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Category Archives: Asian

Penn Avenue Fish Company – Downtown

Wow! It’s been awhile since I last reviewed a restaurant, hasn’t it? Let’s cut right to the delicious, meaty content. Today was pay day for me. It’s also 63 degrees. These delightful facts led me to want a little bit more out of my lunch break today. My faithful coworker and I set out on a quest for salmon, which brought us to a place I’ve been curious about for a while – Penn Avenue Fish Company. Only it’s not on Penn Avenue.

They DO have a location on Penn Ave. in the Strip District. By the looks of their website, that location is much bigger than the one I went to on Forbes. Let me make it clear – they only serve fish. That said, assuming you like fish, it’s great! They have a huge variety of fresh fish sandwiches (tuna, swordfish, salmon, etc), sushi and cool-sounding soups to tease your appetite. Being a 25-year-old, self-proclaimed “aLtErNaTiVe” person, I totally love sushi, BUT I wanted salmon today, so I got the Energy Lunch – grilled salmon served on a bed of the following: spicy ginger carrot salad, green bean salad and apple cider vinaigrette.

Energy Lunch, $10.99

I’ve never been asked how I would like my fish cooked – that was weird. But I went with medium-well and crossed my fingers. Luckily, I made the right choice! The salmon was grilled perfectly. I’m not sure what the green sauce was, but it was super yummy. Did I mention the salmon was absolutely perfect? BECAUSE IT WAS!

The salads underneath were both pretty tasty, but I was a little sad that they were ice cold. The spicy ginger carrot salad was good, but not really spicy at all – and I’m really sensitive to spiciness. Still very good though.

Did I feel more energized after my meal? Certainly!

Are there sexy men preparing sushi there? Definitely. Yes. Oh my.

Will I start going here once a week? Probably.

For the price (a little steep for everyday-lunching), the atmosphere (relaxed but with a twinge of class) and the taste (mmmmm) I’m doling out a whopping 8.5/10 for Penn Ave Fish Co.

But next time, I’m trying the sushi.

 

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Sun Penang – Squirrel Hill

Sun Penang

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Hot Plate

When I think of Pittsburgh neighborhoods with the best Asian food, Squirrel Hill is at the top of the list. Both Forbes and Murray are stacked with dozens of options, with varying styles and price ranges. Sun Penang, until recently, had gone under my radar. But after hearing a rave review from a friend, I just haaaad to try it.

As a picky eater, I’m the first to admit that I tend to go for the safest bet at a new restaurant. With all my might, I held back and did not order the General Tso’s like I normally would. For a restaurant like Sun Penang, I wanted to try something new. They have several different menus, offering some of your more traditional Chinese and Thai fare, but the real draw is the dim sum menu. Dim sum refers to bite-size dishes typically served in a steamer or on a small plate (thanks, Wiki). Personally, I would classify it as “weird-ass dumplings and fried stuff”, which somehow seems less eloquent.

Sun Penang is a little on the pricey side, but the luxury is fully realized in the decor. Long drapes line the dimly-lit walls, and leather and mahogany coat the rest of the interior. The bar was stocked with an alarming amount of whiskey for an Asian restaurant. I love whiskey, but the romantic atmosphere (even though I was dining alone) compelled me to order a glass of Cabernet. After much deliberation and wine-consumption, I chose three dim sum items: the Fried Shrimp Ball, Chive w/ Shrimp (dumpling-type thing), and Lotus Leaf Sweet Rice.

Shrimp Ballz

Fried Shrimp Balls, $3.50 & Sutter Home Cab, $5.50

The shrimp balls (God, I wish they had a more appetizing name) came out first, and were warm and crispy. Fried to perfection.It’s always a little unnerving to eat something simultaneously fishy and puffy. Get over the initial shock, and these little guys can be pretty tasty. Douse them in the accompanying sauce (see photo) for the full flavor effect. Next up, the Chive with Shrimp.

Dumplin'

Chive w/ Shrimp, $3.50

Sorry this photo doesn’t really do these guys justice. These steamed dumplings were filled with a mixture of chive and shrimp in a creamy tartar-sort-of thing. It was kind of a crab rangoon texture, but without cheese. I thought they were totally delicious. I love the squishyness of the outside of the dumplings – yom yommers. Suddenly, I remembered I had more food to eat.

Lotus rice

Lotus Leaf Sweet Rice, $5.25

As I was so kindly informed so as to not make an ass of myself, you are not supposed to eat the leaf! Don’t do it! Instead, peel back the layers of lotus leaf to uncover the steamy mass of food locked within – sticky rice, with chicken, shrimp, shittake mushrooms, I think some kind of pork?, and other miscellaneous goodies. The lotus leaf gave the whole dish a very earthy taste. Different from anything I’ve ever had, and definitely not your everyday American-Asian food. Everything was cooked very well and the sticky rice was sweet and delectable. Sadly, I could not finish it. But never fear!

to-go bag

Cutest doggy bag ever!

I got to take my leftovers home in this handsome bag with a little umbrella poked in the side! It doesn’t get much cuter than tiny umbrellas, folks.

Seeing as how I am still without a good rating system, I’ll divvy out a nice 7.5/10 for Sun Penang. It’ll leave you feeling full, worldly, and totally Kawaii!

SO KAWAII

^_^V

-P

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Thai Gourmet – Bloomfield

Thai Gourmet

It’s February, which means you’re either getting over or getting into an illness. I fall into the latter category – I currently have a pretty nasty cold. I considered just ordering in tonight, since it’s snowing and freezing and I didn’t really feel like leaving my warm cocoon, but the idea of yummy Thai food propelled me out of bed and down to Liberty Avenue.

Thai Gourmet is an adorable little nook sandwiched between a tobacco shop and a laundromat. The dining room is intimate, with a long diner-style counter and bar stools as well as tables. The multicolored twinkly lights are so endearing. The whole vibe of the place is just so pleasant.

Service was prompt and friendly as I popped a squat at the counter. I was the only person eating at the “bar”, but the tables were all full of very happy looking customers. Yes, I was one of those “table for one” people.

Alone

Anyway, I ordered the Nam Prik (or the “N6” if you are uncomfortable saying “Prik”) – coconut w/ curry powder, yellow bean, deep fried broccoli/zucchini and crinkle-cut carrots. I also had Jasmine tea to soothe my throat.

So jazzy!

So jazzy!

Nam Prik

Nam Prik & Jasmine Tea - $10

The Nam Prik is served with your choice of meat. I am generally a meat-eater, but I tend to enjoy this dish with tofu generally. Thai Gourmet utilizes the 1-to-10 scale of spiciness with their menu, so I ordered mine at a 7.

The best way to describe the Nam Prik (curry-looking stuff in the bowl) itself is like a thin, saucy relish. There are tiny bits of peanuts in it, which gives it a very classically “Thai” taste. The spiciness combined with the sweet coconut flavor is absolutely delicious. Some Thai places don’t come through with very good accuracy on the 1-to-10 scale, but mine was definitely a strong 7. Just perfect.

I got a whoooole lot of food for $10, but I wish they gave you more deep-fried veggies. There were four pieces; two of broccoli and two zucchini. I understand that they are more so an accent of the dish than the star of the show. But man, I could eat like a pound of that fried broccoli. It is complimented by the sauce soooo well.

The noodles were cooked very well – maybe a little too soft, but I’m picky about noodles (as we all know from my last post) so I’m not really worried about it. The whole meal was AMAZING. I can’t say enough good things about it. The bed of raw veggies (spinach, really good iceberg lettuce, bean sprouts, crinkle-cut carrots) totally completes the meal, giving you a nice break from the intense spiciness every once in awhile.

Considering the adorable atmosphere, friendly service, and deliciousness of the food Thai Gourmet is getting a big 9/10 rating from this lady. I swear I’m going to come up with a better rating system soon.

Oh! And I got a fortune cookie for dessert.

Fortune

8)

It did! Making the 5-minute trek to Thai Gourmet dramatically improved my mood. I’d recommend it for the healthy and sick alike. Personally, I’m still sick. But at least my tummy is full.

-P

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