I can thank Twitter for helping me to discover the restaurant Evolution Grille. Earlier this year I posted a link to a review I had done of Verde, another Pittsburgh area restaurant, on my Twitter page when out came Evolution Grille, tweeting away, asking when I would be dining there. As I had never heard of the restaurant before, I checked it and was immediately intrigued since the menu featured some delicious sounding entrees. Evolution Grille bills itself as a “seasonal restaurant that showcases progressive American cuisine.” While we didn’t rush out immediately to eat there, it’s not because we didn’t want to; it was more due to the fact that it’s somewhat of a drive, 40 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh on a good traffic day. However, when debating what we should do over the weekend I said to D, “I think it’s time we finally eat there” and he concurred.
The restaurant stays open from lunch through dinner Monday to Saturday; on Sundays its hours are slightly reduced (3-8 PM). We arrived shortly after five o’clock and at that time, there was only one other family dining. While the restaurant itself is somewhat small (it’s located in a shopping plaza), it led to the feeling that you were eating at a family run restaurant, which it is, the first restaurant of husband and wife team, Michael and Courtney Barbiaux. Service was friendly and attentive throughout the entire meal, not just by our waitress but also by other staff asking us if we needed more water or would like more bread.
We started off by ordering the pear flat bread ($7.50, $3 more if you want chicken added). I’ve really grown to enjoy dishes that feature fruit in some manner and the pear flat bread was no exception. Topped with golden pears, prosciutto, sauteed onions, and brie, it was fabulous for a first dish, as it wasn’t too filling and left plenty of room for future courses. Other appetizer selections include crab meat bruschetta ($13); cranberry pin wheels, a roll of feta cream cheese and cranberries that is battered and lightly fried and topped with a drizzle of mixed berries and honey ($8); and black and blue shrimp and scallops, two of each, blackened on a cast iron skillet and served with mixed greens, celery, and creamy blue cheese ($12.50). There is also a variety of salad and soup options including the house seafood bisque (cup $3.25, bowl $4).
The main course selection is quite extensive featuring an array of entrees and sandwiches. All entrees come with a starch and vegetable while pasta dishes come with your choice of either soup or salad. Sandwiches are accompanied with either french fries, vegetable, potato, or the restaurant’s signature root fries. Some of the entree selections include spanakopita ( vegetarian option for $17), stuffed veal Parmesan ($19) and beef stroganov ($18). For sandwiches there are a panko chicken sandwich ($7.50), the shroom (a portabello marinated and topped with blue cheese and red peppers in your choice of either a wrap or a kaiser roll for $7.50), and a Reuben wrap ($7.95).
I decided to go with the almond garlic orchetta-roasted red peppers and peas in an almond pesto garlic sauce with orchetta ($14). For $3 I added the chicken, which provided a nice taste contrast to the vegetables. Although I was slightly apprehensive over the garlic sauce due to potential heartburn issues, I was perfectly fine later on, so my compliments to the chef for delivering a dish that was definitely garlic oriented, but not overly so. The portion was extremely generous and even with eating my fill for the evening, I still had enough for a decent sized portion to take home.
D went with the evolved chicken Marsala ($14.50 although for $3 more you can substitute veal. The chicken was sauteed with onion, mushrooms, garlic, and prosciutto and topped with Marsala pan sauce and melted mozzarella cheese. His starch was mashed potatoes and his vegetables were broccoli and carrots. He said it was quite good.
The best part might have been the dessert, a plantain concoction topped with vanilla ice cream. If you’ve ever eaten a plantain you know that they’re one of the most versatile vegetables ever including having the ability to be made into a sweet dish. The plantains were coated in graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar. Although I usually just fry up plantains to accompany dinner, I definitely need to look into replicating this dish.
All in all, Evolution offered a fantastic dining experience and both D and I look forward to returning again.
Note: Evolution Grille is BYOB, so be sure to come with your favorite beer and or wines!