Legume: A Little Too Neutral

November 2011

Remember when I sadly had to remove a third plate from the Dinner for Purple Lips?  To make up for the DayQuil fog that prevented her from attending, Sara offered to take me to dinner at the establishment of my choice.  As a foodie who is concerned with food sourcing, I was long overdue for a visit to Legume.  The closest I had ever come was stepping into the restaurant’s previous location to find every table occupied with no opening in the foreseeable future.  With a reservation securing a table for two, this was my night to experience the rockstar of the Pittsburgh locavore scene.

Legume has come up in conversation a lot lately after reopening at its new, bigger locale.  The most common reaction I had heard was “the food is really good, but the ambiance is super weird.”  I wasn’t sure what ambiance would create such a unanimously ambiguous yet uncomfortable feeling.  Then I went there.

The food was good!  The ambiance was weird!  What others may have had trouble pinpointing, I would conclude in three words:  retirement home cafeteria.  Upon discussing it, another friend concluded her review in two words:  funeral home.  Neither of those describe the ideal backdrop to a sustainably sourced meal cooked with care and expertise.  Had I been charged with drawing my vision of the restaurant before being seated, I would have filled in burnt sienna walls, rustic wood grains, maybe a warm cinnamon-orange color or an olive green with rusting metal and leaf like sculptures.  None of that existed.

But the food really was good!

We began with the Duck Liver and Quince Mousse.  We put a small dent in the ramekin, which the waitress took to mean we were disappointed.  Quite the contrary, but this raises a question in my mind, just how much pate are people capable of eating?!?

My picture speaks very poorly for the Sweet Potato Ravioli with Brown Butter, Sage and Greens.  The greens really contrasted the sweetness of the sweet potato, and the brown butter enhanced the sweet and savory mix of the flavors.  I could probably eat this autmnal dish all the fall long.

We split both the Brasied Veal Breast with Sauteed Greens, Potato-Celeriac Smash (above) and the 12oz Rib Steak with Red Wine Sauce and French Fries (not pictured), and as a girl who grew up on really high quality beef, I felt right at home!  Both were amazingly tender, flavorful and paired well with their accompanying vegetables and sauces.  Buy the beef!


First of all, thanks to Sara for a lovely meal!

Second of all, I would gladly eat at Legume again, but I might bring my own rustic, wooden surface and a burnt sienna backdrop to make the immediate ambiance match the quality of the food.  I just might.

This Post Has 2 Comments

    1. withthegrains

      The color of delight contrasted with dark greens! 😉
      I’ll post the color version to twitter in the near future.

Leave a Reply