Brasserie 33 maintains a distinguished reputation as a mainstay for classic French cuisine. Now under new management, the dining bastion is reclaiming the culinary identity that earned it foodie fanfare for years. Executive chef Omar Mediouni and the staff dot pristine white tablecloths with rich, meat-centric dishes that encapsulate a menu of classic French cuisine. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review lauded Brasserie 33 for its authenticity, citing a French-speaking wait staff and palate-popular selection of classic dishes, such as escargot brushed with garlic and parsley butter sauce and seafood bouillabaisse brimming with salmon, shrimp, and calamari. A stone-topped bar runs parallel to the neatly kempt tables that line the narrow brasserie. During daylight hours, diners are awash in natural light pouring through the front windows, and during the evening, gourmand moonbeams filter through the glass to get tastes of dessert.
Gene's Last Chance is an all-American grill that serves up meaty sandwiches, barbecue fare, pastas, and veggie-centric dishes. The menu offers an eclectic selection to make any picnic-basket-intoxicated bear salivate tears of joy. Dig into shareable starters such as the beer-cheese dip, a bread-friendly cauldron of cheesy flavors ($6.95) or a effigy mound of wings slathered in your choice of sauces including buffalo, Cajun, barbecue, and hot-honey glaze ($6.95+ for 1/4 bucket). Gene's Last Chance's grilling gurus man the restaurant's hardwood grill with strong burger-flipping forearms and flame-retardant mustaches, serving up honey-pepper-glazed pork chops ($17.99), colorful grilled-veggie sandwiches ($5.95), and white-shirt-thwarting baby-back ribs ($19.99 for a full rack). Brave souls test their gastronomic elasticity with the restaurant's special Monster Reuben sandwich, an ode to all-around good guy Reuben as well as deliciously seasoned deli meat that's piled extra high and smothered with sauce, cheese, and sauerkraut ($9.95 whole, $5.95 half).
Located in an Erie landmark eatery, la bella entices appetites with an extensive menu of homemade dishes served in a casual setting. Wanting to look perfect for its big dinner plate, the curly-leaf spinach takes a quick dip into the deep fryer ($6), while the sweet italian sausage prefers a long, hot bath in a sweet-and-sour poached-fig-and-date sauce ($8). Patrons looking for traditional Italian specialties find the ragu bolognese ($15) leading a roster of palate-pleasing pastas, as the lobster mac 'n' cheese ($25) and honey-jalapeño ahi tuna ($18) flaunt their flavors elsewhere on the menu. A nearby plant hatchery supplies the key component for vegetarian classics such as the eggplant parmesan ($18) and the eggplant veracruz ($17). Gluten-free guidelines help diners discern diet-friendly dishes such as the bittersweet chocolate-apricot cake ($8).
When guests walk into the bright blue confines of Square Café, they find owner Sherree Goldstein and her friendly crew serving up smiles and steaming cups of custom-blended Kiva Han coffee. Preparing eclectic breakfast and lunch dishes, chefs crack shells for three-egg omelets, green eggs and ham with homemade pesto, and form their own housemade veggie burgers. Attentive servers endlessly refill freshly brewed ice tea and help health-savvy diners find the best menu options. Inside, colorful local artwork fuels discussions about which colors deserve to be primary, and on the sidewalk patio, diners can scan the street for signs of Square Café's vegetable-oil-powered Mercedes.
Gayot proclaimed Square Café a "vibrant eatery," describing the "generously portioned, cooked-to-order breakfast and lunch items on huge square plates." In addition to the well-crafted eats, the staff's energy and enthusiasm keep the café's sizeable crowd of regulars coming back—the manager, Kevin, even sports a Square Café tattoo as evidence.