So you and your friends keep hearing the words “Asian Fusion” being tossed around like a hacky sac on a young tween’s foot and you finally decide to seek out for yourselves what type of place serves such a distinctive cuisine. Where do you go? Well if you’re in Pittsburgh, you head downtown to Grit and Grace Noddle Bar (G&G), a popular but niche “Asian Fusion” restaurant bringing the you the best of modern Asian cuisine in the chicest of styles. Lydia and I decided to pop down on a Tuesday night to revisit this Pittsburgh treasure, and although it was surprisingly empty (or maybe unsurprisingly for a Tuesday?) we nonetheless really enjoyed ourselves! Our thoughts on G&G:
Atmosphere and Service: While being some of the very few people in the restaurant was a little disconcerting, there’s no reason to believe that this place would be anything but buzzing on a Friday or Saturday night. With shades of dark brown and gray throughout the establishment and having bizarre, almost artistic lights and furniture, G&G carries a younger but still sophisticated vibe about itself, even if it was a little too dark at times. This aura was also reflected in the staff, which trended on the younger side, and cared for us with none of the plastered charm or feigned snobbery of a restaurant getting too big for its britches. However, the staff also seemed rehearsed as if they were performing for us rather than letting natural hospitable tendencies flow.
Food: Both Lydia and I were delighted but not blown away with the meal. We both shared the bulgogi lettuce wraps and the chicken satay, and while they were excellently plated, the flavor was not quite there in either. Lydia noted that the satay was a bit too salty and greasy, and the lettuce wraps could have been crisper. We also tried a few of G&G’s Dim Sum, a selection of small dishes that are ordered on a piece of paper as you go and added to your bill at the end. From this selection we tried the spicy tuna tartare and the pork belly bites, both of which were quite delightful. The bites had a good solid crunch to them, and although the “spicy” tuna could have been spicier, it was still very flavorful. For dessert Lydia had a spicy chocolate cake and I had one of my all-time favorites: crème brûlée, (which will make a frequent appearance on this blog) with a mint infusion. Both were very good, although I was a little thrown off by the strength of the mint. Overall, we were both very satisfied with what we had, and only wish we had more stomachs!
Price: around $75 dollars (including tip) for the both of us. When you’re considering the downtown location and the sheer amount of plates we ordered, we didn’t think it was a bad deal. This might not be a restaurant you go to on a whim, but if you have guests over or are celebrating something, this is the ideal location for unique food at a competitive price.
The verdict: 7.5/10
Translation: I would head on over to G&G no more than once every one or two years. It’s a unique place with a lot going for it, it just needs to tweak a few things here and there to gain an extra point or two in my book. This is definitely one of the more niche restaurants in the ‘burgh, so be bold and go see for yourself!
Lydia’s take: “Overall, this is a restaurant with no frills or thrills (in a good way)! I can’t deny the food is good and I love that there is an emphasis on sharing your food to try different things. This is definitely a great place for an early date, where you can prove you’re an adventurous eater! If I could say one thing G&G should improve on, it would be their atmospher: way too cut and dry. But other than that it was a really great restaurant!”
Lydia is a rising senior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in neuroscience and minoring in chemistry. She lives just outside of Pittsburgh and wants me to mention that if anyone who reads this speaks Japanese, please contact her ASAP! She needs to converse people!
G&G is an Asian Fusion style noodle bar and restaurant located in downtown Pittsburgh on Liberty Avenue where they “push opposites to the extreme to bring you Pittsburgh’s most unique and balanced dining experience.” You can find more about their menu and book reservations here: http://gritandgracepgh.com/