Late last week, my friend Kat and I met up for lunch at Casbah in Shadyside. Casbah is a Mediterranean restaurant (so they say…I don’t really think it is) and is part of Big Burrito’s group of six restaurants. I have only been to three of the six, but I can definitely say they have all been great experiences. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, so we chose to sit on the covered patio. I’m pretty sure in the summer they open it up a little more. It was a great choice – super sunny and warm with a nice breeze coming from the open doors.
We were given warm, fresh crusty bread shortly after we sat down. It was delicious!
There were lots of great-sounding cocktails to choose from, but I ended up with the Beet and Potatoes (Beet and tarragon infused Boyd and Blair vodka, orange juice, tarragon simple syrup), and Kat chose the Ruby Red Salty Dog (Bluecoat gin, fresh ruby red grapefruit juice, grapefruit salt). Wow…they were both delicious. My drink was sweet from the simple syrup and tasted very strongly of beets (in a very, very good way). It wasn’t too strong and was perfect for the beautiful spring day.
We ordered the smoked salmon appetizer which came sprinkled with onions, capers, and egg and was drizzled with aioli. Placed on top was a warm, creamy truffled potato pancake. We were both in heaven. This was the freshest smoked salmon I have ever had, and the additions to it just made the experience better. The potato pancake was perfect with the smoked salmon!!
For my entree (my free birthday meal – thank you mailing list!), I ordered the Piccolo Gusto Menu, which comes with a choice of soup, pasta, and half sandwich. This ended up being too much to eat, but I really wanted to try everything! The first course was a cup of Mushroom and Parsnip Puree. This was served hot with a dollop of rapini-almond pesto on top. This was very earthy and delicious. I think it also may be easy to recreate at home!
Next up to drink was a Lemon Spritzer – prosecco with a splash of lemoncello. Amazing! I think I am definitely going to make this at home as well. I don’t think you can get more of a refreshing drink. It was great.
The next course was a half sandwich of jumbo lump crab with lettuce and avocado on a ciabatta roll. I really liked this! You can’t tell from this picture, but there was a lot of crab on this sandwich. I could have gone without the bread, though. After all, there was still pasta to make room for! Ahh!
I meant to order the cauliflower risotto, but I accidentally blurted out this pasta dish. Not a problem though – it was wonderful. It was “Torchetti, hen of the woods mushrooms, roasted tomato, rapini, black truffle butter, walnuts, and fennel-olive oil ricotta.” Heavenly! The hen of the woods mushrooms were divine and tasted very meaty. Everything together made such a wonderful combination. This was something I could eat a giant bowl of for dinner.
Sadly, our indulgent hours-long lunch came to and end. As we left, we spotted Buffalo Blues with its front garage doors/windows wide open, so we had to stop in for a beer. We had a nice time enjoying the warmth and the breeze while kind of watching the basketball games. A nice ending to a great afternoon!