Echo was a bit of a drive for us, so appetites were big and expectations high when we recently visited this restaurant. Earlier in the week, Steve attended Pittsburgh Magazine’s Best Restaurants taste-testing, but Echo wasn’t at the event. We were trying it simply based on online reviews and the fact that it was labeled “gluten-free friendly” on Urbanspoon.
Outside, Echo looked structurally large. Could the place be tastefully filling both in décor and food?
The Entrance: When we entered the open foyer, we were immediately made to feel welcome. To the right, was a curved, hostess table, and two women were there to greet us. “Steve?” one woman asked, looking at my husband. Because we were their late reservation (and had called ahead to let them know we would be even later), she made an accurate and favorable guess and introduction. We were taken through a doorway, back behind the bar to one of the several dining rooms and seated at a semi-private two-top. (Side-plate: Immediately, I flashed back to the prior weekend when we dined at a place with reservations and were seated in the middle of a loud birthday party by a clueless young hostess when there were other available seats in the adjoining room.) I already felt more relaxed in this space, despite it being large enough to create an echo. Just the décor and consideration of the greeter and hostess demonstrated attention to detail.
This was confirmed when our server arrived, introduced herself, and acknowledged that she was aware that I needed to eat gluten-free. Communication between hostess and servers?! What a concept!
The Cuisine: Our server mentioned that everything at Echo is locally bought and made from scratch. Later on, she told us that there is actually a field adjacent to the restaurant where herbs, fruits, and vegetables are grown. They also have three hives on-site for honey! In addition, their meat is locally raised.
A Chef’s Tasting Menu was available for $65, additional $25 with wine pairing. Although it sounded unique and appealing, we decided upon other tempting options.
For starters, we split the Spring Greens Salad and Copper River Salmon, prepared ceviche-style.
I decided on Filet Mignon with “asparagus, wilted cucumber, warm potato salad of Yukon gold potatoes, crème fraîche, tarragon demi-glace.”
Steve ordered the Seared Ahi Tuna Medallions with “grilled romaine lettuce, black bean sauce, melon salsa, arbol pepper oil.”
For dessert, we enjoyed the delectable Chocolate Hazelnut Bombe, which consisted of “frozen praline mousse in a bittersweet chocolate shell, served with orange-vanilla mascarpone cream.” Yes, you need to experience this.
The food was remarkable. It was artfully displayed and provided just the right portion size for two hungry diners, not to mention was flavorful, well-paired with sides, and offered incredible texture.
The Atmosphere: Echo is sleek, modern, cool, and rich feeling with dark hardwood floors, silver accents, recessed and high ceilings, which adds depth to the various rooms and seating options, including a small outside dining area. Our server graciously took us on a tour of the restaurant’s design after our meal, including the banquet rooms, complete with Swarovski chandeliers, and the kitchen and prep areas, where chefs and servers moved from the various stations and rooms, such as the pastry room and meat room.
When we were there, there was live musical entertainment, which added to the ambiance. The bar also boasts a bistro area for simpler plates and tastes, such as sandwiches.
Because Pittsburgh Plate always mentions the restrooms so that you are never caught off-guard, we gladly report that Echo’s were clean, updated, and in balance with the established style.
After dinner and our tour, we decided to enjoy a final drink in the bar area. Although I had Malbec to drink and Steve had Guiness, Echo does offer over 40 different beers.
This was a restaurant worth the drive for anyone in the Pittsburgh area.