It’s a tough time for restaurants. Right before social distancing, I was invited to a private tasting at Jean Louis and had an incredible meal. Jean Louis is currently closed, so I encourage you when this is over to take yourself out for dinner here (and buy a gift card now). In the meantime, I am going to drool over my photos again.
When you think of French restaurants in Pittsburgh, typically one very trendy Lawrenceville establishment comes to mind. But did you know there is a Parisian Bistro just outside of Downtown Pittsburgh in Dormont called Jean Louis? It’s only been open since 2018 but recently they hired a new head chef, Vincent Capuano (a Pittsburgh native) and he’s taken the restaurant to a new level.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Chef Vince and he hooked me UP. I sat up front and took in the beautiful decor while he poured me a glass of my favorite white, Sauvignon Blanc. Chef said it would open up a buttery flavor of the seafood and he was right. Plus, who doesn’t want a glass of wine in the afternoon on a slow-moving Saturday? The Trib did a really nice writeup on Vince recently with his background. He has a true passion for food, cooking, and hospitality that really shines through when you talk to him. Read it here.
For my first course, I was presented with this fine-looking grilled octopus. It was served with potatoes and was just so simple yet so flavorful.
Next, let’s discuss this crab cake. Ordinarily, I am not a huge crab cake fan and I think it’s because of the heavy breading that they normally have. This crab cake didn’t have any of that. It was simply the meat of the crab bound together by pan-frying it, and it was by far the best crab cake I ever had. Hell yes, Chef Vince.
Time for a palate cleanse with this salmon toast. YUM.
Next, we moved on to some meat with this pork belly, which was also incredible. It was both savory and sweet since it is cured with maple syrup and powdered sugar. Perfection. And to Chef, it’s “breakfast in a bite.”
Moving right along. Thank goodness I didn’t finish each course because I got so much food! These scallops were next and again, just so delicious and served on a bed of potatoes (those are also crispy potatoes on top). Yes, please.
And then there was pasta. Jean Louis rotates its pasta daily and it’s handmade, of course. This dish was topped with breadcrumbs and an amazing burrata.
And you can’t have a French meal without finishing off with dessert! Fresh fruit and homemade macarons.
I cannot thank the team at Jean Louis enough for having me in, and for Chef Vincent for making me this meal. He stressed to me he likes to keep things simple and rustic, and that’s exactly the vibe I had with the food and atmosphere. He aims to please every guest and everything is fresh and made with high-quality ingredients. Vince also will come out to each guest to check on you when you’re dining, which I always appreciate as a special touch. He also said if something is not on the menu to call ahead, and he’ll see what he can do. You can’t get that personal approach just anywhere. Like I said before, his passion for food just shines and I’ve found a new favorite restaurant in the ‘burgh. I can’t wait to go back.