Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Gypsy Cafe (South Side)

UPDATE 7/15/2012: Gypsy Cafe is now closed.

Somewhat hidden along Bingham Street, a block north of the hustle and bustle of Carson Street in South Side, is a little restaurant known as Gypsy Café, the venue of last week's dining out adventure.  Gypsy Café has a small but pretty creative menu consisting of an eclectic mix of European dishes, mostly from Eastern Europe.  (I suspect their menu changes often, just like their hours.)  Despite the limited selection, which included several a la carte options as well as a three-course prix fixe menu, I had a difficult time deciding on what to order as everything sounded delicious!  I was tempted by the salmon, but ended up going with the Shortrib and Oxtail Borscht, a traditionally Ukrainian dish, for a true Eastern European taste.

And I'd venture to say that this was one of the best dishes I've had in Pittsburgh so far!

Shortrib and Oxtail Borscht at Gypsy Cafe
Shortrib and Oxtail Borscht

The Shortrib and Oxtail Borscht was a very flavorful combination of beef, roasted beets, cabbages, and tomatoes, in a delightful sauce that achieves a nice balance between sweetness and tanginess.  The shortrib was a tiny bit on the chewy side, but the oxtail was perfectly tender.  The dish was topped with sour cream which adds another element of tanginess to the soup.  I always appreciate a dish with a full and complex flavor that just works.  As weird as this may sound, I also find myself having a particularly vivid taste memory trace of this borscht - that is, I find the flavor of the borscht to be very memorable (in a good way), which I think speaks to its savoriness.

Everyone else I was with was impressed with their food, and the portions were huge as well.  This is undoubtedly a place for a repeat visit, perhaps on a night that features live music!

Restaurant info:
Gypsy Café
1330 Bingham Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203 
(412) 381-4977
On the web: http://www.gypsycafe.net/ (check their hours before you go!)

Gypsy Cafe on Urbanspoon