Pittsburgh Restaurant Scene
Charcuterie- the art of making sausages and other cured, smoked and preserved meats. In addition to sausages, classic charcuterie items include pâtés, terrines, confit, galantines, ballotines and crepinettes.
The art (yes, it is 100% an art form) of Charcuterie dates back to the days when there was no refrigeration. It started as a means to preserve meats. A few years back it was dying preparation; chef’s didn’t want to dedicate time to such a tedious and time consuming form of cooking. Nowadays, people are lining up for the classic preparations. Confits, forcemeats, salumi, and pates have never been more popular than they are now. Chefs are making the classics and improvising with new forms and flavors. You can make a meal out of a good Charcuterie board with some cheese and good crusty bread, add a great glass of wine and you couldn’t ask for anything more.
Crested Duck Charcuterie has been around for a few years now, starting out in Pittsburgh Public Market. In 2011 they opened a permanent business in the heart of Beechview (it was my first time there, we almost got hit by the T, being from the North Hills, I was unaware it still existed). Although the location isn’t my favorite it was very clean and quaint on the inside; plus when they start bringing the food out you forget where you are anyways. I would like to state, (in my own opinion of course) that the days of gigantic restaurants are dead. Chefs are opting for smaller spaces for a more intimate experience with diners. The same way menus are getting smaller, so too are the dining rooms. This place seats 18! I love it! Kevin Costa is the brain behind this business, and his passion for charcuterie really shines through. These styles and preparations date back to the 15th century and what was once eaten as a necessity is now being eaten because it is so delicious!
On tonight’s dinner adventure we will be joined by our BFF’s, Best Food Friends- yeah we know it’s cheesy, Joe and Natalie. The way we order food together is starting to get attention from kitchen staffs; we are a party of 4 that orders and eats like a party of 8. When we make reservations we may need to start warning the place that they need to order in some more food and add an extra cook for the night we come in. Tonight is going to be no different; we actually ended up ordering 2 of the dishes twice! In our defense, both of the plates were outstanding and the menu is set up tapas style, so they are on the small side and meant to be shared. After our meal I think there were only 4 items on the whole menu that we did not order. YIKES. Another dangerous thing for our group, this restaurant is BYOB, we had 5 bottles of wine that were easily polished off and there was talk of getting out another bottle or 2.
If you are dining here there are a few things that you MUST ORDER! The first is the large Charcuterie Plate, featuring 8 house made meats. Simply sublime, there is something so simple and elegant in a plate like this. Next is the Pate Plate, 3 different types of Pate (tonight’s selection included Lamb, Sweetbreads and Elk). I think we would have been ok ordering a plate for each of us. It was tough to only have a bite of each. The great thing about the Charcuterie and Pate Plates are that they change weekly, so you can always get something new and different. Next are the Cheese and Pickle Plates, small but delicious selections of varying cheese and some mixed pickled veggies.
Now those plates were a great start, but we are only getting warmed up, there is a lot of meal left to go. Next up we ordered all of the Hot Plates but 1. The server’s eyes got wide when we didn’t stop ordering. All of these were outstanding, however, the Duck Liver Mousse and the Duck Crepes were so good that we ordered them twice. We had Meatballs, Chicken Roulade, Provencal Tart, Pork Belly (the only “weak” dish of the bunch, oddly enough), and the Bistro Steak. We weren’t sure if the table could hold all of the plates.
The server almost seemed scared to ask us what we wanted to order for dessert. The dessert order was rather simple, “One of each please.” All 3 desserts were great; the standout however was the Coffee Poached Pear with pistachio ice cream and coffee reduction. (In our haste, we neglected to take a photo). I was surprised we didn’t order another one. Although I don’t think there was any room left in any of our stomachs. This meal was great from beginning to end. It is going to become harder for us to top these meals as the 4 of dine out more.
I apologize for not going into great detail about each plate, there were just so many of them! Please check out the Crested Duck’s website for the menu. I would also like to apologize for lack of pictures of the dining room, with how small it is and with all the tables full it was impossible to get a good picture. We encourage you to make a reservation, grab a bottle (or more) of your favorite wine and get your butts to Beechview. Wow, never thought I would say that. Also visit the stand down at the Public Market and take some of their outstanding products home with you! Thanks for reading.
Crested Duck Charcuterie
also on Facebook
1603 Broadway Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Reservations Highly Recommended.
Crested Duck Market
@ Pittsburgh Public Market
2401 Penn Ave
Pgh, PA 15222
Closed Monday and Tuesday