Monday, September 17, 2012

E2 (That's "E, squared")

Birthday dinners can be special.

Outside of E2, Bryant Street, Highland Park
But nothing is as special as having your own, private birthday celebration with your closest friends in one of the most hospitable chefs in Pittsburgh.  James had donated to E2's (E squared's) Kickstarter campaign, and earned a private dinner in the beneficiary of the campaign, "The Party Dungeon". 

Stairwell to "The Party Dungeon"
 Progress has been made in The Party Dungeon, but it is not quite finished as of yet.  New paint, new wiring, new lighting, and a new bar grace the basement, along with some new tables (and there will be more tables coming in).  Personally, I like the space a lot, and it was perfect for an intimate private event.  We could have definitely fit at least twice as many people in the space quite comfortably (as there were 12 of us), but the space itself could easily suit a party of 50 or less.

Tables set for the party in "The Party Dungeon"
Of course, our main focus after taking in the renovation process was the food.  Chef Kate Romane had prepared a special menu for James's birthday, one that she knew he and his guests would all enjoy.  As people arrived, we enjoyed Anti-Pasta, plates of olives, cheese, roasted garlic, and more, with Chef Kate's famous Gorgonzola Mess to accompany warm, toasted bread.  Demand for the Gorgonzola Mess was so great that the staff generously sent out more on its own (with more bread, of course):

More Anti-Pasta
Our next two courses were salad courses: Big Fat Salad, a simple leafy-green salad with blue cheese, toasted walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette; and Heirloom Caprese Salad, a late-summer classic:

Big Fat Salad

Heirloom Caprese Salad
As simple as these salad were, they were full of flavor.  James and I were sure to snag the leftovers of the Big Fat Salad for lunch for the next day (we're sensible, yet smart).

We were then served Arancini with Marinara, which looked like large, fried doughballs covered in marinara sauce.  Basically, that's what they were, but on the inside - rice!  They were amazing:

Arancini with Marinara

Alongside the Arancini were dishes of Beans and Greens with Sausage:

Beans and Greens with Sausage

Surprise!  I loved it.  I've made similar dishes at home that taste...well, nowhere near this yummy.

Our main dishes were Rabbit Ragu, and Tortellini with Chive Butter, Pine Nuts, and Chiles:

Rabbit Ragu

Ok, so, my dad (the picky one, remember) wasn't all about eating rabbit.  Of course, I was all about it, since it was something I had never tried before.  I liked it, and the entire dish itself just reminded me of a traditional beef stew - honestly, I would have never guessed that the meat was rabbit.  

Tortellini with Chive Butter, Pine Nuts, and Chiles

The tortellini - wow.  Beautiful color, even more fantastic flavor.  It was my favorite of the dishes:

Ok, it was my favorite before the dessert - Chocolate Bread Pudding a la mode:

Chocolate Bread Pudding
This was SO RICH (no pun intended, if you know James).  This should have been called Fudgy Chocolate-y Awesomeness - you know, because that's what it was.  Oh, wait - "Fudgy Chocolate-y Awesomeness a la Mode".  Yes.

By the end of the evening, our bellies were full, our spirits were high, and our faces hurt from laughing.  Not a bad way to celebrate a birthday at all.  Thanks so much to everyone who came out to the party, and a special thanks to Chef Kate and everyone at E2 for making the evening so, so special.  

5904 Bryant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15206 (Highland Park)


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