refresh dinner

Chef David Bulman
Chef David Bulman of Pittsburgh’s Verde restaurant on Penn Avenue. (I knew him before he worked at the French Laundry!)

Chef David Bulman from Verde Mexican Kitchen and Cantina was getting ready for Restaurant Week here in Pittsburgh. And I had the chance to preview his tasting menu on Sunday. Four courses, a palate cleanser, and dessert. The chef worked with talented bar manager Hannah Morris to create pairings to complement each dish. The pairings were masterful, bringing new dimensions of flavor and enjoyment. Verde prides itself on its encyclopedic collection of tequila and mescal, so no Verde menu would be complete without them.

Ceviche and Agua Fresca got us off to a great start. Chilled tortilla soup with a glass of Diseño Torrontes was one of my favorites. A twist on the classic combination of potato and chorizo combination with chipotle aioli followed. The pairing: Del Maguey San Luis del Rio crema de mescal. (Many people find mescal too smoky. If you’re one of these people, please give this mescal a try–you won’t be disappointed.) Then a Mahi-mahi taco with a cerveza preparada—a beer cocktail. And then came the masa “ñoquis” with braised goat. And when I thought I couldn’t absorb any more, a smooth avocado sorbet, a perfect palate cleanser. And the final course, Coco y Lima dessert, was paired with Agavero Damiana infused tequila. This was my favorite course. Yes, I have a sweet tooth, but that’s not the only thing that made this my favorite. In the wrong hands, lime and coconut can be a disaster that tastes like suntan lotion (not that I’ve ever eaten suntan lotion, I can only imagine). But done right, the combination is a bite of paradise, a refreshing tropical vacation for the palate. And this was done right. A sip and a bite and I was in paradise.

It was a great meal and Verde’s staff will spoil you. If you told me that Jeff Catalina could assemble another front of the house staff as expert (and good looking!) as the one at Tender Bar in Lawrenceville, I wouldn’t have believed you.

When you go to Verde, drop me a line and let me know what you think.

Buen provecho!


tortilla sopa
This tortilla soup was a popular favorite. Twenty garnishes meant that each mouthful was a different, magical combination.


"ñoqui" (gnocchi) made from corn flour
Delicious “ñoqui” (gnocchi) made from corn flour
coco y lima postre
My favorite course was dessert–an expert treatment of two tricky flavors: coconut and lime. This was served with Agavero Damiana infused tequila–the perfect ending to a wonderful meal.


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