Thursday, May 17, 2018

Chengdu Gourmet, Taiwanese Bistro Cafe 33, Umami among Pittsburgh Magazine's Best Restaurants 2018.


Umami, by Hal Klein.

Three newish Asian restaurants, two that opened in 2016 and one in 2014, were named to Pittsburgh Magazine's annual list of Best Restaurants. Squirrel Hill's Chengdu Gourmet once again made the list and was the only Chinese place mentioned.
[Chef/owner Wei] Zhu’s Sichuan cuisine is lauded as some of the best in the United States, which is all the more reason you should stick to dishes from that region, rather than the Americanized offerings, when ordering a meal at Chengdu Gourmet. Get dishes such as Chongqing beef hot pot (a spicy stew swimming with beef, vegetables, tofu, noodles and mushrooms), emerald fish, shredded potatoes with vinegar and napa with ginkgo and tofu, a cooling dish that will balance the fiery ma-la spice that’s a signature of Sichuan cuisine.
Chengdu Gourmet opened in 2014 and is located at 5840 Forward Ave. (map).

Taiwanese Bistro Cafe 33, which opened in 2016, made the list for the first time.
Executive Chef/Co-Owner Asan Tao forgoes generic “Chinese food” in favor of a menu of Taiwanese specialties such as cold jellyfish, three-cup chicken and pork with mustard greens soup. Certain dishes, such as pork-blood “tofu” with garlic-chive soup, intestines in garlic sauce and book-tripe with vegetables, might be unfamiliar to Western palettes but absolutely are worth ordering.
Taiwanese Bistro Cafe 33 is located at 1711 Shady Ave. (map) in Squirrel Hill.

Umami is an izakaya (Japanese pub) in Lawrenceville that has been open for two years.
One of the reasons we love Umami, a third-floor izakaya from Roger Li (Ki Ramen, Ki Pollo) and Derek Brunell (Round Corner Cantina) is that the establishment serves crushable Japanese pub food such as chawanmushi, karaage and okonomiyaki until midnight during the week and 2 a.m. on weekends. Li and his team also serve some of the best sushi in Pittsburgh — pay particular attention to the daily specials.
Umami is located at 202 38th St. (map). Other Asian places to round out the list of 40 are Noodlehead in East Liberty and Umi in Shadyside.