Each year, one of our favorite recurring Achievements is to explore new restaurants on the scene here in Pittsburgh. This year, in an attempt to not go overboard in our food pursuits, we’re bringing you three choice selections from new restaurants who have opened in the past 15 or so months.
Our first installment brought us to a wonderful spot just a neighborhood away from us, where mac n cheese is a gourmet delight and you’ll never leave hungry: Ease Modern Comfort Cuisine in Regent Square.
The truth comes out: the real reason we started here had little to do with the amazing food we were going to enjoy and LOTS to do with a familiar face. Our beloved Rachael, bartender and server extraordinaire of the now-defunct Verde in Garfield, is now stationed at Ease many nights a week! We knew any place Rachael was working HAD to have a good menu (both of the solid and liquid varieties), so we were in.
We ordered our wine – happy hour from 4-6 – and put in some appetizers. While we went through the arduous process of trying to narrow down entrees, Rachael brought us out a basket of Ease’s warm biscuits. They’re served with a delightful house-made citrus butter, and we instantly understood the meaning of ‘modern comfort cuisine.’
It wasn’t long before our appetizers arrived. As I mentioned above, Ease has an extensive mac n cheese menu. We opted to try their signature mac n cheese, with smoked cheddar, pepper jack, fontina, and Havarti cheeses on cavatappi pasta and dusted with a parmesan crust as one of our starters. Even the appetizer portion was gigantic (and, the truth must come out, leftovers were consumed in a midnight snack style and they were STILL amazing). Creamy and dreamy, with just the little extra crunch from the parmesan.
But since we’re indecisive foodies with big appetites, one appetizer was not enough. For our second app, we got the braised beef tacos: braised short ribs topped with avocado, red cabbage, pico de gallo, monterey jack cheese, and fresh cilantro, served on a corn tortilla and drizzled with a heavenly chipotle crema. These were so. freaking. good. A little messy, sure, but worth every embarrassing moment to eat them.
We both really struggled to narrow down the entree selections, but in the end, I can’t let a good pork chop go uneaten. This pork chop was simple, hearty, and a real treat. It was served over smashy potatoes and under a wild mushroom marsala sauce. Again, more than enough for leftovers or to share with that special pork-chop-lovin’ someone in your life.
Husband went *full* comfort food style and ordered the meatloaf. But this is not your mama’s meatloaf (sorry, Mum!). This loaf has three meats (buffalo, veal, and pork), and it’s stuffed with smoked cheddar cheese and fresh herbs and topped with an orange chipotle glaze. On the top you can see the spicy frizzled onions & wild mushrooms, and the loaf is served atop garlic whipped mashed potatoes and roasted veggies. HOT DAMN. Even this non-meatloaf-er was in love. (Full disclosure: there were *not* any leftovers of this portion of the dinner, but for those with more willpower, there *could* be.)
We have a feeling that once the weather warms up and we can just walk or bike the short couple of miles, we’re going to be regular fixtures at Ease. They have specials running all week: half-price wine on Wednesdays, ‘Burger & Bourbon’ Tuesdays (Bourbon shots and the base of your burger start at $5), live music, and great happy hour specials. We highly recommend getting a reservation – as you can see from the above photo, the dining room fills up FAST on weekend nights. But be sure to make Ease Modern Comfort Cuisine part of your lunch or dinner plans; we think you’ll be really happy you did.