Monday, August 17, 2009

Week 1: The 17th Street Cafe

The 17th Street Café

I write this week's posting from my new apartment, sipping a glass of wine, watching my favorite movie, the American President, and very well fed after a delicious meal at Nakama. However, Nakama is not the topic of this week's blog posting (I'll save its review for another week).

I thought that I would make my inaugural review one of the best restaurant I've found in my four years in Pittsburgh – the 17th Street Café (at 17th St in the South Side, one block off Carson towards the river).

Let's flash back to two Friday's ago, when I first visited this restaurant…

Taking advantage of flexible summer work schedules, I left work at 4PM to catch an early dinner and a Friday night movie premier (500 Days of Summer --- I strongly recommend it). I met my ex-roommate (who even though we don't live together anymore, we still see just as much of one another) in the South Side for what she told me was a celebratory dinner (what we were celebrating would be announced in person).

I found the 17th Street Café after a quick Google search of bistro-like restaurants near my new apartment. What can I say? Sometimes the places I find are after careful research, but it turns out that some of the best places I find are happened upon after a rash restaurant search on the way out of work…

Upon entering, I find an uncanny resemblance to an establishment that my best friend in Brooklyn and I frequent, Bar Toto. Although we chose not to drink, I would have been all for homemade Sangria or a nice fresh squeezed margarita (a tough thing to turn down, if you know me at all, you'd easily understand). Here's a quick run-down of our meal:

- Our free appetizer (print out the coupon from their website) of stuffed peppers over breaded mozzarella made me realize that I have no business trying to pretend to cook Italian.

- Make sure to take full advantage of the bread --- fresh-baked and heavenly.

- House Salad (with chick-peas --- one of those accompaniments that I forget I love until a genius chef decides to throw them in my salad at the local bistro)

- And the main course – a penne in a white wine sauce with chicken and prosciutto. YUM! (I only had room for half, and I enjoyed it again for lunch on Saturday)


This restaurant is run flawlessly:

- I left the restaurant with a pen in hand that read, "Return this stolen pen to the 17th Street Café for a free order of Fried Zucchini" --- what a great idea!

- Two days after my visit, I found a letter in my mailbox from my waitress, Kaelyn, thanking me for coming and welcoming me to the neighborhood.

SOMEONE is an expert at running restaurants, and I think that somebody is Pat (restaurant owner --- he'll introduce himself before and after your meal).

So, I can't recommend it enough --- I plan on taking my mom when she visits in September and cashing in on an order of free Fried Zucchini.

A few more things I think will be helpful to readers….

The Price:

I'd deem this a once-a-month priced restaurant for poor college students, and a once-a-week priced restaurant for young professionals. We could spend a bit above our college student budget because, as I said, we were there to celebrate --- and what were we celebrating? My ex-roommate was offered three full-time jobs that week --- talk about a reason to over-eat!

The Details:

Check out their site linked above

Next on the Agenda:

Tessaro's in Bloomfield (I've heard great things about those 'Burgher Burgers!)

17th Street Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. I couldn't agree more. Pat is great! The staff is amazing:)

  2. I remember the days when you would only eat mac and cheese and french fries. I love this blog - can't wait to visit Pittsburgh and take advantage of your recommendations.