimp, scallops, striped bass, grilled sourdough. He enjoyed his meal a lot, even eating the bread, which is something he doesn't eat too often.
I chose Sea Scallops, mashed potatoes, hedgehog mushrooms, roasted Brussels sprouts, beurre blanc, pickled mustard seeds. One of the best dishes I have ever enjoyed dining out. I really like scallops when they are properly cooked and Casbah has never disappointed. What really drew me to this entree was the pickled mustard seeds. I enjoyed them last February at SP's birthday dinner at Casbah. I mean, really, really, really enjoyed them, and I couldn't wait to try them again. The Brussels were small but really flavorful and roasted through, the mashed potatoes were excellent, some of the best I've ever had, and it's hard to impress me with mashed potatoes because I usually do not like them.
Googer got dessert! Googer is a very healthy eater. Usually he avoids sweets but since it was his birthday he decided to try the Sorbet Trio. I think the flavors were pineapple, lime, and berry. He said the sorbets were very good, he ate all of the sorbet, and he liked the addition of the berries.
SP and I shared Apple Tart Tartin. It's no longer listed online. It was a very satisfying dessert and we mopped up everything on the plate, but I am glad we shared because I was quite full and I would not have been able to eat an entire dessert myself.

As usual, our service was terrific, the food delicious, and we left happily full. For us, Casbah is one of the best restaurants in Pittsburgh, one of the top 5 for me.

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