Chinese restaurants give you fortune cookies and at Pittsburgh’s Ten Penny, you get a chocolate ten penny with your check. A place that puts such stock into “creative ingenuity” for its customers is one that will have my patronage. But first a little background and more importantly, about the food.
Ten Penny is one of Pittsburgh’s newest restaurants in the Cultural District. It’s located in a building that some years ago used to be a daycare facility. So yes, while once there were adorable little faces to gaze at while walking by (the blinds would always be open), today there are more grownup faces to look at while doing so.
The restaurant is massive-along with its expansive bar area, there is a plethora of tables. I think one of the things I enjoyed most about my visit there was the interior look-whitewashed brick, wrought iron, wood (Acacia according to the website)-it was a simply striking setting. There was nothing formal or stuffy about it and yet it was sharp and modern.
We dined there for brunch one Saturday since you know by now, I immediately fall in love with any restaurant that offers Saturday brunch (brunch should be for the entire weekend, not one measly day). Our reservation was at 11:30 and the entire time there it was pretty empty. Some of the tables were occupied but nothing in large numbers. I know that they offer happy hour specials Monday thru Friday as well as a late night happy hour Wednesday-Saturday, so I can only imagine how busy it probably is then due to its location among theaters and other entertainment venues. That and at 11:30 on a Saturday, some people were probably still in bed.
The brunch menu is one where average dishes are taken on a unique “ride.” Case in point-PB & J Stuft Biscuit with marshmallow fluff (I have always hated peanut butter and jelly so no, I did not order this).
I started off with an order of the Brown Sugar Grits which came with fresh fruit and lavender syrup ($8). I’m the farthest thing from southern ancestry but boy, were these good. The lavender really made the dish.
D opted for a cup of the Smoked Tomato Bisque that was topped with smoked creme fraiche ($5). I thoroughly enjoyed the couple of spoonfuls I had and more importantly, don’t know how I can ever return to eating tomato soup from a can again.
For my entree I selected the Eggs Benedict ($12) which was your standard recipe although for an additional charge you could upgrade to ones featuring either smoked salmon or crab cake. This is a dish I always adore, especially since I don’t have the patience to poach eggs myself or mess with making hollandaise sauce.
D took the cake (literally in a sense) for most unbelievable breakfast dessert entree-Carrot Cake Pancakes featuring maple cream cheese drizzle and topped with rum-roasted pineapple syrup ($12). While he liked his dish a lot, it did put him into somewhat of a food coma later on. The few bites I had, yes, it was as if you were eating carrot cake, this being further enhanced by the maple cream cheese “frosting.”
Service was terrific and attentive the entire meal, along with the innovative and tasty dishes. I hope Ten Penny does well and look forward to trying it out for dinner in the near future.