Dining – Bistro to Go – North Side – Pittsburgh

Bistro to Go – 04/25/2010

A couple of weeks ago, I took a few friends to lunch and was very excited to try a new place I’d seen on East Ohio Street in the North Side- Bistro to Go.  We had delicious salads, soup and Buffalo Chicken Macaroni & Cheese…… I couldn’t wait to meet the owner and hopefully get an invite to try more of their culinary creations.  I never leave a card hoping to get an invite, but in this case, everything was so delicious, picture perfect, and reasonably priced, I had to break that rule.

Nikki Heckman opened Bistro to Go about 2 years ago and I really believe that you haven’t heard much about it because the regulars fear you’ll invade their territory!  I promise you, if you go there once, you’ll definitely go there twice, three times, four times & before you’ll know it, you’ll be a regular!  The concept is simple- provide great food prepared with fresh ingredients at great prices, have  weekly menu changes, be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and even provide vegan options. Absolutely everything is available to go.  Nikki’s past includes many successful years in the corporate restaurant world, and I have to mention, she really knows what she is doing.  The atmosphere she created inside her restaurant is so warm and relaxed that it goes right along with the comfort food dishes they serve up daily.  Nikki and her staff love to feed people and treat them as if they are guests at their party.

We met Chef Madeline Jones, Matty, her warmth shines through even before you taste her food.  She served us Chicken Cobbler and I gave her a hug because it was that good.  It consists of little biscuits on top of creamy chicken, with carrots and mushrooms.  There is pride in this food, you can just tell.  Matty loves cooking, and this food is for lack of better terminology “real”.  We tried so many things and since the menu changes weekly the options seem endless but let me start with the salads- Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad is served as a sandwich ($6.75 whole or $3.75 half) on a buttery croissant or fresh wheat bread.  I love this so much I prefer to eat it right out of the to-go container!    The Sugared Pecan Salad ($6.75 whole or $3.75 side size) is a nice mix of crisp romaine and spring mix with sugared pecans, toasted almonds, feta cheese, red onion, dried cranberries or seasonal strawberries.  It’s available with chicken (+$2.00) and served with raspberry vinaigrette.  So delicious…’s the salad that I will order over & over again.  In fact, I had some friends drop by during a very busy week, I picked up this salad along with some Chicken Marsala ($8.95), Thai Peanut Noodles, and the Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad and everyone raved about each and every different dish.  Bistro to Go has awesome side selections like Sweet Potato Casserole- YUM!  I actually got it as my two sides with the Chicken Marsala.   A double dose of wonderful that I knew everyone would love.  There was not one bite of anything left.  I love that Nikki loves to feed people and I love to feed people really good food!  I am a regular now and I think about Bistro to Go every other day, well sometimes every day depending on how hungry and busy I am.  This is real food people.  This is real good food people.

Sandwiches on the menu are offered as whole or half ($6.75 & $3.75).  Toasty Warm Bistro Sandwiches are also offered as whole or half ($7.25 or $4.00) and include offerings like Courtyard Chicken – grilled BBQ chicken breast topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, pico do gallo, lettuce & spicy ranch, Honey BBQ Pulled Pork, or Maple Ham & Cheddar to name a few.  Homemade soups include Chicken & Dumpling, Tomato Basil, Stuffed Pepper, Broccoli & Cheese and change daily.

Salads range from the Plain Simple Salad to the Chicken Caesar, to Insalata Chicken Salad with Cajun chicken, black bean & corn salsa, pico do gallo, cheddar cheese, on a bed of spring mix topped with crispy corn chips and scallions.  This is served with s spicy cool ranch dressing.  Light fare offerings include a wonderful hummus & pita ($4.50) which I have to tell you, I bought some hummus in the Strip and had some leftover Bistro hummus that some friends and I were eating and unanimously we all loved the Bistro hummus much better than supposedly “authentic ethnic” hummus from the Strip.  A true taste test in which Bistro to Go came out the winner!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the entrees served up with either your choice of one or two sides- Crispy Chicken with Honey Mustard.  This was so crispy, moist & delicious and Nikki is proud to let you know that there is NO fryer in her restaurant.  I’m going to adopt that as a standard just like going into a bar without televisions.  A restaurant without a fryer!  How awesome.  Remember I told you that they like to feed people- well they are even concerned about healthy eating as well.  Some other options include Maple Glazed Roast Turkey, Lemon Parmesan Chicken, Beef Tips & Wild Mushrooms.  I think you’re getting the idea.  It’s all good and there’s really something for everyone or for every taste.

Next Month Bistro to Go will be expanding with Bistro Soul, slow cooked comfort food.  They’re looking forward to providing authentic soul food at the same great quality & prices.  I’m looking forward to summer – dining on the quaint patio that will separate the two restaurants.  I actually can’t wait to see what they’re cooking up!

Bistro to Go offers catering from the grand scale weddings to small office luncheons.  I can’t wait to be the one making the suggestion in my office.

Open Monday through Saturday from 8am to 8pm and Sundays open from 11am to 4pm it’s located at 415 East Ohio Street right in the heart of the historic North Side.  It’s a gem.  Sign up on their mailing list to receive weekly menus.

Get there, eat there & repeat!

415 E Ohio St

Pittsburgh, PA 15212