Pittsburgh Restaurant Scene
Well, here we are at the end of another year. First, allow us to take this time to thank everyone who has read and shared our page, your support means the world to us and we wouldn’t be here without you! This blog will mark our 1-year anniversary; time sure does fly when you are having fun. We have dined at some amazing restaurants and have met some even more amazing people. We have learned what we like and don’t like about blogging. For 2014 we will strive to continue our positive outlooks on all the places we visit (a negative review may be fun to read, but it is not fun to write). It’s amazing to think of how many outstanding establishments we still have yet to review.
We were torn on what restaurant we wanted to dine at; not only is it New Year’s Eve, it is also our 1-year blog-versary (Yeah, it’s a made up word, what of it?). Should we return to the beginning (Cure), or do we go new? We decided to swing for the fences and made our NYE reservation at Notion (now located in East Liberty). Having dined at its former location in Oakmont we knew what kind of food and service to expect-EXCELLENT, what we were interested in seeing, the new digs. Its location is great, right next door to The Livermore, and right around the corner from Spoon/BRGR. Parking is ok, be ready to parallel and feed the meter. I love how bare the design is in the space; tables, chairs, and a long glass art piece hanging from the ceiling. The focus should be on the food not the décor.
Dave Racicot made his name cooking at the nationally recognized Lautrec at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. He was doing what Salt of the Earth is doing now for years, he just never got as much publicity as Sousa does. The plates sent out from the kitchen are simply edible works of art. The attention to detail is incredible and for how technical the plates look all the flavors are clean and easily identified. I wouldn’t call the cuisine “molecular gastronomy” but he does use plenty of foams/bubbles and spherification, also employing some sous vide cooking.
Now normally Notion is BYOB but for New Year’s they were doing complimentary wine pairing if you chose the 6-course tasting menu (also champagne poured all night). All tables received an amuse-bouche from the kitchen. Tonight’s amuse was a pineapple soup garnished with steelhead roe, ponzu flowers, and meyer lemon foam. It was bright and fresh, a big sweet punch from the soup and foam with the salty taste of roe and the herbal background from the flower. It was a simple yet stunning start to the night’s meal.
After the amuse-bouche we were served the tartare, a standard for any Notion menu; he garnishes his with habanero jelly, fermented black garlic, kiwi, peanuts, sesame seeds and discs of iceberg lettuce. We love tartare and Racicot’s is one of the best versions.
For the next 2 courses they served a white burgundy wine, very nice. The Potato Soup (which may have been our favorite dish of the night). They plate baked potatoes with fresh dill, grated white chocolate, dried pumpernickel crumbs and a homemade buttermilk cream, then the waiter pours an intense potato puree over top. I could have easily eaten a gallon of this, you would think the chocolate seems out of place but it blended in so nicely!
Next up were scallops with fresh black truffles and meat broth; this dish had a very intense flavor. The scallops were perfect and black truffles are always delicious when handled properly.
The next 2 courses were served with a medium bodied Pinot Noir. The Pork loin was almost as outstanding as the potato course; perfectly cooked pork loin topped with little neck clams, shellfish sauce and micro greens. Mmm Mmm Good!
The next course was good but odd for the last savory course, roasted beets with a sous vide egg yolk, manchego cheese crisps and manchego cheese sauce. We did love the cheese crisps and sauce, but roasted beets will always be just roasted beets.
For the final course they served an amazing late-harvest Sauvignon Blanc, which was one of the best wines I have had. For the dessert course we were served the apples with cake, crispy oats and maple foam. The wine was perfect with the dessert, not overly sweet but definitely a proper ending. With the check they also served 2 small chocolate truffles that were to die for! We were tempted to ask for some more.
This restaurant is outstanding, the food is incredible, and the service is attentive and friendly. The fact that this place is BYOB is amazing, be sure to bring a few of your favorite bottles. As of now reservations are relatively easy to get, this place should be booked solid for weeks on end! Dave really knows what he is doing in the kitchen and you can tell with each plate he sends out. If you are looking for a new restaurant for a romantic date night, anniversary dinner, or even just feel like going all out for dinner this is your spot. We hope Notion will be in East Liberty for years to come.
We would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2014. We hope you will continue to read our blog and share it will all your friends (also be sure to check out and like our Facebook page). Cheers!
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128 South Highland Ave
Pgh, PA 15206
Hours: Sun-Mon: Closed