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Munch goes to Dish

Friday, October 27, 2000


Oh, the different places that Munch has munched.

Restaurants, of course, beyond count, but "restaurant" is just the beginning.


Dish is located at 128 S. 17th St., South Side (412-390-2012). Hours are 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Mon.-Sat.


Munch also has dined at diners, delis, drive-ins, kitchens, lunch counters, cafeterias and cafes.

Not to mention caffes, as they're sometimes spelled, and ristorantes, and trattorias. Think of the pizzerias!

What about the bistros? Bakeries? Buffets?

Of course, there've been bars, grills, and "bar & grill"s, as well as pubs, taverns, roadhouses, lounges, inns and saloons. Juice and sushi bars, too. Brewpubs, brew houses, even an ale works. Coffee shops and coffeehouses, as well as teahouses and a cybercafe.

Snack shops, sub shops, sandwich shoppes, a sandwich board. Steakhouses, as well as houses of noodles and oysters, pasta and pancakes. A spaghetti warehouse.

An "eatery" can be named as generally as that, or as specifically as a "steakery" or "creperie." And even in Pittsburgh, you can eat at examples of all of the aforementioned, plus others, including "fish grottos" and even a churrascaria, which is a South American rotisserie barbecue joint.

Yet until last weekend, Munch never even had heard of, much less eaten at, an osteria.

Not even Munch's best foodie friend knew what one of those is, but the prospect of some new good vittle had her immediately researching it on the Internet.

In seconds, she was feeding Munch tidbits like "It's Italian, probably Tuscan" for "something like a tavern." Lots of restaurants use it in their names, but the term's specific distinction was more elusive. She quoted one source as defining it as "wine bar." Another translated the word as "gathering place."

That's all the information we needed to go check out Dish, an "osteria and bar" that just quietly opened on a South Side side street.

We got there so early that the sign wasn't up, and some of the remodeling wasn't finished, including the kitchen, and so we -- Munch misfortune! -- we couldn't get anything to eat. But the work that's done -- big windows, chic paint -- is quite handsome, like the ponytailed man behind the bar who introduced himself as the owner, a Sicilian who came here with his wife after working in the business in New York.

He was apologetic that he's not yet serving food, but softened the blow by describing how his menu will be like that of the osterias in Northern Italy: Simple, delicious dishes like pasta and fried calamari, served in smaller portions, a la Spanish tapas.

Our mouths were salivating just listening as we sipped a glass of unusual Sicilian wine and a draft Sierra Nevada Pale Ale from a very sophisticated lineup of 10 beer taps. Munch likewise was impressed by the array of nearly 30 bottled brews.

But what we really liked about this gentleman is how he plans to not have any TVs or video games in his bar or the cozy, adjacent dining room. Dish, he said, is meant to be an adult gathering place where people can sit and talk and relax.

So, that's an osteria. And Pittsburgh has one, or soon will, when the kitchen opens next month or so.

Munch couldn't wait to tell you the news, and will keep checking back, even if it means having to have a couple more drinks, so as to report on the food when it's ready.

In the meantime, when it comes to different places to eat, we still haven't got one of everything.

Munch just read about a restaurant that just opened on New York's Bleecker Street that serves 45 varieties of risotto -- that is, rice combinations such as salami and parsley, asparagus and saffron, and more.

Its name?


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