Restaurant Review: Bistro 9101 (Pittsburgh)
Since I’ve lived in this general area, the space at 9101 Perry Highway has been three different restaurants (and according to D, it had been other restaurants before those three!). Is the building “cursed” or is it just an instance where owning a successful restaurant is a tough business and sadly, not everyone succeeds at it. Earlier this year, Bistro 9101 opened although unlike its predecessors, it has a veteran chef attached to it.
Chef Sean Minahan has been in the food business for over 30 years spanning everywhere from right here in Pittsburgh where his career began to owning two restaurants in Walt Disney World to Atlanta and Charlotte. I’ve found that non-chain restaurants in the suburbs are sometimes “uninspiring,” gravitating more towards the bar food scene. It’s nice to know that someone with the vast culinary experience as Chef Sean is right in my area.
We decided to dine there one Friday evening. The dining room itself was somewhat empty but they do have a rooftop deck and that night it was clear (a rarity in Pittsburgh) so more patrons seemed to be opting for that. After having our drink orders taken, we were given a freshly roasted bulb of garlic and a toasted baguette. Our waitress was kind enough to explain how to get the garlic cloves to “pop” out so that it could then be spread on the warm baguette. I thought this was a nice touch since how many times are you just given the same boring “here’s your butter” (they have that too just in case garlic is not your thing).
To start I ordered a bowl of the French Onion Soup ($7). I’m not someone who could eat French Onion Soup all the time but on occasion I enjoy it and this was no exception. D is someone who could eat it ’round the clock and felt that it was one of the best French onion soups he had ever tasted.
For my entree I went with something you rarely see at places in the suburbs (save for a fine dining establishment)-duck! Here at Bistro 9101 it was Donald’s Duck to be exact ($22), a seared breast that came with rice and a vegetable medley. The vegetables had a spicy kick to them, having been seasoned with some spice (cumin perhaps?). While I would have preferred them to have been plain (I don’t need a lot of pop and circumstance if you will for vegetables), the duck was excellent and a real treat to eat.
D selected the Steak and Frites ($28) for his main course. It was a New York strip steak that was served with parmesan black peppercorn garlic frites and chipotle chive citrus butter. D said the steak was delicious and I can definitely vouch that the frites were tasty as well.
We ordered the chocolate vanilla bread pudding (to go) for dessert. We had it the next day and it hit the sweet spot for sure. It was also the perfect size portion complete with a lovely drawn berry coulis.
For a restaurant smack dab in suburbia, Bistro 9101’s menu was varied and eclectic (pig wings with chimichurri sauce and avocado salsa cream along with Stout Lamb Stew for starters) and this to me is a wonderful thing. I only hope that people in the area will appreciate this unique spot that is right in their backyards. Food was good and service was efficient and prompt, so definitely be sure to stop by Bistro 9101 sometime.
9101 Perry Highway, Pittsburgh, PA 15237