Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Yo Rita!

Last Thursday, I went with a friend of mine to Yo Rita on the South Side (across the street from the hub of culture, Jack's) to see what all the hot fuss was about. Yo Rita used to be the Iguana Grill, which I never went to, but needed a jumpstart.

Enter Kevin Sousa.

Kevin Sousa may be the Iron Chef of Pittsburgh, for whatever that buys you. He is consistently one of the most creative chefs in Pittsburgh and has done stints at Soba, Red Room, and other restaurants around town. Not only is he a top class chef, but he also has espoused the use of molecular gastronomy, basically using chemistry to create food. His work in translating this fringe field of cooking resulted in some of the most daring and creative dishes in town.

All of this led Chef Sousa to decide to open up his own restaurant, Salt of the Earth, in the Garfield area. My guess as to why Garfield, consistently one of the most dangerous areas in town, is that he sees this as the next East Liberty. East Liberty, while still not the new Valhalla in Pittsburgh, has had a revitalization thanks to restaurants such as Red Room, Abay, the erstwhile Richard Chen (now Plum), Dinette, and the Whole Foods complex.

But in between getting Salt of the Earth off the ground, serial restaurant jumper Chef Sousa decided to kickstart the menu of the new Yo Rita.

Yo Rita is a place that you can get a la carte tacos, margaritas, and a limited number of appetizers. That's it. Don't go expecting a side of rice, or a side of pinto beans or the like.

The night I went the weather outside was dreadfully cold and my heart was a little heavy. As a result, I did not abide by the DBS rule "Always challenge yourself by getting something on the menu that you can't make yourself."

Meekly, I got the Black Eye Pea Taco (spinach, goat cheese, chick pea) and the Steak Taco (steak, potato, cilantro, mushrooms which I picked out). My buddy got the Braised Chicken taco (bbq chicken, potato, onion) and the Pork Shoulder Taco (pork, jalapeno, apple).

The tacos were very good, but I think due to my hesitation to be bold, I was left underwhelmed. The atmosphere of the restaurant is lacking, as the neon pink of Jack's from across the street bathes the front window. The inside of Yo Rita is a very plain, neutral off-white.

Basically, I felt like I was in a South Side bar that happened to serve tacos. Which I sort of was.

Would I go back? Ehh...this was on the list that I made with Dale Berra's Girlfriend (DB~), so she and I will go, but I think I will quietly rotate this one to the bottom of the pile.

1 comment:

  1. ~So, is that picture the logo for the restaurant? If so, the place probably thrives on the sailors that head there while docking on the Mon for the evening... :)