A little slice of Parisian paradise recently opened in Pittsburgh and its name is Poulet Bleu. This latest venture from owners Richard Deshantz and Tolga Sevdik lives up to (and perhaps even surpasses) the exquisite taste and atmosphere of its older siblings Butcher and the Rye and täkō (one of my personal favorites).
Upon approaching the restaurant, there is a darling courtyard with a fountain and yellow striped awnings. It just screamed France to me. I can bet that come spring it'll be filled with tables and chairs for guests to enjoy their meal al fresco with the fountain burbling in the background.
Entering Poulet Bleu's space, I was blown away by the gorgeous interior. The tables and countertops are a white shiny, marble and there are brilliant brass accents all around the restaurant. The wooden benches, the plethora of flowers, and checkered blue napkins will make you feel right at home. Those elements, along with the flowery wallpaper and blue patterned tile all come together to give the space a Provencal feel that I've never seen in another Pittsburgh restaurant.
This was my first time trying escargot and the prospect was more than a little daunting. But, when our waiter brought them as a gift from the owner, I knew I had no choice but to try one. They were surprisingly flavorful with an intense amount of garlic breadcrumbs. The texture was very unexpected. The escargot were chewy and drowning in butter. I don't typically love foods with this kind of texture, but the savory flavor made up for it.
Steak frites is one of my favorite menu items anywhere. Poulet Bleu offers three different cuts of steak and a variety of sauces, so you'll never be bored with their steak frites. I chose the filet mignon with béarnaise sauce, as it's a classic. The steak was cooked to medium rare perfection and fell apart at my knife. Every bite of steak was deliciously juicy. The béarnaise was the perfect complement, as its creaminess enhanced the succulent steak. The frites of course were light and crispy, perfect for dipping in the béarnaise.
With the little room left in my stomach, I decided to order dessert. It was 100% the right decision. The profiteroles were absolutely heavenly. The pastry shells that the vanilla ice cream rested in were sweet and fluffy, like biting into a cloud. The French vanilla ice cream was luscious and with every bite I sighed in satisfaction. The chocolate sauce, dripping everywhere was rich and full of flavor. The chocolate beads on top added a crunchy texture to the otherwise airy dish. All of the flavors and textures came together perfectly.
There were so many other delicious dishes that I sampled, but didn't mention, like the meticulously crafted cheese plate, the cheesy French onion soup, and the decadent chips and French onion dip topped with caviar. It's an extensive menu and I simply didn't have room to eat everything. Next time, I suppose.
The understated elegance of Poulet Bleu combined with its incredibly diverse and authentic Provencal menu will definitely have me (and many others) coming back for more.