Monday, July 28, 2014

Altius

A couple of weeks ago, we decided to try Altius, the new restaurant from the people who brought Bistro 19 to Mt. Lebanon. Altius is on Mt. Washington, in the space that was formerly The Georgetown Inn. The Georgetown Inn was one of the first fancy places my parents took us for celebration dinners. I remember it being dark inside, sort of fancy, a dress up place, and delicious, but over the years it got a little less fancy and less delicious.

At 6 pm on a kind of sunny, kind of hazy Saturday in July, Altius is bright and shiny - grays and whites and sleek and modern. This is a slower paced meal, a meal to savor and enjoy, while also enjoying the fantastic view of the city. While we looked over the food and drink menus, we were served a silver cone of truffled popcorn:
Truffled Popcorn - yum! It's a little addictive and I was trying to resist so I wouldn't fill up before the meal! SP loves truffle flavor, so he ate the majority of the popcorn, finishing it.
Our cocktails: Vieux Carre and Seelbach (Old Forester Signature Bourbon, Peychaud's & Angostora bitters, bubbly). Both were yummy.
Amuse Bouche: Watermelon, Feta, Arugula, Balsamic. This was tasty. Summery. And it inspired me to add mint to my morning watermelon for breakfast the following week.
Breads served from a bread tray: Oatmeal Stout, Rolls, Rosemary Focaccia, All are good. The focaccia was my favorite. They were served with sun dried tomato~olive oil topper and some smooth butter.
My appetizer: Sea Scallop - pork belly, smoked peach BBQ, sangria vinaigrette, cornbread. The scallop & vinaigrette were yummy, the cornbread a little crumbly, but the star was the pork belly with peach and peach BBQ. Lately I've seen recipes for pork and peach BBQ/glaze/brine in all the food magazines we receive, and I love the combination.
SP's appetizer: Tongue n'Cheek - crispy tongue steak, braised beef cheek pierogie, melted leeks, mushrooms, veal demi-glace, horseradish creme fraiche. He loved this dish. The bite of pierogie I had was delicious.
My entree: Sheep's Milk Ricotta Gnocchi - yellow tomato coulis, roasted peppers, PA mushrooms, artichoke hearts, riccotta salata. My gnocchi was in a butter sauce with the tomato coulis on the side because of garlic concerns. The coulis was delicious, but I just had a wee bit. The gnocchi were smooth and pillowy and had a lovely ricotta taste. I ate it all!
SP's entree: Duck Duck Goose - seared breast, leg confit, whipped goose pate, cherry duck jus, soft polenta, sauteed kale.
He said his duck was delicious. He was too busy eating to say much else!
I was way too stuffed for dessert, but I did order Tea.
I like the cute saucer! SP used his phone to time my tea steeping time (yes, we're tea nerds).
SP's dessert: Coconut Rose Panna Cotta - pineapple watermelon salad, berries, coulis, pink peppercorn tuile, coconut lime sorbet. I didn't try any of it - too full and I do not like coconut. I also do not like rose flavor in my food. I love rose smell, but not taste.

Overall, we really enjoyed our meal at Altius. It's definitely a special occasion place, although this time we weren't celebrating anything, we just decided we wanted to try it. Our server was a genuinely nice fellow, pleasant, answered our questions. It's a slower paced meal, so if you don't like lingering and savoring or need to be somewhere, it might not be the place for you. The view is fantastic. The food delicious. Small touches like the popcorn, amuse bouche, and a small treat in a tiny bag to take home are quite nice. We'll definitely go back.

I do wish that Mt. Washington, particularly that touristy area along Grandview where the viewpoints and restaurants are, would clean itself up some and match the clean, sleek, new, modern feel of Altius. It seemed to us, as we parked along a side street and walked, that the sidewalks are incredibly crappy. Bumpy. Ruts. Chunks missing. Grass growing up in between cracks. Not good for the wheelchair, or a stroller, or anyone with a mobility issue. Curb cuts seemed lacking. The facades of some buildings seemed tired and dirty and in need of a face lift. If Pittsburgh is going to be a great place to visit, or live, or any of the other recent honors it has received, and if it's going to promote Mt. Washington and the inclines as a tourist 'must see' area, then it should be a little nicer.

Altius on Urbanspoon

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