Farm-fresh, autumnal fare on Six Penn Kitchen menu
Six Penn Kitchen has debuted its fall menu featuring a bounty of seasonal vegetables, hearty soups and other comfort fare.
Since opening 12 years ago in Pittsburgh's Cultural District, this upscale bistro owned by Eat 'n Park Hospitality Group has touted its focus on locally or sustainably grown products, including Jamison Farm lamb, Laurel Hill trout, cheeses from Emerald Valley Artisans and Goat Rodeo Farm and Dairy and vegetables from the Penn's Corner Farm Alliance.
Some veggies and herbs, such as lavender for the roasted chicken's honey-based glaze and sage for the brown butter in the autumn vegetable pasta, are grown on the Six Penn rooftop by executive chef Chris O'Brien.
“We try to source as many local products as possible, but what's most important is the integrity of the sources,” says O'Brien, an award-winning executive chef who previously worked at Poros, Restaurant Echo, the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., and Hyheholde Restaurant.
Everything at Six Penn is made in-house, including smoked meats, breads, pastas, pastries and ice cream. Although he kept the eatery's signature Confit Cracklin' Pork Shank since joining Six Penn earlier this year, O'Brien has crafted a menu that reflects his own style — creating approachable comfort food with classic European techniques.
Appetizers include roasted bone-marrow pate on bruschetta with lemon parsley salad; calamari and rock shrimp with cucumber and preserved lemon salad, lemon aioli and roasted red pepper coulis; and house-cured salmon with nova cream and cucumber salad.
Entrees range from fried veal sweetbreads with ricotta gnudi (pasta dumplings), blistered tomatoes, spinach and sun-dried tomato sauce, to roasted duck breast with root vegetable cassoulet and parsnip puree. The beef bourguignon is made with beef cheeks, fingerling potatoes, carrots and pearl onions in a red wine reduction. “It's my take on a classic,” O'Brien says. “The cheeks are an underutilized meat, and they're super tender after braising.”
The lunch menu features sandwiches such as the farm-stand vegetable burger and muffaletta panini, as well as soup of the day, soup or salad and sandwich combos, pastas and entrees. Brunch is offered on Sundays.
The Six Penn wine list — a two-time “Wine Spectator” magazine award-winner — is extensive, with hundreds of reds and whites available by the glass, bottle and half-bottle. Also featured are seasonal and classic cocktails such as the Hendrick's Sage Gimlet, a gin drink made with muddled limes and lime sours, simple syrup and sage.
With two floors for dining and a rooftop bar, Six Penn can seat 180, and the ambience is casual yet elegant.
2 pounds Idaho potatoes
½ tsp nutmeg
1⁄3 cup Manchego cheese
2 cups all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
3 lbs pork shoulder
6 cups beef stock or enough to cover
4 oz. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. sage
1⁄3 cup vinegar
12 oven-roasted tomatoes (two per person)
1½ cups of loosely-packed spinach
To braise pork shoulder: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season pork with salt and pepper and sear in oil until golden brown on all sides. Cover with beef stock. Cover with lid or foil. Place in oven and roast for two-and-a-half to three hours, until tender. Remove pork from stock and cool. Cut pork into two 3-ounce portions, per person. Reduce stock to fortified reduction until it coats the back of a spoon.
To prepare sage brown butter: Melt butter in pot and whisk over high heat to agitate milk solids until golden brown. Butter should have a nutty sediment of solids at the bottom of the pot. Add fresh chopped sage to warm butter. Cool so butter solidifies. Reserve butter for finished dish.
To poach eggs: Boil water with vinegar. Crack eggs into water and poach for about two minutes. Remove from water and set aside.
To prepare potato gnocchi: Peel and dice potatoes and boil in water. Drain potatoes well, and rice through a food mill. Place warm potatoes on floured counter. Make a hole in mound of potatoes and place remaining ingredients in well. With a bench knife, work potato mixture until dough starts to come together. While still warm, roll dough into cylinder and cut into 1-inch pieces. Blanch cut gnocchi in boiling water until pieces float for two minutes. Remove from water and place in an ice-bath to cool. Once cool, remove from ice bath and reserve until ready to finish dish.
To finish dish: place pork, gnocchi, spinach, and oven roasted tomatoes in sauce pan with fortified braising liquid. Heat through until all ingredients are warm. Mount reduction of stock with brown butter. Place warm poached egg on top of each serving and finish with grated Manchego cheese and serve.
Deborah Weisberg is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.