Pittsburgh is lucky enough to have two excellent bistros right here in our own backyard. "Bistro" cooking by definition is bold and fully flavored, and when most people think of what a bistro is, a small, intimate neighborhood restaurant located somewhere in France usually pops into mind. But, you don't have to travel to France to experience this bistro that serves French and Italian country cooking.
1113 S. Braddock Ave.
Tu-Th: 5-9pm; F-Sa: 5-10pm
Located in Regent Square, Legume is in convenient walking distance of neighborhood movie theaters and other small businesses.
"I tried not to be a chef," says Trevor Hooper. "But I'm a picky eater, and I don't like processed food. So here I am." Hooper is the chef and owner, with his wife, Sarah, of Legume. Hooper gathers fresh ingredients used in his remarkable dishes from local Pittsburgh producers such as Heilman's Hogwash Farms, Jamison's Farms, and Kennedy's meat stand located at the East Liberty Farmer's market. Each day you can be in for a real treat, as the menu is changing almost daily. On Wednesday evenings, Legume features a vegetarian tasting menu in addition to the regular menu.
Don't forget the vino! Legume's is BYOB, with corkage costing $3. "I like being BYOB. I guess I like wine drinkers, too. They always seem to enjoy themselves, and they like to bring their own bottles because our food won't fight with wines from anyone's cellar," Hooper says.
So, what's with the name? "Legumes are earthy and unpretentious," says Hooper, "that's what I want our bistro to be."
Legume, 1113 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square is open Tu-Th 5-9 pm, and F-Sa 5-10 pm. The restaurant is BYOB and takes reservations for parties of six or more. Details: 412.371.1815. To see today's menu: www.legumebistro.com.
Le Pommier Bistro Francais
2104 East Carson Street
On a warm spring evening in Pittsburgh, take a stroll down historic East Carson Street and enjoy the sights and smells. As you are walking, you must stop at the three-story brick building with a 19th century storefront located at 2104 East Carson. This is the home to Le Pommier Bistro Francais, Pittsburgh's oldest, classiest, and most genuine bistro.
Former owners, Christine and Jim Dauber opened the original restaurant in 1984, presenting a French menu. 20 years later, they passed on the business to three young men who had already been helping them run the restaurant. To the Dauber's, it was like passing off the business to sons; needless to say, the transition ran smoothly. Fresh faces bring fresh ideas! Bright red and gold walls line the dining room, with mirrors on both sides of the room, banquette seating, and an updated bar fill the bistro. What was once a quaint space has now has a contemporary vibe.
"We serve the emblematic bistro dishes—French onion soup, steak frites, cassoulet, duck confit—because many guests want to recreate an experience they had in Paris," Executive Chef Mark Collins says, "but we put our spin on seasonal dishes too. A pear, roasted shallot and bacon tart tatin has been hugely popular when we serve it. And we might mix it up on the menu to include a rabbit pot pie, grilled whole Dover sole with braised fennel and onion and braised beef short-ribs on soft white polenta. We always offer a vegetarian dish, too. Even though our chocolate mousse, red wine poached pear and creme brulée always sell out, our most-requested dessert is profiteroles with housemade ice cream and sauce."
Le Pommier offers an affordable meal with memorable food and ambiance, so, why not skip the airfare and make a reservation at Bistro Francais? Phone: 412.431.1901. Website: www.lepommierbistro.com