Dining out

Centrally located on East Carson Street in South Side (2017 E. Carson), the 1889 Caf? features a creative blend of Continental, French, and Greek cuisine with a dash of Italian flavor. The oak-paneled walls, small tables; and white tablecloths help create a truly intimate dining experience. The restaurant seems to draw a regular crowd of both families and couples with ease, and the location of the bar within the restaurant creates a modest division between the two crowds. The two-person tables located next to the large front windows amplify the city dining experience by giving a close-up view of people walking by. The noise is low, allowing for intimate conversation and making it difficult to believe that the restaurant is actually located near the heart of the Steel City.

In the 1889 Caf?, it is easy to get carried away by the warm atmosphere and stellar service. Here, the imagination is capable of running free, one imagines be ing transported to a small restaurant in Greenwich Village that has yet to be exploited by the press. The casual surroundings allow for comfortable dining by people of all age groups. Its relatively inexpensive menu makes this place a great change from typical chain-restaurant college-style dining.

To start, try the artichoke casserole. The exquisite blend of artichoke hearts, garlic, and Romano cheese surprise the taste buds, leaving the mouth in a state of satiated delight. Served with crispy fried pita chips, the artichoke casserole has such great presentation and taste that one?s palate would be content with just that. It is a relief to find something prepared so meticulously in a city known for its ?fries on everything? cuisine. Another option is to begin your meal with the French onion soup. The cheese-decked soup seems to be among the city?s best, with its beef-infused flavor and just the right amount of salt.

When deciding on an entr?e, the New York strip steak is the leanest and best cut of meat that I have seen for its price in the Pittsburgh area. Fire-grilled to a medium-rare perfection, the steak is very satisfying with the slightly charred outside and a warm, pink and tender center. If you are not one for steak, the chicken Louisianne is just as interesting with its tender chicken pieces, fresh tomatoes, and vegetables. A house salad with a choice of dressing is included with every dinner and can be served at any point during the meal. The only low point of the meal was the bland, lukewarm side of mixed vegetables, but they were not an integral part of the meal anyway.

The wait staff is knowledgeable, personable, and pleasant. The meal was tailored to request, and the wait staff provided an ample amount of time and space, making the overall dining experience very pleasurable. It left the feeling or being neither ignored or rushed. The course of the meal was very well-timed. The coffee was hot and the beverage refills timely, but did not create the feeling of being supervised.

The 1889 Caf? is a refreshing dining experience. For those who don?t want to break the bank but do want to get away from the typical Carnegie Mellon dining experience, the 1889 Caf? is the place to be.

Grade: A