Greg and I volunteer with The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project, an opportunity that has taken us to various new places in town. This weekend, we had a chance to help organize bags and then got dinner with two others who were sorting. Sure, we could have decided to just grab a sandwich from anywhere, but we were easily convinced to go local after Greg and Ledcat went to pick up totes at Bistro To Go and ogling the turtle cheesecake.
Logistically, we don’t get to the North Shore often (unless it’s for a Pirates game), so without this opportunity, we probably wouldn’t have realized this as a good dining option. It will now be on our “meet-up” and pre-game list. Parking is on-street/metered, but it wasn’t tough finding 3 spots on a busy Saturday afternoon.
The first thing I realized about Bistro To Go is that it is beside Bistro Soul, another restaurant in the Bistro family, and both boast of southern décor. I fell in love immediately, not needing to see that darn turtle cheesecake. When you walk inside, you know you are in for a soul food treat.
If you want technics, you should know this is essentially fast-casual dining, but the prep is nothing but. Amazing specials are in front of you, and served up (big helpings) right in front of your eyes. You can get the food to go, but I urge you to take a seat at one of the adorable tables or even the “bench” seating with an old church pew as one side of the seating. We stayed well past our original meter because we loved the atmosphere so much. Bonus, free wi-fi, people watching out the front window, cheerful employees, and listening to the chefs prep and cook in the open kitchen. Have some time? Sit and read some of the many cookbooks in the dining area. Absolutely beautiful.
Oh, you saw this was a post about a restaurant and want to know about the food? Well, gee! Entrees come with your choice of 1 or 2 sides (pricing is just a little more expensive than getting a combo meal at a drive thru) plus a bun “the size of Ledcat’s head”. From what I can see on the Bistro To Go website, specials change weekly, but there is always a great variety. I selected the stuffed beef cabbage, green beans with turkey, and a chipotle black bean and cilantro salad (no bun, those things were seriously HUGE). Greg got chicken and gravy (the breading was almost reverse fried with stuffing on the outside…), green beans, and…well…I can honestly say I am not sure what his side was. He gobbled everything down quickly—maybe it was mashed potatoes?
We were treated to dessert by Chef Nikki, a supporter of the Tote Bag Project. Greg went for the Turtle Cheesecake, and although I was tempted by the Ho Ho Cake, it was crème de menthe bars for me. Let me tell you a little bit of what I understand about Chef Nikki. She loves Pittsburgh, and she loves our people. She has a big heart. And, she is going to have me attending some of her cooking classes, because I want to amp up the kitchen. Her passion with Bistro to go was to “create a neighborhood restaurant where good food brings people together”. Uh, in my opinion, she’s hit it on the mark. Further, part of the Bistro mission “is to be a Christ-centered business and an employer where all cultures are welcome”. Again, absolutely evident.
We will be back again, and hopefully with the kids. There were high chairs, but I’d have to make sure I knew the menu before going with them for the ‘lil ones dairy issues. Perhaps we’ll even make a Sunday brunch!
Disclaimer: I was not asked to write this review, and Bistro To Go might never even know how much I heart them. These opinions are 100% my own, and the dessert was provided out of kindness. Time to pay it forward and send you there!