Sherman's Food Adventures: Pittsburg


*Now Closed*

In honour of the Penguins/Red Wings series, I decided to pay Pittsburg a visit today. No, not the city; rather the restaurant in Crystal Mall. Okay, I really am not paying homage to the hockey series, I thought it would just sound cool. What really happened was that I was going to grab some dinner with my parents tonight and they suggested Cafe Gloucester. Been there, done that many times. I just wanted something different; thus, Pittsburg. Much like Cafe Gloucester and the sort, Pittsburg is a Hong Kong style cafe. Yes, that's right, the same type of cafe that substitutes a wiener for a breakfast sausage. Yes, where they use ketchup for pasta sauce (not supposed to taste like it though). Yes, where they use processed cheese in place of real cheese. It all sounds appetizing right? Well, if done right, it can be pretty good. Done wrong and you really wonder who actually eats this stuff...

Most of the items at Pittsburg are available a la carte or in a set meal which includes beverage, soup and bread. We ordered a few items to share. Parents chose Portuguese Chicken with Rice and Ox Tongue Spaghetti. I chose the Pork & Chicken Cutlet and Salted Fish & Chicken Fried Rice as a set meal. I started with a Russian Borscht (Hong Kong style) and it was alright. It was more tomato soup than anything. Not a single beet to be found. The pork cutlet was more difficult to eat than a leather shoe. Mind you, I've never eaten a leather shoe. It was overcooked and tough. This is one of the few times I really wished they'd use baking soda to make the meat more tender. The chicken cutlet was only marginally better. It was also overcooked, or should I say over fried. Most parts of it resembled KFC chicken that has been sitting in the warmer too long. This dish was a perfect example when Hong Kong style food goes wrong. At least the pepper sauce was half-decent Mercifully, the fried rice was excellent. It was a pleasant surprise to see that the rice was perfect in texture and the flavour of salted fish radiated throughout the dish.

The Portuguese chicken was not bad. There were large pieces of tender chicken and potatoes nestled in a coconut creamy sauce. However, we still prefer the one at Gloucester and the Boss. Similar to the stock market these days, the meal fluctuated towards the bad again when we got to the spaghetti. It looked pretty good, with large pieces of tongue (mmm... I love tongue! Not what you think) and real tomatoes. However, it tasted like a 7-year old made it. It reminded me of a show when I was younger where 3 kids were given raw materials to make a dish for their parents. At the end of the show, the parents had to guess which dish their kid made by tasting all the creations. All I can say is ewww... Well, if you ever watched that show, you know the food always turned out bad. This ox tongue spaghetti tasted like someone squeezed ketchup on the pasta. I know it's supposed to be made with a ketchup base; but they really didn't dilute it enough or add enough sugar.

Food issues aside, one really positive thing is that they remembered our requests for no onions or peppers in our food. My mom is quite sensitive to these vegetables and once they cook them into the food, she really can't eat it. Moreover, the service was actually pretty decent and the servers were quite responsive to our requests. But when I have to use the word "ketchup" and "pasta" in the same sentence while describing flavour, there is a big problem.

The Good:
- Comfortable and spacious
- Service wasn't too bad

The Bad:
- Food on the whole is below average
- Washroom was filthy
- Not good value for the prices

Business Hours:
11:00am - 11:00pm (Sun - Thu)
11:00am - 12:00am (Fri & Sat)

Pittsburg Restaurant on Urbanspoon


KimHo said...

Quote from the "bad":

- Food on the whole is below average
- Not good value for the prices

I would have assumed that one trumps over the other but...

I have not step into one of these in quite some time already and I am not sure if I want to. The last HK Cafe I have been and remember the food was quite decent was Hugo in Cambie (where Curry King currently is). In the other few instances I have been to similar places, I just stick with things you can't go wrong (like the Portuguese baked chicken) or things that are more Chinese (almost anything with brisket). I guess you remember that AFTER the plate is in front of you... Thanks for taking the bullet!

Captain Rowina said...

now I want some salty fish and chicken fried rice... it's been so long!

Sherman Chan said...

Kim, I guess I was pretty disappointed in the food, had to emphasize the poorness of it all. I would add more negatives if I could! Portuguese Chicken is one of the staples of HK style cafes. If they screw that up, they shouldn't be in business. Damn ketchup sauce!!!

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