Restaurant Review: Café Notte a family affair!

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Owners of Cafe Notte (L) Debbie Santucci, David Mielnicki, Jerry Santucci

 

Café Notte is an eclectic, European-style restaurant and bar that feature a unique selection of tapas, appetizers and entrees as well as an incredible selection of specialty drinks, and an extensive wine list.

A family owned and operated business, Owners Debbie and Jerry Santucci, along with their son and General Manager David Mielnicki are the heart and soul of Café Notte.

 

As I walked into Café Notte, I immediately noticed that it was quite the opposite of a café. More reminiscent of a jazz supper club, with its spacious interior, roaring fireplaces, and live music…I was warmly greeted and escorted to my table by an energetic and smiling woman, who I later found out, was owner, wife and mom, Debbie Santucci.

Angie was my server. She was bubbly and didn’t hold back suggesting some of her favorite drinks from their drink menu.

I usually go for wine. Angie insisted I try the “Hendricks Cooler” made with Hendricks Gin….and I thought to myself gin? But let me tell you, it is one of the best mixed drinks I’ve ever had! It reminded me of a mojito except, it had the finish of juniper berry. It was very refreshing and light, while slightly sweet, and made by partial owner and son, David.

 

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Executive Chef Eric Leibering

 

While looking at the menu I was greeted at my table by Executive Chef Eric Leibering who confidently unveiled that he had a special secret 6 course menu in store for me.

As I took in my surroundings more, I noticed that the ceiling was like looking at the starry night sky, (for real though lol) and that the dining room was candlelit giving it an intimate and romantic feel. Then it was time to get down to business as my first course arrived…

 

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Course #1 Bacon & Eggs (quail eggs wrapped in bacon with Chinese bbq sauce) Baby Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce, Vietnamese Crepe, and a Lobster Soup Dumpling

The bacon was salty and crisp, the quail egg was rich, and the bbq sauce was sweet and tangy. I also really enjoyed the lobster dumpling. It was perfectly cooked, and the broth was flavorful. Next up was course number two.

Course #2 Soup & Sandwich (Grilled Pumpkin Soup with Bacon Chantilly & Foie)

As soon as I heard pb&j I started to get nervous because I’m not a fan of peanut butter… add foie gras or (duck liver) to the situation, and I couldn’t see it. But when I tasted it, it tasted just like a pb&j, and the soup was velvety smooth and was complimented well by the smokiness of the bacon chantilly. Course number three…

Course #3 Pecan Crusted Shrimp with Beet Carpaccio, Baby Arugula, & Goat Cheese

I really enjoyed this course. The shrimp were seasoned and cooked perfectly. The beets and arugula gave the dish an earthy feel, and the goat cheese vinaigrette lent some acidity to the dish making it very well balanced. Course number 4…

Course #4 BBQ Swordfish with Hoppin John Risotto Cake, Braised Collards, & Big Ass (Chef-named)

This dish was a homerun. The swordfish was flakey, and tender, the collards were seasoned to perfection and had a little heat, and when I broke open the risotto cake had black eye peas in it and the risotto was cheesy and still al dente. This dish had a southern feel, and at the same time was very refined. Course number 5…

Course #5 Dry Aged Rib Eye with Crunchy Pea Shoot & Carrot Salad, Mushroom Ragout, & Dijon Vinaigrette

The rib eye was sliced thin, and still medium rare, the salad was delicate and crunchy, the mushroom ragout was hearty, and the Dijon vinaigrette added an
interesting robust quality to the dish. Course number 6 was dessert……

Course #6 Berry Almond Tart, Basmati Rice Pudding with Apricot Puree and Pistachio Tuile, & if Oreos were Cheesecake

The tart was flakey, and buttery. The rice pudding was creamy, and subtle, and if Oreos were cheesecake they’d taste exactly like what I had tonight.

Bottom line, I give Café Notte, 3 stars for Atmosphere 4 stars for Service, and 4 stars for Food

Key: Superlative 5 stars, Excellent 4 stars, Very Good 3 stars, Good 2 stars,

Cafe Notte Restaurant
Address: 8070 Ohio River Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15202
Phone:(412) 761-2233
www.cafenottepgh.com/
Hours:
Monday      4:00–10:00 pm
Tuesday      4:00–10:00 pm
Wednesday 4:00–10:00 pm
Thursday  4:00–10:00 pm
Friday      4:00–11:00 pm
Saturday  4:00–11:00 pm
Sunday      Closed

As always feel free to hit me up on twitter with your culinary questions @EliseTDC Make it a FOOD weekend!

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