I procrastinated a bit too much on the Valentine’s Day dinner front so our options were somewhat limited. Thankfully, that’s where a relatively new restaurant comes in handy since it’s still trying to get its name out and established (not having been booked solid for weeks, even months). And that’s how we ended up dining at Prairie for Valentine’s Day Eve this year (I didn’t mind not eating out on the day since restaurants often enforce their Valentine’s Day only menu, whereas dining the day before, we still had the full array of the regular menu).
While Prairie is a new restaurant (it opened last November), it actually occupies the space that once housed Verde, a great Tex-Mex restaurant in the city’s Garfield section. Its owners decided to rebrand when it seemed that Verde had (sadly) run its course. So while the outside is still its shocking, bright green color, the inside has been made to resemble the American West.
The menu is made up entirely American comfort food, not something Pittsburgh is necessarily lacking on the restaurant front, but I did find some different inclusions such as the Kettle Corn Basket ($5) and the Skillet Corn Bread ($7-this came out in its own personal skillet and looked delicious).
To start, I ordered a personal favorite of mine, the Two Squash Soup ($8). This comprised butternut and acorn squash, sourdough croutons, crispy shallots, and olive oil. It was utterly rich and decadent and just the way I like it.
D started with the Brussels Sprouts Gratin ($8). This featured bread crumbs, bacon, and your choice of either Parmesan or vegan cauliflower cheese. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a gratin. It was good but more just a Brussels sprouts dish featuring those toppings. Personally, I also like Brussels sprouts to be cooked a bit more than they were.
None of the entrées really called out to me so I decided to go with something entirely different-the Sprouted Rice and Mushrooms ($21). I’m not the biggest mushroom fan (I prefer to eat them in moderation), but I was willing to give it a try. This dish consisted of risotto style sprouted red rice with oyster and Crimini mushrooms, Parmesan, and a pea shoot salad. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would, which is always a good thing when you branch.
D went with the Pappardelle and Sausage ($18) for his main course. This featured smoked onion, kale, fennel, apple, sage cream sauce, and your choice of house made pork or seitan sausage. D, being the carnivore that he is, went with the former, naturally.
For dessert, we both ordered selections from the special Valentine’s Day pre-fixe menu-chocolate covered strawberries for me, and pistachio cream profiteroles for D.
While I’m still sad that Verde is no more, I did enjoy my first meal at Prairie because sometimes, comfort food in a classier setting is just what you need.
5491 Penn Avenue Pittsburgh, PA. 15206