Pittsburghese is a dialect of American English spoken by some people in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas in Western Pennsylvania who are commonly referred to as “yinzers” (second person plural personal pronoun). It’s a terrible butchering of the English language and while thankfully I personally don’t know anyone who speaks “Pittsburghese” I have heard it on occasion. (I’ve been told I have my own accent compliments of my home city of Philadelphia.) While the words that comprise Pittsburghese are numerous, one of them is dahntahn which is “downtown” in grammatically correct sounding English. So when I heard about a new restaurant that had opened in Pittsburgh called Taste of Dahntan, I was leery of it to say the least.
D had expressed interest in dining there so when I saw a Groupon advertised for it, I purchased one (dining half off is fabulous no matter the atrocious sounding name). With evening plans that included a concert at the symphony, I made reservations. The restaurant is located on Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh’s downtown and is notably eye catching from the outside, featuring a bright and color frenzied marquee bearing its name, reminiscent of old style movie theaters. I was greatly impressed with the look of the restaurant’s interior. Next to the row of booths along the one wall was a canvas style photograph of the Pittsburgh skyline. The tables were covered with historic photographs of Pittsburgh, looking to be from around the turn of the 20th century. There was nothing understated or subdued about the restaurant’s interior and yet for one whose name is so unforgettable, it seemed fitting that there should be so much “activity” in terms of decor. Keeping with the overall theme of the restaurant, the was “star quality” upon being placed on the table it lit up.
While a lot of the appetizers seemed inviting (filet tips gratin, Three Rivers crab cake, crab and shrimp fondue), we both settled on soups. I ordered the Traditional Chicken Noodle Soup ($5) and D went with the Soup du Jour ($5) which was Marsala Chicken. While chicken noodle soup is pretty standard in terms of taste, the broth was extremely aromatic and definitely didn’t taste like it came from the inside of can. D, who adores chicken marsala, loved his soup selection and said it was unreal how much it tasted just like the actual dish. (I concurred with his opinion for the spoonful I tried.)
I had a somewhat difficult time deciding on an entree, greatly enticed by such selections as the Berkshire Pork Tenderloin (apple/golden raisin compote, whipped sweet potatoes and grilled asparagus) and the London Broil Meatloaf (fresh ground flank steak, house made spice, broccolini, truffle whipped Yukon gold potatoes.) Eventually I settled on a pasta dish-Deconstructed Lasagna Bolognese ($20). It consisted of house recipe Bolognese sauce, fresh pasta, mozzarella, basil, and tomato reduction (or tuymaytah in Pittsburghese). It was deconstructed because literally it was lasagna that was all apart. The Bolognese sauce, while rich, was still very good.
For his entree D also went with a pasta dish, Sweet Sausage and Fresh Linguine ($17) which had wild mushrooms, pancetta, chopped scallions and asiago peppered cream. His portion was extremely large and delicious.
Normally we split a dessert but we each went with our own as we couldn’t settle. Although unfortunately two of the desserts German Chocolate Terrine and Chocolate Resurrection were “out” (we didn’t quite understand this since we were the first diners), we were still happy with what we got. I went with the Meyers Lemon Souffle Cake ($7) which featured an angel food cake top and a lemon pudding bottom topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and strawberries. It was blissfully to die for and provided just the right amount of after dinner sweetness. D ordered the Cinnamon Spice ‘N’ Everything Nice-donut pastry holes with a cinnamon glaze for $4.
Taste of Dahntahn was a great dining experience and I look forward to dining there again in the near future.
Taste of Dahntahn
535 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA. 15222