The Forks blog

Schooled at lunch

Written by Bob Batz Jr. on


The other day I had a lovely long conversation with a reader who is a lady who lunches, and she wanted to take her lady friends out to the restaurant of the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute. I told her that, as she suspected, the school and the restaurant closed last year. But I was happy to tell her there was another place she could try.

The International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh has a restaurant called A Taste of Art, where the public is welcome to lunch while students learn.

The restaurant -- at 420 Blvd. of the Allies, Downtown, up on the ninth floor -- is open 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, through Tuesday, March 12.  Reservations aren't required, but you can get them and more information by calling 412-291-6532.

This quarter's menu strikes an Irish theme; peruse the whole thing below.

Taste of Art Winter 2013

Featuring the Cuisine of Ireland

Soups - $3.50

Split Pea & Ham – a hearty selection of split green peas and diced ham prepared with a mirepoix.*

Pear Parsnip – a seasonal blended selection of fresh pears and parsnip seasoned with shallots and thyme. Garnished with crispy pear skins.

Ginger Curry – a pureed combination of fresh ginger, curry leaves, coconut milk and red lentils. A vegetarian selection garnished with fried curry leaves.

Corn Chowder – a roasted corn stock with corn kernels, roasted red peppers, onions, Yukon Gold potatoes and rendered bacon.*

Appetizers - $4

Roasted Beet & Egg – roasted red beats with hard-boiled egg tossed in a dill and Dijon mustard dressing. Served on sourdough toast points with fresh dill.*

Sous Chef Selection – weekly offerings created by the Sous Chef.

Create Your Own Hummus – Select either a sun-dried tomato paste, kalamata olive spread or a roasted garlic and green pepper bland to combine with our house made hummus. Served with warmed pita bread.

Goat Cheese Souffle – goat cheese, parmesan, egg and herb souffle served with a red onion confiture.

Entree Salads - $7.50

01302013SmokedSalmonSmoked Salmon, Dill and Horseradish Tart [pictured at right] – a wedge of house cured salmon combined with fresh dill, capers, horseradish, sour cream and egg tart served with a side of greens.*

Farro Salad – Italian farro grain mixed with dried cranberries, cherries and apricots. Tossed in a red wine vinaigrette with honey and orange juice and placed on a bed of mixed greens.

Almond Crusted Brie with Cranberry – a wedge of brie almond crusted and fried placed on a bed of greens tossed in a champagne vinaigrette. Served with a mixture of dried fruits and walnuts.

Asian Steak Salad – chargrilled skirt steak placed on a bed of mixed greens and broccoli florets with a sesame, ginger and soy dressing and topped with crispy rice.*

Sandwiches - $7.50

Irish Corned Beef Brisket – house cured corned beef briskets, thinly sliced and placed on sourdough bread. Topped with a balsamic vinegar and mustard-based cole slaw.*

Sous Chef Selection – weekly offerings created by the sous chef.

Crab Salad Croissant – crab meat combined with cucumber, cilantro, cream, mayonnaise and a hint of rice wine vinegar. Placed on a croissant and topped with avocado slices.*

Vietnamese Tuna Burger – fresh ground tuna blended with cilantro, mint and soy. Encrusted with panko flakes, pan seared and topped with a shaved asparagus salad. Placed on kaiser roll with chive mayo.*

Chipotle Chicken – sautéed chicken breast placed on a kaiser and topped with a chipotle mayonnaise and a verde salsa. Grape chutney served on the side.*

Entrees - $7.50

01302013IrishLambStewIrish Lamb Stew [pictured at left] – traditional winter fare of lamb, barley, carrots, celery, diced onion and thyme and served with an Irish soda bread scone.*

Sous Chef Selection – weekly offerings created by the sous chef.

Sweet Potato Pierogies [pictured at top] – homemade pierogies filled with a mixture of sweet potato, sage and cream sauteed with onions and mushrooms.

Steak & Potato Flatbread – a grilled potato flatbread topped with marinated steak, caramelized shallots and mushrooms, crispy purple potatoes, arugula and fontina cheese.*

Charleston Shrimp and Grits – traditional Low Country fare of shrimp in a spicy brown sauce placed on a bed of stone-ground white grits.*

Scallop and Leek Stir-Fry – slice sea scallops, leeks and red peppers stir-fried with soy sauce and a hint of sherry. Placed on a bed of steamed rice and garnished with toasted pine nuts.*

Desserts - $4

Irish Cream Cheesecake – homemade chocolate chip cookie crust topped with an Irish Cream, cream cheese and chocolate “mousse” and garnished with raspberries and creme fraiche.

Dessert du jour – created by the sous chef.

01302013RicottaIceCreamRicotta Ice Cream [pictured at right] – homemade ricotta ice cream served in a chocolate pizzelle bowl topped with chopped pistachios.

Dark Chocolate Champagne Cake – a chocolate chiffon cake with chocolate chips, dried cherries and sparkling wine. Served with a cherry and champagne reduction sauce.

Grapefruit Sorbet – a tangy house made sorbet made with ruby red grapefruits and garnished with macerated kiwi and candied grapefruit peels.

*Consuming raw and undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, or eggs may increase your risk of a food borne illness, especially if you have a medical condition.

Joseph W. Brown photos (he's an AIP photography student and apparently a very good one -- thanks!)

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