Sunday, February 13, 2011

Legume - Valentine's dinner with DB~

Trying to surprise DB~ is a herculean task at times. She always wants to open a gift early on Christmas. When you tell her you have a surprise for her, she will badger you relentlessly for a hint. And when you give her that hint, she will Google research the crap out of that clue until she "wins". (You can't win Valentine's Day. Shut up, I win.)

Every 3 months, as the seasons change, we make a list of restaurants that we want to try in Pittsburgh. I told her that for Valentine's Day this year, I would surprise her with a restaurant that was not on our wish list. I was debating between Bona Terra in Sharpsburg and Legume in Regent Square. I've been wanting to try Legume for a while, so I called them for reservations and got a 6:30 on Saturday night.

So once I told DB~ about surprising her, she asked for a hint and I gave her two: It was close to her aunt's house and it was BYOB. She incorrectly guessed Cafe Zinho and then 10 minutes later she Googled, using 3 different sites, the Legume website for me to see. Ridiculous.

Legume is owned by Trevett and Sara Hooper and for the next 2-3 months is located on South Braddock Avenue in Regent Square. I say that because in April or May they will be moving to a bigger location in Oakland near North Craig Street. So on Saturday we got to enjoy the original, smaller version of Legume (the new one will have a full bar -- this version is BYOB).

Because Legume is small, maybe only 12-15 tables total, the menu is small. They specialize in the freshest ingredients, sometimes directly from local farms, and organic healthy dishes. Each night the menu changes and that night's menu is posted at 5 pm online. Last night there were 4 entrees to choose from: a fish dish featuring fluke with avacados and beans and lemon, a scallops dish, something called sweet potato sformato, and a bavette steak.

DB~ chose the fluke, totally by choice and not by chance, and I went with the sweet potato sformato solely because I had never heard of it. Sformato is the combination of sweet potato puree and custard into a flan-like cylinder. It was served with a potato pancake of sorts called farro, which made me think of the card game that was played in the movie Tombstone. It was fantastic and may be something that I try to reverse engineer at some point. DB~'s fluke was very tasty, as well. It was light and flaky with the perfect groupings of seasonings.

To start the meal, I had a fantastic cream of parsnip and apple soup infused with bacon. It was perfectly smooth, with no stray lumps or texture out of place. For dessert, we shared a chocolate truffle cake topped with fresh cream whipped by hand. And by shared, I mean that DB~ contemplated stabbing me in the hand with her fork so that I would be distracted and she could eat the whole truffle cake.

If you're thinking of going to Legume, I recommend going now. We both think that it may lose something in the translation to a bigger space. Will they still have the limited menu? Will it be too big? Here's hoping it is a success.

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