Sunday, September 12, 2010

PIA'S OF WASHINGTON, MY NEW FAVORITE RESTAURANT


Pia's of New Bern was my favorite restaurant until it closed in August.  How excited were we when Chef Pia invited my hubby and me to dine at her Washington restaurant as her guests.  After multiple disappointments with New Bern restaurants, we couldn't wait to have some more of Pia's quality New American cuisine with a Mediterranean flair.  The easy 40-minute drive from New Bern is a no-brainer.  Just follow Route 17 North.  A bypass is almost completed around Washington, so you have to make a left onto Business 17 to get onto Main Street, where the restaurant is.  A bright green sign on the left side of the street alerts you to the exact location.  

Chef Pia and her hubby, Van, greeted us warmly when we arrived.  Van manages the restaurant and does a superb job of ensuring that customers are well taken care of.  
The Washington restaurant is quite a bit larger than the New Bern location was.  The upstairs can be reserved for parties and the downstairs is split into a dining area and the bar.  The bar is quite large.
Chef Pia introduced us to Chef Brandon, who is in charge of the kitchen operations and is responsible for all the wonderful food that comes out.  He brought us the most wonderful appetizer:  Seared Ahi Tuna and Edamame Hummus served with spicy cucumber wasabi vinaigrette, pickled ginger and Nori seaweed salad.
(The dish was beautifully presented, but I'll take two of the presenter please.  Would you like to have him cook for you?)   Though my sister has raved about edamame for years, I must confess I had yet to taste it, but I was an immediate convert.  This is another of Pia's recipes I will be trying to duplicate at home.  And my adventure-averse hubby who hates trying new things, gobbled up the edamame and loved it.  Forgive me, Pia, but I must publish another photo of that gorgeous chef.  Just look at that cute smile.
Our salads came with the wonderful  champagne vinaigrette that we have both fallen in love with.
Pia ordered a tray of Mediterranean appetizers consisting of marinated Greek olives, Tzatziki, Baba Ghanouz, Feta, tomatoes and onions.  Warm pita slices were the serving vehicle for these tasty tidbits and again, we enjoyed it all.  It was the first time either of us had tasted Baba Ghanouz, a roasted smashed eggplant mixed with Tahini.  Ditto for the tzatziki (a cucumber-Greek yogurt dip).  Two more recipes to duplicate in my home kitchen.  I guess I'm going to be busy.
We were all filled up on appetizers when our main courses arrived, but we made a valiant effort to eat some more delicious food.  Guy ordered Veal Romano (Van's favorite).  It quickly became Guy's favorite, too.  A breaded veal cutlet is fried till crispy, then topped with chianti tomato sauce, aged provolone and grated Romano, baked in the oven and served with pasta, then finished with fresh herbs.  The veal portion was quite large, and more than half of  it came home with us for another dinner.
I couldn't resist the Maine Lobster and Butternut Squash Ravioli.  Poached Maine Lobster claw meat is sauteed in sage butter, then served over butternut squash ravioli and wilted arugula.  I'm drooling as I type this, because the dish was so divine, I felt that I had gone to heaven.  I can't wait to finish eating it today.
Although I had every intention of ordering some of Pia's wonderful baklava, I was just too full for dessert.
And speaking of being full, as we left the restaurant, I couldn't help but notice how many people had gradually filled the dining room.  Amazingly, the noise levels were quite comfortable.  Pia explained that she purposely decorated the walls with shaggy rug pieces to absorb sound.  Quite clever.
After spending a delightful evening with Pia, we said our goodbyes.  My hubby and I drove back to New Bern and started planning for our next dinner there.

You can spend less at other restaurants and get a sub-par meal that won't leave you satisfied.  Or you can pay the very reasonable prices at Chef Pia's for quality, exquisitely prepared meals that you won't soon forget. The choice is yours.  Pia's of Washington is located at 156 West Main Street, Washington, NC.  Phone 252-940-0600 for reservations or information.  Menus, prices and hours are available at Chef Pia's website.

2 comments:

  1. I have enjoyed your musings about food. They are inviting, instructional, and delicious! I definitely will try some of your restaurant suggestions when I am over that way!

    Someone IS listening...

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  2. See...now based on THIS blog I will be heading to Washington very soon! I missed out on PIA's when they were here in New Bern :( Everything looks wonderful!

    ReplyDelete

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