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or, The Whale, Pittsburgh

The two struck a deal — Schroeder would help fund Merchant, which also opened in , and Marron would sign on as co-owner and executive chef of the hotel restaurant. Marron oversees the big picture but mostly has left the Whale kitchen in control of chef de cuisine Brooks Hart, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and the former executive chef of the traveling pop-up restaurant series Dinner Lab. The two-level restaurant is cozy, particularly by day.

The chairs are exceptionally comfortable, with a mix of primary colors that pull together and enhance the energy of the cool-toned wallpaper. I appreciate the choice in plateware, which feels very New England cottage cozy, something that a fashionable grandparent might have in their house.

Dayboat scallops are caramelized on the outside and fork-tender within, bolstered with butternut squash caponata — golden-hued and earthy sweet — as well as black radish with earthy funk, green and sunny sunflower shoots and crisp golden potato chips. I also loved the whole trout, which was juicy and with a subtle veneer of smoke flavor. It was served with parsnips precisely the right vegetable to be eating on a cold night prepared three ways — roasted, pureed and crispy chip, all of which, as Larry David might say, were pretty, pretty good.

Ordering fish is also a smart choice when dining during the day. Tangy and creamy house-made tartar sauce provides a good foil for both the fish and the accompanying fries.

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Otherwise, you might be stuck with dishes that feel as if the kitchen is slacking with meticulous recipe testing before adding items to the brunch menu. The bread, thick Texas toast, was soggy, greasy and not adequately toasted. Then the sandwich fillings fell out every time I took a bite. Sometimes, dishes are pretty good but also off-theme.

Or, The Whale - Wikipedia

Charring highlighted the sweetness of the tomatoes, playing against the heat of the horseradish in an excellent sauce. Cod chowder consisted of a small portion of broiled filet in a creamy, but not at all heavy, broth studded with crunchy sunchoke root, tender potato and delightfully chewy bacon. Classic New England-style chowders are sublime, but here Marron successfully upgraded every component while maintaining all the qualities that make a chowder a chowder.

Whale jumps out of nowhere during sight seeing tour.

Impressively presented with the deboned meat crossed over the bare bone, the rib was supple and rich with melted fat, but somewhat marred by the remnant of silver skin running down the back. But then, perfectly charred edges complemented the more tender center, almost like the burnt ends of great barbecue.

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  • Or, the Whale Review - Prime Seafood Dining in Downtown Pittsburgh!

Sign up to get the freshest content sent right to your inbox. Switch to the mobile version of this page. CP photo by Vanessa Song Red-spotted snapper with crab mac-and-cheese and creamed-spinach gratin. We knew that Or, the Whale, had the same management and most of the same cocktails, and figured they would be equally delicious. We tried the Queen's Park Swizzle which was like an amped up mojito made with really good rum Bacardi 8-Year , minus the club soda, and plus two kinds of bitters. We also tried the Atlantic Specific, an interesting tequila-based drink that also included sherry, Contratto Apertivo, a gin liqueur, and orange and chocolate bitters.

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You might think that with so many contrasting flavors going on that this drink could be overwhelming, but this was one of those rare cocktails where you could taste each individual component and they all worked together harmoniously. The meal started with some complimentary foccacia-style bread- a crunchy top layer dotted with lemon zest and honey gave way to a soft, spongy interior.

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To start we ordered the wood-fired octopus appetizer with olives, potatoes, and arugula that was drizzled with a garlicky chimichurri sauce. We could have eaten an entire plate of this octopus, it was so good. The sauce really complemented the charred flavor of the octopus well, and the meat itself was deliciously tender.

If you are a fan of octopus at all, this one is a must try. There were several specials of the day including a whole sea bass and a pork belly dish that sounded insanely good, but we decided to stick with some of the regular menu options. To combat the cold weather we opted for the fish stew, and because I have a love affair with them, the scallops.

Or, The Whale

You know how sometimes when you order a seafood soup you are fishing around in the broth, just hoping to find a piece or two of seafood? The fish stew here was the exact opposite of this, filled to the brim with monkfish, clams, mussels, and shrimp. A rich, almost creamy tomato broth held all of these goodies along with a few toasted bread hunks for dipping. The scallops were some of the plumpest, juiciest ones I've ever had, perfectly cooked with a nice buttery crust on the outside and a melt-in-your-mouth center. These gems sat on a smooth butternut squash puree, and were topped with a few sunflower shoots and fingerling potato crisps.

The potato crisps may seem an odd addition but they gave a great textural contrast to the rest of the creamy dish. Last, but not least, we tried the creme brulee which was everything I never knew I wanted in a creme brulee dish.