Steve and Francee are our new eating buddies. Aside from the fact that they are super fun to hang out with, they are also probably the only two people we know that love trying new restaurants as much as we do. Actually, they’ve probably tried more restaurants in Pittsburgh than us! So we decided to create this new monthly tradition of going out for dinner and drinks together. In August they took us to Industry Public House followed by Tender Bar for drinks. And as you all know, we loved it. So there was definitely some pressure when it was our turn to pick the place. After some deliberation, I finally decided on Nola On The Square. At first we were a little hesitant about picking a restaurant in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh because we weren’t sure what the night scene would be like. But we were pleasantly surprised by how lively “The Square” was on a Friday evening. (We think that the crowd was partially due to that giant rubber duck).
We decided to order these Fried Green Tomatoes at the last minute and boy were we glad we did! Green tomatoes dipped in an Abita beer batter and served with a Creole Mustard Ranch sauce. Who wouldn’t love that? The only complaint was the awkwardly small 4th slice of tomato. Nobody wanted to be left with that little piece.
Francee suggested the Butternut Squash Flatbread for an appetizer and, I’m not gonna lie, I was not really looking forward to it at first. For some reason I was picturing it to be a chunky squash pizza. When the flatbread arrived at our table, I actually thought that they had brought us the wrong dish. After I tasted it, I was even MORE convinced that the waiter had gotten our order wrong because I absolutely loved it. The butternut squash puree sauce provided a delightfully sweet compliment to the bitter broccoli rabe and nutty pecorino cheese. It was seriously delicious and I would highly recommend it.
Alex couldn’t resist an order of the Red Beans and Rice cooked with smoked ham shank. Who can blame him? It’s a New Orleans classic. The dish was good but the flatbread and fried tomatoes were way better, in my opinion.
Much to Alex’s delight, you ARE allowed to order from the lunch menu during dinner hours (he had been eyeing up the Creole Pulled Pork Po Boy every since we looked up the restaurant’s menu online the week before). The pulled pork shoulder was on a French baguette, topped with onion rings and served with a side of Voodoo fries. He absolutely loved it and still talks about how great it was. Actually, I think his last words before he went to sleep tonight was “Pulled Pork Po…. Boy…zzzzz….”.
Since Alex is allergic to shellfish, I don’t get a chance to eat shrimp or crawfish very often. So I seized the opportunity to order something that I would never make at home and that I wouldn’t have to share with Alex 🙂 I got the Pasta Lafayette (True Blood anyone?) which had crawfish, ham, broccoli rabe, roasted tomato, mushrooms, and mint cooked in a spicy crawfish cream sauce. I was trying really hard to be “ladylike” and restrained from devouring the entire plate of food at the restaurant but I completely tore into my leftovers box as soon as I got home later that night. Super Classy.
Steve ordered the Shrimp and Grits. Wild caught shrimp, Abita beer, white corn grits and smoked bacon. And Francee ordered the NOLA burger. Voodoo dusted burger topped with BBQ pork shoulder, smoked Gouda, and onion rings. While I was way too distracted with my own dish to try theirs, they both seemed to really enjoy their entrees.
The overall atmosphere at NOLA was fun and the service was good. I would definitely come back to try new dishes, and perhaps order my own Pimm’s Cup.
Average Rating 4/5
We finished off the night at Perle, the neighboring champagne bar. We definitely enjoyed the variety of champagne cocktails, and the people-watching.