Monday, January 23, 2012

...PRW: Braddock's American Brasserie Blogger Dinner

I love meeting other bloggers.

I met Food Collage through blogging and Twitter, and going out to eat with her is always a great experience (twice during Pittsburgh Restaurant Week alone!).  Of course, I met James through the same means, and...well, the rest is history :-)

When it was announced that there would be a special dinner during Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, I told James that we HAD to go.  We had to.  I wanted to meet other bloggers, because the first two that I ever met turned out to be so fantastic!  Also, Food Collage raves about Braddock's, and it seemed like a great opportunity to try what they had to offer.

We made our reservations through ShowClix (a great service, by the way - I used them for Savor Pittsburgh, too, without any issues) and had our tickets texted to us - ahhh, the wonders of technology. 

I had actually sampled some food from Braddock's before and was quite impressed.  My first experience was at Savor Pittsburgh, where they offered their Short Rib Pierogi for sampling - and what an impression it left on not just me, but others as well (more on that soon).

I had also sampled their Turkey Wrap at Bakery's Cookin', and I can't think of a better way to use Thanksgiving leftovers!  Usually I end up reheating (and drying out in the process) leftover turkey...then throwing a lot of it away.  I would never, ever throw away turkey if I knew how to make this wrap (and I do, thanks to the program from the event - yay!)

James and I were a little early, but we were led to the seating area right away.  Braddock's is located in the Renaissance Hotel downtown, which is beautiful:

Braddock's, from the upstairs of the Renaissance Hotel
Inside Braddock's
 We sat at a table for six with another couple who had just arrived themselves - only to find out that the gentleman was the writer of the Ya Jagoff blog, posting about people who are...well, jagoffs.  Through our conversation, we discovered that he, too, was at Savor Pittsburgh, and raved about the Short Rib Pierogi (I told you there'd me more about it). 

Also joining us were the couple from the 101 Achievements blog, posting about their adventures in accomplishing things on their to-do list.  All of us spent a lot of time in conversation between our courses!

For Pittsburgh Restaurant Week, Braddock's offered a 3-course pre-fixe menu for $25, including an appetizer, entree, and dessert:
Braddock's American Brasserie PRW Menu
Even before ordering, we were presented with a tasting plate, including that famous Braised Short Rib Pierogi, plus Grilled Strip District Kielbasa and Housemade Potato Gnocchi & Lobster:

Clockwise from bottom: Braised Short Rib Pierogi, Grilled Strip District Kielbasa, Housemade Potato Gnocchi & Lobster
Due to the overwhelming taste of these 3 items, James and I decided to forgo the pre-fixe menu and order directly from the regular menu: Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Braised Short Rib Pierogies, and Seared Diver Scallops:

Jumbo Lump Crab Cake

Braised Short Rib Pierogi (again!)

Seared Diver Scallops
All were fantastic, but the scallops stood out as the best appetizer (plus, despite being so impressed by the pierogi, it wasn't new to me anymore - the novelty was wearing off, I guess). 

The gnocchi was so phenomenal that we split a full order (which they were kind enough to split up for us into two bowls - how considerate!):

Housemade Potato Gnocchi & Lobster (yes, again!)
Even nicer, Brian Volmrich, Braddock's Chef de Cuisine, came out to talk to each table of bloggers about the food that was prepared for us - we were able to ask questions, learn about how the menu items came about (like the pierogi recipe from his Polish grandmother - I can identify!)  He even honored a request from Ya Jagoff at the end of his video.

Brian Volmrich, Chef de Cuisine (beyond my face)
 There was still room for dessert - Ya Jagoff's wife did not want her cheesecake from the pre-fixe menu, so James willingly accepted her offer of the New York Colossal Cheesecake with Fresh Raspberries.  I haven't had cheesecake in awhile, and this was rich, sweet, and well worth the calories!

New York Colossal Cheesecake with Fresh Raspberries (and a little "PRW" drizzle!)
 We also ordered our own dessert - Profiteroles. Ahhh, flaky, creamy - so indulgent!

The staff at Braddock's is incomparable to any restaurant staff that I have experienced here in the city - so accommodating, so friendly, and so engaging.  

My only complaint?  During this dinner, I didn't get to meet any of the other bloggers that were not at my table!  Oh, well.  I'm sure we'll cross paths another time.  

Thanks so much to Brian McCollum of the Pittsburgh Taste Buds for planning such a great event for bloggers as part of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week.  I truly hope to be a part of more events like this again soon (perhaps during a future restaurant week...or sooner!)

Braddock's American Brasserie
107 6th St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Braddock's American Brasserie on Urbanspoon

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