Foodies honor Wooden Nickel's vanilla seafood dish
A signature dish inspired by a romantic gesture has earned Monroeville chef Joe Bello accolades from Pittsburgh foodies.
Bello is the executive chef of the Wooden Nickel in Monroeville and winner of best preview dish for the Pittsburgh Restaurant Week Kickoff Party last week on Penn Avenue in the Strip District.
Restaurant Week is a project of Pittsburgh TasteBuds, which promotes the area's dining scene.
Bello's winning dish was jumbo seared shrimp with crab and Tahitian vanilla bean sauce, which was inspired by a honeymoon trip in 2010 that included a layover in Tahiti, Bello said.
“When you get off the plane, this scent hits you, this sweet, savory scent,” he said. “It was vanilla bean. The entire island is vanilla beans.”
He promised his wife, Natalie, that he would incorporate vanilla bean into a dish for her.
He combined the flavor with hints of butter rum and vanilla bean butter.
“When people hear ‘vanilla,' they think dessert,” Bello said. “But it has a savory flavor to it.”
Bello, 30, was hired as head chef of Wooden Nickel three years ago when his father-in-law bought the restaurant, which has been a staple of the Monroeville dining scene for decades.
The family plans to open a second Wooden Nickel in Norwin Town Square in North Huntingdon by early summer.
That restaurant will feature a different look, Bello said.
“The dining room (will be) more modern, but with a classy, high-end feel.”
Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penn Hills junior slain in shooting had visited friends at Monroeville housing complex
- Pitcairn house falls into neighboring building
- Gateway budget shortfall to prompt cuts, but no tax increase
- Fire in electrical system keeps 50 Monroeville residents out of apartments
- Pitcairn code enforcement duties to be picked up temporarily by councilman, police chief
- Gateway, Plum advanced placement booster program offers incentives