I find Chinese restaurants in Pittsburgh to be a dime a dozen, perhaps attributable to the fact that Pittsburgh doesn’t have a Chinatown as many other American cities do. Therefore, its Chinese restaurants are sparser and more apt to serve ubiquitous Chinese-American fare. However, the Thai restaurants here are of a different beast and I’ve made it my unofficial mission to try as many of them as I can. That and I genuinely love Thai food.
For ages I had wanted to eat at Pusadee’s Garden. The thing about Pusadee’s that sets it apart from other Thai restaurants is, as its name suggests, its garden. With Pittsburgh not having year-round beautiful and warm weather, time is more limited in terms of when one can actually sit outside and enjoy dining in said beautiful garden. Earlier this summer I finally made it there for lunch one Saturday. (I should mention that the inside of Pusadee’s isn’t bad, it’s just on the plainer side and could be any restaurant. I’ve found other Thai restaurants in the area to have more character in terms of look and décor.)
Pusadee’s is located in the city’s Upper Lawrenceville neighborhood, quite a ways from the chaos and frenetic nature that grace Butler Street right in the 40th Street Bridge area. Given that, once you enter the garden you think you’re in a different world altogether. It is beautiful and filled with just about every sort of plant, flower, and soothing sound-maker possible.
To start, we both went with the one drink we’re addicted to, Thai ice tea ($2.50). I seriously cannot get enough of this stuff, although I guess anything that contains evaporated milk has that effect.
We ended up splitting two appetizers. The Curry Puffs ($5.50) feature kabocha squash, Asian sweet potatoes, and vegetables in a pastry shell. I’ve had variations of this at other Thai restaurants and I definitely like the ones at Pusadee’s the most. I think it helped that they resembled an empanada.
The second appetizer we split was the tom ka soup which is a coconut milk-based broth and comes with your choice of vegetables ($4), chicken, or shrimp (each $5).
I guess you could say I’m somewhat boring when it comes to ordering at Thai restaurants, but I stuck with my new favorite, the Pad See Yew (with veggies or tofu $12, chicken or beef $13, or shrimp $14). This consists of large soft flat noodles, egg, broccoli, and sweet black soy sauce. I was slightly disappointed by the taste. Although I had said no spice (I can’t do heat), it just was lacking in flavor although it could have also been that it wasn’t heavily doused in soy sauce like I’m used to.
D ordered the Pad Thai (same pricing as the pad see yew) for his entree. This is Thailand’s most famous dish and consists of rice noodles, ground peanuts, eggs, chives, and bean sprouts. He very much enjoyed it.
Even though it was a blazing hot day in Pittsburgh when we dined there, the garden made you easily forget the heat. Dining at Pusadee’s Garden was a treat and the food equally lovely.
NOTE: It’s BYOB
5321 Butler St, Pittsburgh, PA 15201