When we first walked in to NOLA on the Square, we were hopeful that a great meal would await us. The ambiance was inviting and chic, and the restaurant was buzzing with business people on their lunch breaks. There were many classic, Creole-inspired items on the menu like gumbo, crawfish dishes, po boys, a muffaletta, and jambalaya straight from New Orleans.
The menu descriptions all sounded delicious and promising. However, we felt that the food and the service overall just fell flat.
Signature Sandwiches Were a Let Down
We ordered a shrimp po boy and the signature NOLA burger. Both came with voodoo fries, which we expected to be at least somewhat spicy but weren't at all. The texture of the fries was somewhat dry and yet mushy. The burger was supposed to come with roasted red peppers and onions, a remoulade, and bacon, which seems like a recipe for contrasting flavors and textures. However, the flavors just weren't there. The burger was basically just a big hunk of pretty boring, relatively unseasoned meat.
The shrimp po boy, unfortunately, wasn't much better. The battered shrimp tasted somewhat fishy, and the slaw was just carrots and cabbage that needed some kind of dressing. There was supposed to be spicy papaya sauce on the sandwich, which sounded like it would have really amped up the dish. However, the sauce was either not there at all or seriously lacking in flavor. I could see how with a few tweaks this would be a great sandwich and lacked in the same spots like the NOLA burger.
Avoid the Weekday Lunch Rush
Finally, the service was uncomfortable – our waitress kept interrupting our conversation mid-sentence which was just awkward. There is a time and place to save time in the busy weekday lunch rush, and this is not it.
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Overall, we felt that the menu descriptions were somewhat misleading. Dishes just didn't taste like what you'd expect from the descriptions, and, for that matter, just didn't taste like much of anything at all. Perhaps a visit on the weekend when they are not completely overwhelmed from the downtown business traffic may produce a better experience as our dishes seemed to get shortchanged on what was promised on the menu.
NOLA on the Square is located at 24 Market Square in the heart of Market Square in Downtown Pittsburgh.
Looking for more restaurants in Market Square? Check out The Original Oyster House (Pittsburgh's oldest restaurant), The Yard Pittsburgh, City Works, or Pizzaiolo Primo for more options! Or, for more reviews of Pittsburgh restaurants, click the previous link to be taken to our directory of every review on Discover the Burgh!