Last month I was invited to a special tasting at Pan Asian Kitchen, a new restaurant that opened in the city’s Lawrenceville neighborhood back in June. It actually is in the space formerly occupied by Tamari, in the lower end of Lawrenceville. I had never eaten at that Tamari location (just the one in the suburbs which sadly is also now closed), but I loved the space which Pan Asian Kitchen could easily adopt and make its own (plenty of pleasant looking outdoor seating as well as a rooftop balcony with a view of the city’s skyline). I haven’t really spent too much time in the lower end of the neighborhood but do like its more sedate vibe compared to how Butler Street feels on the other side of the 40th Street Bridge.
As I loved what I had tried at the tasting (the Tempura Shrimp with dynamite drizzle and eel sauce, and the shishito, wok-blistered Brussels sprouts topped with pomegranate soy sauce, were my favorites), when I saw that they offered Saturday brunch, I immediately made plans to return that Saturday, less than 48 hours later. I think this was a first for me in terms of fastest restaurant return rate.
While being there for dinner had been loud and boisterous, brunch was another story (at least at 11:30 AM on a Saturday) which I preferred as it was completely quiet and chill in contrast. As its name suggests, Pan Asian Kitchen serves Asian fare and the fact they offered Asian-inspired brunch dishes obviously intrigued me. I’ve had Italian brunch, French brunch, Mexican brunch, but never Asian. And you know what? It worked.
To start, we split an order of the edamamae ($7.50) which in my opinion is one of the best appetizers ever, since when do soy beans ever fill anyone up? They were already shucked and came doused in a truffle soy sauce which tasted just amazing.
For my entree I went with the French Toast ($10). While normally I stay away from French Toast for brunch (I find many restaurants offer way too sweet a version which equates to me feeling as if I ate dessert for breakfast), this was perfect. It was deep fried and featured tempura banana (what a surprising but delicious taste), miso caramel, yuzu-mint creme fraiche, hot honey drizzle, and sake macerated berries. While obviously it was sweet, it wasn’t sickeningly so.
D opted for the Bulgogi and Eggs with Kimchi ($14) which consisted of Korean BBQ Hanger Steak and poached eggs. He enjoyed his selection immensely and as I know the Korean people eat kimchi round the clock including the morning hour, I know his dish was true to form, at least the kimchi part.
Since I’ve now had the pleasure of dining at Pan Asian Kitchen for both dinner and brunch, I can without a doubt vouch that this is a new spot you’ll want to try if you haven’t already done so. Service was friendly and attentive, and the eclectic menu of Asian-inspired offerings perfect for any foodie. Being close and convenient to get to, I will definitely return again.
Pan Asian Kitchen
3519 Butler Street | Pittsburgh, PA | 15201
Note: I was a guest at the tasting, but as always all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.