Sunday, August 30, 2009

Restaurant review: Pangea

I had a friend visiting from exeter this weekend, and I wanted to feed her up right, laz gastro style. We hit Pangea, a tapas restaurant off Shadyside's trendy walnut street. Pangea is on the basement level of a larger building, but the basement ambience really works. It's nice and dim and quiet and clean in there-- think hardwood floors and thick rugs and your waiter lighting the candle at your table when you come in.

We had 4 cocktails between us: a bloody mary, a grapefruit juice and vodka, a gin, lime juice, and cucumber number, and a strawberry puree with club soda and vodka. The bloody mary wasn't on the cocktail menu, so it was the weakest, but the other three were all great tasting and still had enough alcohol in them to get us bombed before we left. My friend was still raving about her strawberry puree drink the next day.

The tapas we ordered, listed from my most favorite to least favorite, were: Brie and mushroom tart with strawberry compote, heirloom tomato salad w/ buffalo mozzarella and balsamic vinegar, fish cake tapas flight, micro green salad, hummus tapas flight, crostini tapas flight. That list is probably actually really unfair because everything I ordered is upfront and everything my friend ordered is last, which just reflects the fact that I ordered dishes I like and she ordered dishes she likes. The hummus tapas flight had a gorgonzola and chive hummus, an artichoke and feta hummus, and a jalapeno and sweet red pepper hummus. I thought I would like the gorgonzola the best, since it combined gorgonzola and hummus, two of my favorite items in the known universe, but actually my friend and I agreed that the jalepeno was the best.

My fish cake flight had a lobster cake, a lump crab cake, and a salmon cake. The lobster cake was definitely the star-- it was bedded on pineapple and super moist. One of the crostini's in the crostini flight was actually topped with the same lobster cake, so I think they are aware of how awesome it is. The other two crostini's were a filet mignon w/ asiago cheese and a buffalo mozzarella w/ balsamic. I had one bite of the filet and it melted right down my throat. The brie and mushroom tart was really exquisite, I have to single it out. It was so good I don't think I ever want to order it there again just in case it can't live up on a second occasion.

All in all, each aspect of the meal was so note perfect-- ambience, service, alcohol, and food-- that it became more than just sitting down and eating and was instead a collective experience that brought out the laz benevolence in full force. Highly recommended, and I imagine I'll be taking future Pittsburgh guests there again.

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