Pittsburgh Restaurant Week: Alma Pan Latin Kitchen

January 2013

The Regent Square neighborhood of Pittsburgh boasts the every-run-is-a-longer-workout-once-you-get-lost-in-the-woods Frick Park, an independent movie theater, tiny shops, a main drag with an old charm and a few noteworthy restaurants. Having already fallen for Root 174, I was due for another dining adventure in the neighborhood, and Pittsburgh Restaurant Week provided just the opportunity. Since I do spend a good deal of my time wordpressing, it was appropriate that this opportunity was a meal dedicated to Pittsburgh bloggers. For the winter restaurant week, our host was Alma Pan-Latin Kitchen.

Alma Caldo and Fritura

Canja Sopa
Alma’s take on this classic Brazilian rice and chicken soup

Frituras de Maiz Tierno
Fritters stuffed with arugula and grilled corn, served with plantain hash and roasted poblano aioli

Alma Ceviche and Pork

Ceviche de Hongos
Mushrooms, green onions, pink beans, and avocado marinated in fresh citrus juices

Chuletas de Puerco con Pina y Batata
Grilled pork tenderloin topped with cilantro and jalapeno, served with pineapple and white sweet potato puree

In keeping with restaurant week perks, my Special One and I each ordered from the prix fixe menus and then shared a little bit of everything. Though the starter soup packed comfort and spice, two essentials for a place whose name means soul, the entrees were Alma’s stronger suit in this medley. Corn fritters with the sweet accent of plantains and pork with the bold flavor of the herb and jalapeno sauce could easily occupy the room one typically reserves for dessert. However, I happen to place a very high priority on dessert. I was justly rewarded with Alma’s biscochito. Though the name may refer to a little cake, this dessert was rich beyond its size!

Alma Bizcocho

Biscochito de Chocolate con Dulce de Leche y Helado de Canela
Warm chocolate cake with a sweet center, served with cinnamon ice cream

Alma’s owner, James Wallace also founded Pittsburgh’s first Ethiopian restaurant Abay (of which I am long overdue for a return visit). He has a knack for bringing really exotic and authentic cuisines to Pittsburgh, but what I currently find most exciting about his business ventures is his new push to support the local community and local agriculture in the process. This objective comes with its fair share of obstacles for cuisines that feature many tropical ingredients, but Jamie’s wife’s background as an environmental engineer certainly adds a positive push to this momentum. This was a great intro to the restaurant, and I will surely return. Next time I’ll have one of my City Dining Cards in tow!

Alma Pan-Latin Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Leave a Reply