Eat At Up! Modern Kitchen

Achievement: #76. Pittsburgh Restaurant Week (Summer)

Last night, we ushered in the Summer 2013 Restaurant Week weekend with an early bird dinner at Up Modern Kitchen in Shadyside.

I’ll admit, I was apprehensive: number one, I just don’t do the Shadyside scene outside of yoga and Harris Grill. But number two, we’d heard such a mixed bag of reviews about Up since it took over the spot formerly held by Walnut Grille. However, since we always like to make our own opinions, we decided to make a reservation and check it out. What a pleasant surprise awaited us!

Summer 2013 Restaurant Week - Up! Modern Kitchen
First of all, Up is CUTE. I mean CUTE AS HELL. I’m totally into their decor.

Summer 2013 Restaurant Week - Up! Modern Kitchen
It’s a clean, classy, sleek style that makes it feel like a place you could hang out in for hours.

Summer 2013 Restaurant Week - Up! Modern Kitchen
For Restaurant Week, they were featuring a three-course menu for $30, with two options for each course, and an optional wine pairing with each course for $5 apiece.

Summer 2013 Restaurant Week - Up! Modern Kitchen
(It probably goes without saying that we got the wine pairings. Prosecco AND port? How could I refuse!)

I also had to stray from the RW menu just the slightest bit because there was… wait for it….

Summer 2013 Restaurant Week - Up! Modern Kitchen
BRAISED OCTOPUS. Ohhhhh yes. I don’t know what sort of kitchen voodoo the chefs at Up are working back there, but this was the most tender octopus I’ve ever eaten. If, like me, you can’t avoid ordering octopus after seeing it on a menu, you know that not all octopi were cooked equal. This was melt-in-your-mouth tender. It was served in a caponata sauce, which is a stew-like thing with eggplant, onions, tomatoes, spices, and seasonal vegetables. I was sold on the first bite.

Summer 2013 Restaurant Week - Up! Modern Kitchen
For the RW menu appetizer, Michael got the heirloom tomato caprese salad, with huge chunks of mozzarella and tomato and a light dressing.

Summer 2013 Restaurant Week - Up! Modern Kitchen
I got the arugula and artichoke dip with hot pita bread. I liked the swap of the traditional spinach for arugula in this dish, and it was yummy enough that we had a few bites by fork when we ran out of pita slices. Both of these appetizers were big enough that we could evenly split them and get to try both.

Summer 2013 Restaurant Week - Up! Modern Kitchen
For our entrees, Michael got fennel-dusted lamb porterhouse, which was served in the same caponata as the octopus. I can’t do the whole lamb thing, but Michael loved it.

Summer 2013 Restaurant Week - Up! Modern Kitchen
I got the grilled salmon, served over a sweet potato hash with bacon onion jam and braised cabbage. Yet again, I don’t know how the chefs were doing it, but this salmon was the perfect texture. I loved the way all the flavors worked together, and the wine pairing of the 2010 Infinitus Malbec was a great match. It’s a tough call to find a wine that pairs with both a meat and fish entree, but the Malbec was a nice, medium body that was a good accent to the flavors in both entrees.

Summer 2013 Restaurant Week - Up! Modern Kitchen
Dessert was delightful as well. Michael got the chocolate cannoli, which had so many flavors and textures packed into one little dessert that it was amazing.

Summer 2013 Restaurant Week - Up! Modern Kitchen
I opted for the Cabernet sorbet – oh yes, that’s right, WINE ICE CREAM. Who knew?? This had a healthy dose of blackberry flavors in with the wine, and paired with the Port… it was just wine-derful.

(Oh yeah. I went there.)

I’m glad we decided to check out Up, even though it meant battling Shadyside happy hour traffic. The food was really solid, our server Adam was awesome, and the price was right. I’d go back just for octopus and dessert, but they also have some truffle aioli French fries on the menu that I think I’m going to have to sample soon. Pleasant surprises are the best, especially when it comes to good dinner!


Filed under #76, #76-13, dinner, restaurant, restaurant week, shadyside, wine

3 Responses to Eat At Up! Modern Kitchen

  1. Scott Moonan

    Thank you for the wonderful review on your blog. This is the chef from Up! It is always nice to see hard work being appreciated. Thanks again and awesome bucket lists, let me know when you hit up Seattle for a day. I can point you in the direction of some great restaurants.

    • michael

      Hi Scott,
      We’re so glad that you noticed our post! Thanks for stopping by our blog; we really enjoyed dinner at Up! and we’ll definitely be spreading the word about it. (And we can’t wait to go back and try the truffle fries!)

  2. Daniel Kilkelly

    I see that Scott found review well before I did, I help out with some of the marketing for Up and when I saw some of the few photos you two took I figured I should ask if we could use a couple of them!

    If you still have those photos and would like to do that, please let me know! You can contact me at the email I’ve provided you with, or you can also email us at

    Thank you!

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