I am forever behind on write-ups of places and spaces I have recently dined. Here are some thoughts on (semi) recent visits to two new-to-me spots; Vivo in Sewickley and Gypsy Cafe in the Southside.
Vivo – Sewickley
I ended up at Vivo (432 Beaver Street, Sewickley) after a classmate of Ben’s (hi Wynne!) discovered my blog and was surprised to see Ben’s smiling face plastered amongst the pages. She extended an invite to try Vivo on a recent Friday night. Ben and I made the drive to Sewickley, easily found parking, and found Wynne and her husband seated at a great table. I loved the vibe of Vivo – somewhat minimalistic (whites, blacks, greys) but warm, with great light fixtures and a pretty backlit bar. Even though Vivo does have a liquor license, they welcome you to BYO, which is what we did.
To start, Ben and I ordered the short rib appetizer to share. This was really good. The portion was hearty and a great thick, slightly sweet, gooey, crunchy crust covered the meat. The table also tried to the marrow appetizer – it was novel, tasty and rich but not something I think I could eat alot of!
For my entree, I ordered the scallops. The meal came with roasted baby carrots and a black bean/succotash-like side (note: we dined about a month ago and it seems the menu has already changed, FYI). While my meal was very good (the roasted carrots were exceptional – sweet and perfectly crisp/tender), I think it fell a little short of my expectations after the appetizer. Nevertheless, the conversation, ambiance, and service were great and I thoroughly enjoyed my evening at Vivo. If I lived closer, I would definitely give it another try – just not sure it’s worth the drive from Shadyside on food alone. There was also an outdoor seating space that looked pretty amazing though. Maybe I’ll head back next summer 🙂
Gypsy Cafe – Southside
A month or so ago, Ben and I enjoyed a Thursday night meal at Gypsy Cafe (Corner of 14th and Bingham Street, Southside) using an about to expire Groupon. We arrived around 6PM and were barely seated due to reservations. This place must be more popular than I thought!
After getting settled and ordering drinks (a Magic Hat and a zinfandel) we perused the menu. According the their website, the Gypsy Cafe menu offers “a path through Europe, offering an eclectic selection of homestyle dishes“. Fair enough. I ordered the Szekely Goulash, a dish of slow cooked pork, onions bacon and saurkraut, spiked with Hungarian Paprika and served over noodles. Ben ordered a pasta, peppers, and sausage based dish that no longer appears to be on the seasonal menu.
Our meals arrived quickly and I enjoyed my comforting bowl of noodles and slowly braised meat. The dish had a slight kick but nothing overpowering. The portion was very generous. Our entrees came with a nice little house salad.
I am not sure Ben was overly enamored with his dish – it was a bit spicier and contained almost too much sausage. Overall, I am not sure how I feel about Gypsy Cafe. I liked my dish but it’s not something I would generally crave or seek out. The space was a bit more sparse and casual than I anticipated.
Nevertheless, I am glad we tried Gypsy Cafe and would love to go back for dinner and a tarot card reading. There was nothing really wrong with the food and it is certainly a unique spot but I am just not sure where a Hungarian leaning restaurant fits into my normal dining out routine.
Also, I recalled recently reading something about the Gypsy Cafe closing or being for sale. A little googling turned up this Pittsburgh Business Times article from August that speaks to the possible sale of Gypsy Cafe. I am not sure of the status of the sale at this point. In anyone has any info, drop me a note in the comments!