This week is Pittsburgh Restaurant Week and I just can't help myself. A friend and I snag tickets to the preview party. There are 10 restaurants competing for your votes for the evening - Bangkok Balcony, Bill's Burgers, Chaz & Odette, Istanbul Sofra, Mansions on Fifth, Matteo's, Prairie, Senti, Silk Elephant, & Texas de Brazil - at the Pittsburgh Glass Center. Sidenote, Pittsburgh Glass Center is a very cool place if you're looking for something different to do. IPA-Hole blew his own glass ornament at a work event last year, and we forgot to hang it on the tree until after Christmas.
A few months ago, I followed up on my post about Verde - as they slid downhill and ended up closing their doors. Prairie is the next incarnation of Verde - same place, some of the same decor, a long list of tequila that one can only assume is left from the previous venture, and some of the exact same positive and negative we got from Verde. Dammit.
For restaurant week, the participants are running prix fixe menus at special prices to encourage you to visit them. We go for it and here are the selections:
|Campfire Mac & Cheese|
2nd course: Great Lakes Whitefish and Chicken & a Biscuit
3rd course: Prairie Cookie & Ice Cream and Bourbon Bread Pudding
|Brussels Sprouts Gratin|
Campfire Mac & Cheese starts out strong. The beer cheese, onions, and bacon make comfort food, well, comforting. Sprouts are good, ever-so-slightly undercooked, but the bacon and parm pick up the slack. We've started out on the right track. And then we ever-so-slightly go off the rails.
|Chicken & a Biscuit|
|Great Lakes Whitefish|
I need another cocktail. Order up a prairie fire and a bourbon neat.
|Bourbon Bread Pudding|
Ok, dessert, here's your chance to shine - bread pudding is my fav and I've already had that cookie so I know its fantastic. Bread pudding shows up first: sweet, savory, texture is fluffy. Here comes that cookie with ice cream; now we are back on track. Yes? No! No we are not. The cookie that shows up is not the same cookie as 2 nights before. Its cakey and fat, not chewy-gooey and flat. Which is fine as long as you didn't have the first one. Where'd that cookie go?
Prairie, I beg of you, WHERE WAS THAT COOKIE THAT I HAD THURSDAY AT THE PARTY?!?!?! How did we get mixed up from Thursday to Saturday??? The party was across the street - how did you lose it? I want to love it here, I really truly do. You'd make a kick-ass local grown, slightly sophisticated, comfort food go-to with a fab cocktail list if you'd just focus on the food. But the cookie, the cookie sealed the deal. Ugh.
So now what? Prairie, if you can hear me... embrace that comfort food and let it be comfortable. I know its only been a few weeks and I hope you can find your groove. Your cocktails are great and your potential is high. You wowed me, you did, enough to run home and make a reservation, proving that you have it in you. I know you're new and finding your identity beyond the old Verde. So go find that chicken and that cookie that you left across the street and put it on the menu!
Lemme know when you find it.