Birthday Dinner #2: Dinner at Crested Duck

Crested Duck Charcuterie in Pittsburgh
Crested Duck Charcuterie’s lovely dining room

*DISCLAIMER* I do not seek monetary benefits from neither Kevin Costa nor Crested Duck Charcuterie. I’m just a Pittsburgh foodie, who enjoys sharing her foodie adventures. Images were captured on an iPhone 5s and edited with Instagram and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

*Website and social media links below this post!*

Why have one birthday dinner when you can have two? 🙂 Birthday dinner #2 was held at Crested Duck Charcuterie in the Beechview neighborhood of Pittsburgh on Friday, November 7th. My Mom and I were the first guests to arrive for the evening at the restaurant. I really loved the waiter’s description of the evening: “Chef Kevin Costa will be your personal chef for the evening, preparing each and every one of your dishes”! Talk about a luxury experience!

Speaking of Chef Costa, I’ve heard a lot of good things about him. I had the opportunity to listen to him speak with Chef Bill Fuller (of the Big Burrito Group) and the eatPGH ladies last year at a foodie event. Kevin taught himself how to butcher animals by watching YouTube videos (hunters teaching how to butcher deer) and from reading old animal butchering books. Costa noticed that there was a need for locally cured meats in Pittsburgh, and Kevin took it upon himself to meet that need.

Bull Painting
Painting in Crested Duck, honoring a noble animal

I loved the restaurant right from the start- from this INCREDIBLE painting, to the maroon colors of the walls to the music playing in the background and a very knowledgeable waiter.

Charcuterie Plate
BIG charcuterie plate at Crested Duck

My first dish of the evening: the BIG charcuterie plate. Some of the meats featured on this plate: duck speck, lomo, cannonball salami, lamb coppa and turkish salami. I am so GLAD that I ordered the big plate; I am really close to finishing this baby single-handedly! The charcuterie was incredible- some of the best I’ve ever had! I LOVED the grain mustard and small pickles, too (and there was plenty of break to help consume the charcuterie). Ladies and gentlemen, this plate is “the stuff that dreams are made of”! 🙂

Charcuterie Plate close-up
Charcuterie plate close-up #1
Charcuterie Plate Close-up
Charcuterie Plate Close-up #2
Cheese Plate
The Cheese plate at the Crested Duck

As Boromir would say: “one cannot simple order the BIG charcuterie plate without ordering the cheese plate”! So, I ordered the cheese plate as my accompanying dish. 🙂 I enjoyed all of the cheese, but I particularly LOVED the cheese in the bottom right corner of the photo. I also LOVED the dark jam that was served with the cheese. Cheese heaven right here! I was one happy diner!

Beignets with caramel sauce and apple butter from Crested Duck

I’d like to think all of you know me well enough by now to know that 99% of the time, I always order dessert. ❤ I chose the beignets with apple butter and caramel sauce. These were SPECTACULAR! They came pretty close to being as good as the beignets I had at Bouchon Bistro in Las Vegas. The apple butter and the caramel sauce were both EXCELLENT additions to this delectable dessert!

If you’re looking for a special dining experience in Pittsburgh, with a passionate chef at the forefront (who loves good quality ingredients), I highly recommend Crested Duck in Beechview! You will HAVE to get one of the two charcuterie plates (after all, charcuterie is what they’re know for at the Crested Duck) and the cheese plate (Kevin gets his cheeses from local farmers and cheese producers), and of course, DESSERT! 🙂

Three cheers to good food, fabulous art & cultural events,

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

Crested Duck’s website

Crested Duck’s Facebook page

Crested Duck’s Twitter page


Birthday Dinner #1 at Cure

Butternut Squash soup
Butternut Squash soup from Cure

*DISCLAIMER*: I do not seek monetary benefits from neither Justin Severino nor Cure. I am just a Pittsburgh foodie, who enjoys sharing her culinary adventures. Photos were captured with an iPhone5s, and were edited with Instagram and Adobe Photoshop CS4.

*Website and social media links below this post!*

Cure is owned by Justin Severino (who is also executive chef of the restaurant). Originally from Ohio, Justin Severino later relocated to Western Pennsylvania and also lived and worked in Santa Cruz, California from 2004- 2007 (Valentina, 2012). An element of the west coast that Justin has brought to Pittsburgh: using local and national ingredients and knowing where your food comes from (how was it grown, raised and prepared?).

I’ve heard all sorts of things about Justin Severino from Pittsburgh chefs, magazines and food bloggers. When food blogger & married couple D&T in the Burgh mentioned Cure, I knew I had to visit this establishment for dinner.

The opportunity finally arrived to me on my birthday (November 5th). My birthday happened to fall on a Wednesday (one of my days off from work). I had been eyeing up the menu at Cure for weeks, debating if I should take a chance a request a reservation. Three weeks beforehand, I decided to take a chance and request a reservation through Cure’s website. A few days later, I received a response, and my reservation was confirmed.

I loved the atmosphere from Cure from I moment I walked in the door. Lots of wood panels on the walls; boars’ heads on the one dining room wall, shrubs on the other dining room wall, and little pig statues all over the place. Also, good lighting and good music.

The dish picture above was my Mom’s first course: butternut squash soup. The butter squash soup contained: butternut squash (of course), morcilla sausage, fried egg, smoked avocado, peanut and basil. I did sample a spoonful of my Mom’s first dish- best butternut squash soup I’ve EVER had!

Salumi plate
Small salumi plate from Cure

Here’s my dish #1- small salumi plate: ciccioli (rustic country pate made from pork that cannot be used for neither sausage nor salami), soppresatta,  lardo (cured pig back fat, bottom left-hand corner), duck speck and nduja (spreadable pork- orange, in the bottom right corner), grain mustard, black mustard and cornichons (Valentina, 2012). Let me tell you- best cured meats I’ve had in my entire LIFE and the best dinner dish of the night! I was a little disappointed in myself for not ordering the BIG salumi plate (lol). X) Everything was great, but my Mom and I particularly liked the nduja (especially spread on the bread slices with some mustard).

Strawberry Scrub with Pittsburgh Seltzer Works
Strawberry Scrub with Pittsburgh Seltzer Works from Cure

Who says you have to consume alcohol to have fun? I really loved this strawberry scrub drink with Pittsburgh Seltzer Works. Honestly, one of the best beverages I’ve had in my entire LIFE (it was so good, I had two). Also, very pretty! ❤

Spaghetti Carbonara
Spaghetti Carbonara from Cure

Here’s my Mom’s main course- spaghetti carbonara: salty pork bits, peas, egg, roasted garlic, soffritto and pecorino romano. As you can tell by the words and the image, not your typical spaghetti carbonara (so much better!). The smell of this dish was ethereally bacon-y! When my Mom couldn’t finish consuming this dish, I was all too happy to finish it. Soooooo task- I was sorry I didn’t order it! X)

Copper River Salmon
Copper River Salmon from Cure

Here’s my main dish- Copper River Salmon– hibiscus cured, ginger yogurt, rosehip honey, roasted cucumber, marcona almonds, orange, fernet, cilantro. The salmon was INCREDIBLE; I’ve had smoked salmon, grilled salmon, but never hibiscus cured salmon. All of the flavor combinations gave this dish a very exotic taste. I definitely sense a hint of asian influence.  I loved cutting up the salmon, forking a slice of cucumber on top, and dipping it all in the ginger yogurt and orange marmalade. Once in a while, I was lucky enough to include a marcona almond in a bite.

Close-up of the salmon
Dark Souffle cake with pistachio butter from Cure
Dark Souffle cake with pistachio butter from Cure

Eventually, it was time for dessert; my Mom and I chose the same thing for dessert. Dessert was…(*drum roll*): dark chocolate soufflĂ© cake with pistachio butter, sea salt, vin cotto and xxvo. The sweetness of the dark chocolate with the salty-ness and savory-ness of the pistachio were the perfect team. The dark chocolate soufflĂ© was light, yet almost fudge-y (like a molten lava cake). It was, in every sense of the word, a perfect chocolate dessert dish. 🙂

Dark Chocolate Souffle cake
Close up of the dark chocolate soufflé cake

Friends, if you ever have the chance to dine at Cure in Lawrenceville, you must go! You will not regret it, and you will be wowed at every second.

Three cheers to good food, fabulous art and cultural events,

-Friendly Pittsburgh Foodie

Valentina. (2012, June 24). Review: Cure. Retrieved from:

Cure’s website

Cure’s Facebook page

Cure’s Twitter page

Justin Severino’s Twitter page

D&T in the Burgh’s blog

D&T in the Burgh’s Twitter page