Pittsburgh, PA is home to a restaurant that fits perfectly into the city’s renaissance transitioning from a “Steel City” towards a leading “green city”. Opened in July 2010, Spoon received national exposure when it was voted a “Top 10 New Restaurant in the US” by Gayot review. Since then, Spoon has become a favorite destination for discerning food enthusiasts that seek new and exciting dishes offered in a sustainably sourced manner.
Located in the bustling east end of Pittsburgh, Spoon offers “fresh, local, modern, American cuisine” in a casual, upscale setting. Upon entering the restaurant, you’ll notice a feeling of warmth which is conveyed by candlelit tables and walls which are painted in earth tones with dark supple leather chairs in the waiting area. You may choose to dine in Spoon’s outside patio which is adorned with more candles and greenery. The space inside is shared by a beautiful bar which offers a relaxing opportunity to meet friends for a specialty cocktail or sample one of Spoon’s award winning, artisan wines. Wine Spectator selected Spoon for their Award of Excellence in 2011.
As inviting as the interior may be, the main draw of Spoon is the small menu which changes daily. This enables even the regular diner to Spoon to experience a different culinary delight with each visit. According to General Manager, Sean Enright, Spoon’s loyal following is “familiar and know that they’re getting the best quality products”. The best quality is achieved through Spoon’s relationships with a dozen local farms and purveyors, including the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and Wild Purveyors. While their locally sourced policy results in the restaurant incurring some additional costs, Spoon accepts this and continues to offer their entrees at reasonable prices.
Spoon’s chef and proprietor, Brian Pekarcik, says that he was brought up, and adopted his style, from his training at top restaurants in California. Working with many leading chefs, such as Bradley Ogden, Pekarcik helped to bring the “farm to table movement” to the forefront of the culinary world. Brian wanted to carry on this tradition and offer the same unique dining experience to his customers at Spoon. Pekarcik says, “Western Pennsylvania in season can rival the best produce in the country”. He adds that “dining trends have changed with the recession. Attitudes now favor casual, more affordable dining which is challenging the chefs to be more creative”. Pekarcik’s inventiveness in creating what he’s dubbed “honest food” has been honored recently by Pittsburgh Magazine which named him their 2012 Chef of the Year.
Spoon operates in an eco-friendly manner beyond their philosophy of using local farmers and purveyors, which reduces travel and keeps their carbon footprint low. The restaurant continues to recycle all of their cooking oil and grease as well as all of their paper products. Their “to go” containers are biodegradable and they utilize vegetables and spices that are grown in their roof top herb garden. According to Enright, “basil, mint, and tomatoes are being grown at present” and serve both Spoon and their sister restaurant, BRGR.
Some dishes of note that are offered at Spoon include their Wild Pacific Halibut, which is paired with “crab cake” stuffed shrimp, and their Day Boat Scallops. A favorite of their after dinner menu is a strawberry dessert comprised of rhubarb compote, whipped cheesecake and a pretzel-graham streusel. Pekarcik was also lauded recently by New York Magazine when his Spoon Bar dessert was included in their list of “crazy-awesome new desserts”. The Spoon Bar consists of a Bailey’s Irish Cream coco bar, milk chocolate nougat frozen mousse, and semi-sweet chocolate pudding. Delicious!
Spoon proves that a restaurant can be successful by offering the freshest ingredients in a unique, sustainable way. If you live in the Pittsburgh area or find yourself travelling through, you’re invited to visit Spoon. It is a perfect combination of dining sophistication with the feeling of a neighborhood restaurant.
By: Brian J. Mellett