Station brings inventive new American cuisine to Bloomfield
In early August, Station opened its doors to the busy stretch of Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield, bringing refined, approachable and beautifully presented new American cuisine to the neighborhood.
The partnership between Curtis Gamble, former chef de cuisine of Grit & Grace, and Justin Janosko and John Pieranunzi of Downtown’s Craftwork Kitchen, is more than just a restaurant. Station has an incredible bar with a few house signature cocktails at $12 each. Though priced a little high, the drinks are creative and worth an order. My favorite so far is the Ruby Queen, made with tarragon, beet shrub, honey and vodka. It’s light and refreshing and will become your new obsession if you are a fan of beets.
Small plates are great for sharing. If interested in a salad option, try the Miso Poached Apple. Tender slices of apples with a hint of miso are served with tart pickled red grapes, crisp frisse, roasted cashews and a creamy cranberry vinaigrette — it is almost too beautiful to eat. The sweet apples lend a nice balance to the tart grapes, which have a zing when you bite into them. Definitely worth a taste if you’ve never had a pickled grape.
For heartier options, I recommend sharing the Chicken Liver Mousse, especially if you have never dined on this delicacy. A silky, smooth dollop of chicken-liver moose is served with crunchy, fermented kohlrabi, brown-butter bread-crumbs and coriander mustard. Accompanying this dish is perfectly grilled garlic bread sourced from sourdough made by Squirrel Hill’s Allegro Hearth Bakery. So very rich and decadent, a few bites is all you need.
Another surprising delight was the Corned Beef Tongue. Toasted slices of the same sourdough are topped with a bright-green broccoli and cheddar spread, thin slices of corned beef tongue and tiny broccoli florets and finished with a cheddar crisp and pickled peppers.
One dish that I wished was better was the Crispy Wings. Five jumbo chicken wings are fried to a golden-brown and served with olive oil, garlic, chili, herbs and a parmesan-cheese foam. Though still good, I found them to be very greasy and overpowered with garlic, definitely not a recommendation for a first-date course.
One of my personal favorites on the larger plates menu is Station’s take on a classic cheeseburger. A buttery brioche bun is grilled to perfection. The bottom bun is topped with a sweet-and-tangy onion jam. Next comes the burger patty, which is cooked to a medium-rare per the kitchen’s recommendation. Then, the burger is smothered in an ooey, gooey asiago cheese fondue (think out-of-this-world cheese sauce), and thick, fried onion rings. That’s topped and skewered to hold it all together.
Though there might be “one of Pittsburgh’s best burgers” down the street, this is a true neighborhood contender and one of the best burgers around. It’s served with perfectly cooked fresh cut French fries alongside a tub of malt-vinegar aioli, which makes this dish even more perfect in my eyes. The only downside is that the onion jam can make the burger bun a bit soggy, so this is definitely a fork-and-knife-type sandwich.
If pasta is your go-to dinner of choice, you will be delighted that Station is making its own pasta.
For meat-eaters, the perfectly al dente Tagliatelle pasta is served in a rich, salty, peppery broth with smoked pork shank, chopped vegetables, parmesan cheese, and a 1-hour egg.
For vegetarians, the Charred Eggplant and Yogurt Ravioli is satisfying. Eggplant and tangy housemade yogurt fill the ravioli, which are served in a tomato and vegetable broth with blistered tomatoes, wilted baby kale and topped with crunchy bread crumbs for texture.
Meatier entrees include Crispy Skin Chicken Breast, Hanger Steak served with zucchini and salsa verde potatoes, and Butter Poached Walleye with clams, saffron gnocchi, green-bean fennels salad and tomato broth.
Not only does Station have one of the best burgers, this restaurant is a contender for one of the best desserts.
Popcorn Panna Cotta is a must-order, whether you like desserts or not. It will be unlike any dessert that you may have had. Served in a mason jar, a generous layer of creamy popcorn-flavored panna cotta is topped with a salted caramel sauce and finished with housemade caramel corn. Words can’t even describe how good this dish is, so I recommend that you find out for yourself.
The other dessert offered is the Lavender Pound Cake: delicate pieces of cake infused with the slightest hint of lavender are topped with roasted sweet pineapple chunks and served with fresh coconut pudding.
With these inventive dishes, Station is bringing fresh flavors to Pittsburgh’s Little Italy. If you find yourself having an outstanding meal here, you can send a thanks to the kitchen not only in gratitude, but with a suggested “kitchen coffee,” aka six-pack of beer, for $10.
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