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THE MENU MARRIES CLASSIC FRENCH COOKING WITH MOLECULAR GASTRONOMY

SWING TIME

{BY REBECCA NUTTALL}

The team behind Bar Marco and Livermore has launched a new venture: Swing Truck, a food truck specializing in Puerto Rican cuisine. Headed by chef Jamilka Borges, a Puerto Rico native, the truck, located next to Bar Marco in the Strip District, opened at the end of May. Current specialties include beef and pork empanadillas (the pork variety are made with onions, pineapple and cilantro), ceviche (chopped fish) and mallorca (a sweet bread). “Puerto Rico has a lot of African influence and that comes through in the food,” says Borges. “To me, it’s comfort food at its best. It’s fun and the flavors are bold.” The menu also includes tripleta, in which steak, chicken, pork and garlic are layered between two slices of slightly sweet soft bread. “Tripleta is one of those things, where if you go to Puerto Rico, they’re selling them out of carts,” says Borges. “It’s like the Primanti’s sandwich of Puerto Rico.” In keeping with the Bar Marco/ Livermore team’s affinity for using fresh, seasonal ingredients, the changing menu will feature foods inspired by Puerto Rico, and not always the country’s traditional dishes. “Everything on the menu is authentic, but as the season changes, we want to use ingredients that are grown here,” says Borges. And come winter, Borges and co-owner Bobby Fry plan to take Swing Truck on a tour through the South, with the hope of setting up similar trucks in cities across the country. RNUTTALL@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

2216 Penn Ave., Strip District. 412-471-1900

the

FEED

If it’s midsummer, it’s time to get prepped for

Steel City Big Pour, held Sept. 12. Tickets to the ninth-annuall local beer festival go on n sale at noon, Mon., July 27, and sell out quickly. Tickets are $80 (you get a glass, and d beer to go in it); big-spenders can snap up $125 tickets now w (includes T-shirt). Proceeds benefit Construction Junction: Do it for the beer; do it for the old windows that need new homes. www.constructionjunction.org

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MARVELOUSLY

MODERN {BY ANGELIQUE BAMBERG + JASON ROTH}

{PHOTOS BY HEATHER MULL}

The Twisted Frenchman’s play on beets

H

OW FAST IS East Liberty gentrify-

ing? Just half a dozen years since the first notable restaurants clustered, hopefully, north of the intersection of Centre and Highland, they are already gone. Roaring revitalization is now reshaping the dining scene to serve the occupants of the many swank apartments currently under construction. One of these new, upscale restaurants is The Twisted Frenchman, a sort of hybrid between traditional continental fine dining and hip, modern minimalism. The interior is a picture of restrained elegance, with a cool, aqua-and-taupe color scheme and bouquets of dried flowers wrapped in dinner napkins and suspended above the tables, a quirky touch that matches the Frenchman’s approach to everything from food to service. Service, actually, was excellent — warm, attentive and informative. But we were not very far into the menu when we were somewhat chastened by the note, “Please listen to servers [sic] instruction on dish presentation.” This, we came to find, is because servers at The Twisted Frenchman are involved in far more than carrying plated food between

PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER 07.15/07.22.2015

kitchen and table. The menu’s marriage of classic French cooking with molecular gastronomy means that dishes frequently require assembly, finishing or elaborate explanation at the table. Molecular gastronomy is the geekily technical, often showy use of new techniques like sous vide (cooking food wrapped in plastic in a warm water bath, then only finishing it over direct heat) and frequently borrows tricks of chemistry to explore the

THE TWISTED FRENCHMAN 128 S. Highland Ave., East Liberty. 412-361-1340 HOURS: Tue.-Thu. 5-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 5-10:30 p.m.; Sun. 5-9 p.m. PRICES: Appetizers $12-16; entrees $28-36 LIQUOR: Full bar

CP APPROVED physical and flavor transformations in foods as they cook. Here, chef Andrew Garbarino brings molecular gastronomy to, if not Escoffier-style classical French cooking, at least recognizably traditional combinations of ingredients and flavors. So duck was braised in Bordeaux, sturgeon served with caviar, and celery root

combined with white bean in a soup. But there traditionalism ended. The soup bowl was served with streaks of creme fraiche and lobster foam in the bottom, half a fried soft-shell crab perched upright, and its edges were strewn with baby arugula and edible flowers. Into its well, the server poured the hot bean puree from a cruet at the table. To say there was a lot going on here would be an understatement, but it all harmonized. The purée was velvety and subtly earthy, tempering the intensely briny lobster foam and crispy, musky crab and, in turn, enriched by the soured cream. The tiny but potent leaves and petals brightened both the dish’s flavor and appearance. A risotto “tasting” was a subtler move, but each of the three rice preparations was a success, and the ensemble worked well, too. Grounding the dish was a vibrantly green pea risotto with perfect, creamy texture and pure pea flavor; chef Garbarino nailed it with possibly the best risotto we’ve ever had. Atop this bed was a single arancini (dubbed “mac and cheese”), its core of molten cheese infused with the smokiness of paper-thin slices of bacon, its exterior crisp but not greasy, doubling down on the creaminess of the risotto. Balanced on top

Profile for Pittsburgh City Paper

July 15, 2015  

Pittsburgh City Paper Volume 25 Issue 28

July 15, 2015  

Pittsburgh City Paper Volume 25 Issue 28