PID and I were giddy with excitement as we made our way through the streets of Highland Park. E2 is a well camouflaged spot reminiscent of a regular three-story walk-up, but packed with character and ever so inviting.
When we stepped inside, the feeling of hominess never left us as we were greeted by a lowboy in the foyer, bookshelves in the dining room and beat-up (in a beautiful way...) hardwood floors.
I've been pleased with servers in the past, but the bubbling enthusiasm and impressive menu and ingredient knowledge of our waitress at E2 blew me away. I nearly invited her to sit down and eat with us (and maybe become my new best friend...). I had questions, she had answers. And she didn't even seem to mind my obsessive photo-taking.
E2 is a BYOB establishment (squee!) and we uncorked one of my favorite Cab Savs, an Argentinian Root 1, to get the party started.
PID and I had an extremely tough time deciding on a small plate to start, so we decided instead to try three.
The Gorgonzola mess plate was by far my favorite. I could eat an entire gallon of this stuff and never grow tired of it. If you aren't a fan of blue veined cheeses, I would steer clear of it. But for me, it was sheer perfection. With a combination of herbs and spices and just a hint of heat, the Gorgonzola really shined. The oil brushed, grilled bread added a welcome crunch.
|Gorgonzola Mess, $3|
We also tried a grilled prosciutto wrapped mozzarella. The freshness meat and cheese was apparent even through the grilled application.
|Grilled Prosciutto, $9|
|Beet & Arugula Salad, $8|
After an extremely pleasing appetizer experience, we moved onto our entrees. PID went with the Linguini Pescatore with jumbo shrimp, bay scallops and a tomato cream sauce and I was sold on the Mushroom Risotto.
|Linguini Pescatore, $20|
|Mushroom Risotto, $17|
My mushroom risotto was executed perfectly, and I'm particular about my risottos. The creamy mushroom flavor was beautiful, but a smart decision was made to add raddichio and arugula to not only give the dish some color, but also add a touch of bitterness to give the meal a kick.
Address: 5904 Bryant Street (Highland Park)
Reservations: Can be made for parties of 6 or more. The dining room is small so come early to be seated quickly.
Corkage fee @ $6
Gorgonzola Mess @ $3
Arugula & Beet Salad @ $8
Grilled Prosciutto @ $9
Linguini Pescatore @ $20
Mushroom Risotto @ $17
Tax (7% in Allegheny County) $4.41
Total for 2: $67.41
Few things excite me like a restaurant that appreciates local ingredients and treats them with care and finesse to produce a delicious result. A comforting, down-home feel emanates from every floorboard and chair spoke in this place and it was more than apparent that the entire staff truly cared about where they work. There's something happening here, something good. I'll be excited to watch this place blossom and will, no doubt, be back to check out their summer menu. If you're looking for a unique and delicious experience in the outskirts of the city, you'll find it at E2.