Last Updated on January 21, 2020 by Angie
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Located inside the trendy Ace Hotel in East Liberty, Whitfield is more than just a hotel restaurant. With James Beard award-nominated chefs at the helm, an emphasis on farm to table cuisine, and a killer brunch, Whitfield is a dining destination.
We recently stayed at the Ace Hotel and of course had to check out Whitfield for both breakfast and dinner. As the restaurant and hotel are located in an old YMCA building, much of that character and vibe still remain. It gives the hotel an ultra-hip feeling but feels a little incongruent with a fine dining restaurant like Whitfield.
Locally Sourced Steaks are a Must at Whitfield
The Whitfield menu focuses on locally sourced steaks that are dry-aged in house, but also has a number of fish and chicken options as well as a complete vegetarian tasting menu.
For dinner we perused the “butcher's menu” with its selection of cured meats and accompaniments. We were tempted on ordering the butcher's plate with different cured meats, pickles, mustards, and pates, but were also drawn to a few of the appetizers. We decided to split the difference and order just a few of the items from the butcher's menu (hot shots and bacon jam) and an appetizer (the trout mousse).
The hot shots were pickled cherry bomb peppers stuffed with capicola and aged provolone and drizzled with olive oil. They were spicy but sweet, and rich from the cheese and meat. The bacon jam wasn't quite what we were expecting; it wasn't sweet like a jam but more smoky and savory like a pate or spread. Once we realized that, we enjoyed it spread on the accompanying grilled bread slices.
We loved the trout mousse with its creamy richness and crisp bits of pickle relish on top. The accompanying salt and vinegar chips were insanely addicting – they had the tiniest, most delicate waffle cut and were satisfyingly crispy.
We had heard so much about the steaks here that we of course had to order the 24 oz. bone-in NY strip steak. Although that would have been enough food for the two of us, we also ordered the duck breast.
One bite in to the duck and we regretted nothing – the crispy skin and tender, juicy meat were perfection. It was served with potato puree which was luxuriously richer and denser than regular mashed potatoes (I'm sure it had a stick of butter in one serving but it was so worth it). Bok choy and honeyed carrots provided some balance, while a meaty gravy tied everything on the plate together.
But if you're not gluttons like us and must choose only one entree, definitely make it the NY strip steak. This beautiful hunk of meat came to the table sliced off the bone which made for quite a presentation. It was easily two inches thick with a beautiful char and a well-seasoned crust. We definitely got a hint of delightful funkiness from the dry-aging. It was one of the best steaks we've ever had in Pittsburgh!
We could have just eaten the steak like that, but it did come with a sauce and two sides. We chose the Bordelaise which was a rich wine-based sauce that made the steak even more over-the-top.
The tallow-poached fingerling potatoes were a fine side choice but the blistered shishitos were a better option with a creamy sheep's milk feta and lemon topping them off.
A Return Visit for Breakfast is a Must
Breakfast the next day was equally wonderful. The Whitfield breakfast is their take on eggs benedict with dollops of chimichurri adding a twist to the flavor as well as a beet and potato rosti on the side. Make sure to add a few dashes of the peach and ghost pepper house-made hot sauce – it's insanely good!
The biscuits and mushroom gravy were our favorite breakfast dish. Pea shoots, grilled scallions, and lemon brought vegetal, smoky, and bright flavors to the intensely rich mushroom gravy. And of course, the biscuits were buttery, perfectly salty, and tender. Great drip coffee from Stumptown helped revive us from our food-induced stupor.
Whether you're a guest at the Ace Hotel or just looking for a perfectly executed brunch or steak dinner in a unique atmosphere, Whitfield delivers.
Whitfield is located at the Ace Hotel at 120 S Whitfield Street in East Liberty.
Looking for more great restaurants in Pittsburgh? Check out our directory of the city's best spots at the previous link!