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  • Writer's pictureMax McCrory

Take Two at Smallman Galley

Updated: Jun 19, 2019

Smallman Galley's first set of restaurants set the bar high with juicy burgers and inventive toasts, among other tasty dishes. It was clear that Smallman Galley and its inhabitants were successful and showed us what we already knew: Pittsburghers love good food. In June the first round of chefs closed up shop, but hopefully they will soon be back on the Pittsburgh restaurant scene with their own ventures.

In the meantime, four new restaurants opened at Smallman Galley in June. I ventured down to the Strip District to give the new round of restaurants a try to see if they live up to their predecessors. I was not disappointed.

The summer rolls I ordered were incredibly light and airy. The lettuce, carrot, mint, and cucumbers were all fresh and had a nice crunch to them. The rice noodles were perfectly cooked and their chewiness contrasted well with the crisp vegetables. The mint also added a freshness that boosted the flavors of the other simple, but tasty vegetables. The peanut sauce added a sweet bit of flavor that I was craving. These summer rolls were a scrumptious start to my meal.

Colonia brings a wide array of Latin American dishes to Pittsburgh. They aim to showcase countries, such as Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, as well as Spain and Uruguay. A few of their dishes include the casamiento "wedding" bowl and pepino and jicama salad.

I decided on a pupusa as a friend recently introduced me to these El Salvadoran delights and now I can't stop eating them. Colonia makes their pupusas with thick corn tortillas and stuffs them with the protein of your choice. I opted for pork, which was juicy and rich. Many pupusas are usually stuffed with cheese too and I was missing this from Colonia's version.

The pupusa was topped with whey salsa, as well as jalapeños, cilantro, and fermented slaw. The jalapeños added a spicy kick to the milder, but crisp slaw. The fresh toppings allowed you to get a break from the richness of the pupusa. While these pupusas didn't quite live up to my expectations, they were delicious nonetheless.

I went for their acclaimed red pie, because you can never go wrong with a classic. All of Iron Born's pies are made using a two-day ferment time with USA organic flour. This means my pie had a crunchy crust, but a fluffy interior.

This pie was deliciously cheesy. While the brick cheese used for the base of the pizza was slightly sweet and mild, the parmesan on top added both a touch of salty and nutty flavor. The tomato sauce was also sweet, so that mixed well with the brick cheese and wasn't too overwhelming. The pepperoni on top was crispy and spicy, so it blended well with the other ingredients of this simple pizza. My only problem with this pizza was that it was enormous and too big for me to finish on my own, but that just means I could have pizza for dinner too. And is that really such a bad thing?

Brunoise is an eclectic mix blend of multiple cuisines. One of their main goals is to incorporate fresh and local ingredients into all of their dishes. A few items of note on their menu are their burger and risotto.

The inventive s'mores dessert is something to behold. The presentation is absolutely gorgeous and it's almost too beautiful to eat. Finally, once I (reluctantly) took my first bite, I was blown away by how the flavors and textures of this dish merged together.

The "flexible" chocolate was rich and added an intense amount of chocolatey flavor to this dish, while also being less hard than regular chocolate. It blended well with the milder, but irresistibly fluffy smoked meringue. My favorite thing about this dish? The sweet graham cracker ice cream from Millie's on a bed of crunchy graham cracker crumbs. The ice cream was light and complemented both the texture and the flavor of the chocolate and smoked meringue. I finished every last bite of this inventive dessert.

By the time I finished everything from all four restaurants, I was happily stuffed. I can't wait to go back to Smallman Galley over the next 15 months to eat my way through everything these chefs have to offer.

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