As a lover of BYOB restaurants and pasta-filled menus, I decided to choose E2 in Highland Park for dinner with my best friend. I had heard great things about E2 from I heart PGH who happens to know the chef and has dined there before. When I asked her what to order she said “everything is amazing”—so I had high expectations heading into dinner.
E2 is a cozy, little restaurant on Bryant Street that you wouldn’t realize was a spot to grab a bite unless you were looking for it. Located inside a house and with no neon sign and bright lights, E2 has a welcoming atmosphere that feels like you’re entering your friend’s dining room. After we were seated, our waiter promptly came over and opened our wine and explained the chalkboard menu to us. Nothing like an attentive waiter who comes to the table with the wine opener ready.
On the chalkboard, specials and desserts were listed along with something E2 calls “OMG” plates. These OMG plates consist of a variety of vegetables, meats, and cheeses all served with grilled focaccia bread. We decided to start with two OMG plates–the peppers in oil and the white beans. Brought to the table with the warm, grilled bread we piled on the toppings and were delighted by this non-fussy but perfect appetizer. Next time, I’d like to try an OMG plate from the meat and cheese side, too.
For dinner, I ordered the short rib ragu over the gemelli pasta. The huge bowl of pasta came to the table piping hot and smelling like heaven. It would have been impossible for me to eat this whole plate of pasta without needing a crane to lift me out of the restaurant but I devoured as much as I could. (And my folks promptly ate all the leftovers as soon as I got home.) The short ribs were so tender and the rich sauce coated the tube pasta making for an excellent main course. It was perfect for a cold night paired with a glass of red.
And even though my belly was full of pasta, I ordered the salted caramel apple crostata because when I see salt and caramel together, I can’t resist.. The crostata was served warm with cold vanilla ice cream and it was the perfect end to our delicious meal and easy conversation. My friend enjoyed her meal as well and we both decided as we walked out that we would be returning to E2 for another comforting meal in the cold.