Willow is a fantastic venue just north of the city that I love and have eaten at a couple of times previously. It’s located in a scenic wooded area and offers more upscale Continental fare, which is what the suburbs need more of. When perusing the winter’s restaurant week menus, I thought that theirs sounded terrific and just like the menu at La Palapa, was quite the steal.
I made plans to meet a friend (Laura over at Eclectic Travel Girl) for dinner one weeknight. She had never been and it was a couple of years since I had last dined there so it seemed like a great time to head back, especially with it being restaurant week. We had reservations for 5 PM (we were both coming right from work) so the place was somewhat dead, which was fine with me. (As the evening went on, it became a lot busier and noisier.) Willow has three seating areas (two downstairs, one upstairs) and I’ve now sat in all three. This time around, we got a table right by the fire, which was nice. The whole ambiance looks straight out of some rustic lodge out West that has a bit of luxury to it.
The restaurant week deal was a three-course meal for $35.15. You got your choice of starter, entree, and dessert. But for libations, I ordered an Old Cuban ($9) that was rum, champagne, mint, sugar, and bitters. Laura opted for the Moscow Mule ($10)-these are all the rage and I still have not ever tried one.
For my starter course, I went with the Duck Confit which was possibly my favorite dish. It consisted of lentils, bacon, frisse, cipollini, merlot, and carrot. I adore lentils but especially when it’s cold outside. It was such a generous portion that I would have been perfectly fine with just this as my meal.
For my entree I opted for Eichner’s Farm Chicken which featured fingerling potatoes (I savor these), charred rosemary heirloom carrots, along with thyme and chestnut. One can never go wrong with chicken but from being full from my duck confit course and there being such a large amount, I boxed most of this up to go home. (Laura got the Scottish Salmon which she liked and which is also on their regular menu, along with the chicken.)
And for my dessert, while the Chocolate Sphere sounded decadent-(peanut butter, chocolate mousse, and coffee caramel-need I say more?), I was more intrigued by the Banana’s Foster Crepe and this did not disappoint. The crepe was stuffed with a light chocolate mousse.
While the regular menu seems to have changed a bit since I was last there (they do more small plates now), Willow is still a spot I would strongly recommend. It’s a great restaurant to have nearby when you’re in the ‘burbs, and even if you’re in other parts of the city, its proximity to the highway (only five minutes), makes it quite easy to get to. Willow will always be a beloved destination.
634 Camp Horne Road | Pittsburgh, PA | 15237