Thursday was a beautiful day in Pittsburgh. You know, the kind of day when the sun was shining, the breeze was breezing, and there was NO HUMIDITY. That's right, there was nothing muggy about Thursday. It was a true glimpse of Pittsburgh heaven if you ask me. Anyway, when I stepped ahhhht of Capristo Salon and Wellness Spa after getting my hair done, I had one thing on my mind: eating a good meal ahhhhtside. And, when I'm hungry for a summer lunch on Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside, there's only one place where I always want to go: the Harris Grill patio*.
Let's get one thing cleared up before I explain just why I think Harris Grill is divine... I love going ahhhht to lunch on my own. It's one of the few things that I find truly peaceful. I got into this habit in college (one of the better habits I picked up in college, and we will leave it at that), and it stuck. I'll pick up the copy of the latest City Paper, or grab my latest book club text, order a glass of wine and something tasty, and I simply sit there and enjoy myself. If the situation permits, I also people watch. It's America's 2nd most favorite pastime.
Harris Grill has a great patio. With plenty of tables, it's usually quite easy to snag one. There's a decent view of Ellsworth, but the wrought iron fence, and bricked side walls provide enough of an enclosure that you feel like you are in a dining establishment (which, to me, is a good thing).
On this particular day, I ordered a glass of moscato ($6) from an extensive 30-page "Grill Swill" binder of libations because something about Thursday's atmosphere on the patio prompted me to desire a sweet, white wine. The food menu is equally extensive, and someone (like me) can get lost easily within the menu because the names of the items and their corresponding descriptions are downright witty. An observer would have witnessed me laughing out loud when I stumbled upon an Arrested Development reference ("Remember: there's money in the banana stand"). In fact, that's one of the reason's why I enjoy going to Harris Grill so much... it has a funny menu with quality food.
Because I was off task, I asked Justin, my waiter (and a very good one at that) for help and he suggested that I order the "Fish Tacos!" (two soft tortillas filled with fish and slaw). So I did; and for my side dish, I opted for a salad with a fat free balsamic dressing.
Needless to say, it was a very satisfying lunch. Considering that I make my own amazing fish tacos at home, I am a tough critic. Harris Grill's version had just enough slaw to provide texture, and the spicy aioli added a kick to the light fish. The soft shell was lightly grilled, which was a nice touch. Pretty much, the exclamation point in the item's name is warranted. Also, the portion was the perfect amount to compliment the "Fish Tacos!" (see pic if you don't believe me).
If you plan on going to Harris Grill for drinks and apps, here are two other menu items that I endorse: "Harris' Hummus" and "Goat in a Boat." And then there's Bacon Night on Tuesdays... I have yet to conquer that beast.
(3 stars, 3/4)
*When it comes to summer dinner on Ellsworth, it's Soba without a doubt.