Saturday, December 11, 2021

Pittsburgh Magazine reviews Squirrel Hill's Yue Bai Wei.

by Laura Petrilla for Pittsburgh Magazine.

Pittsburgh Magazine's Hal B. Klein has a review of Yue Bai Wei, which opened in June.
Smashed eggplant with hot pepper was the first dish I ordered at Yue Bai Wei. On a warm night in June, my pal Keith and I used a miniature pestle to pummel neat stacks of airy, pillowy slabs of eggplant dressed with sesame oil and piled high with fermented hot peppers and chopped scallions. As we tore our way through the intoxicating dish, I had flashbacks.

Everything came full circle when I learned that Yue Bai Wei’s executive chef and co-owner is Zhiyuan Tang. He is the same person who brought Sichuan Gourmet to prominence when he took over as executive chef of that Squirrel Hill restaurant in late 2017. I recall popping in for a snack one day in 2019, and the same dish was so unexpectedly tasty it prompted me to consider reviewing the restaurant. After a broader examination of the menu, I did, praising Tang for the way he improved the decade-old restaurant’s offerings.

Tang excelled in that kitchen but felt too constrained by long-standing customer expectations for a more generalized Chinese and Chinese-American restaurant to fully express his culinary chops, which are among the finest in Pittsburgh. That’s why he, his sister Li Tang and Alice Fu decided to break away from Sichuan Gourmet and open their establishment — Yue Bai Wei, which is located in the former Rose Tea Cafe space on Forbes Avenue.
See also his June write-up shortly after the restaurant rather suddenly opened.