With the rebuilding of Pittsburgh’s Market Square, several new restaurants have popped in over the last year, one of which, NOLA on the Square is a niche cuisine for Pittsburgh. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any Louisiana-style French cuisine anywhere else in Pittsburgh. Based on many of the other reviews of the restaurant, it seems as if NOLA has had a very welcome response within the city of Pittsburgh.
TasteBudA and I found ourselves looking for a lunch spot over the holiday weeks and wandered over to market square to get in on some downtown grub and check out the Christmas Tree displays at PPG Place. We settled on NOLA for something a little different. We were greeted quickly and seated near the front of the restaurant, which made for some great natural-light picture taking of our food.
Our appetizer of Fried Artichokes (right) were a new taste for me and were served with a creole mustard ranch. Because they were served hot, the dressing was a nice cooling factor that was quite delicious. Being we were there for lunch, we each ordered a Soup and Half a Sandwich with Voodoo Fries for only $12.
TasteBudA had the “best French Onion Soup [he's] ever tasted” with half of a Croque Monsieur. The soup was Trio of Caramelized Onion, Vermouth, Rich Veal Broth, French Bread Crouton, Gruyere. The Croque was Hand Carved Smoked Ham, Grilled Rustic Bread, Gruyere, Homemade Local Apple Butter, Dijon. Sadly, the soup sang on TasteBudA’s palate and the sandwich and fries took a backseat as he finished all of the soup, but could not finish the fries or sandwich.
I (TasteBudB) got half of a Shrimp Po Boy accompanied with a the Gumbo soup called “Gumbo Ya-Ya”. Being in a cajun/creole restaurant, I figured the gumbo would be the ultimate sign of my interest in this cuisine. It contained Organic Chicken, Andouille, Okra, File, Steamed Rice. I’ve read about the horrors of cooking okra and how slimy it can get. This soup tasted great – even the okra, which was quite tender. The Shrimp Po Boy was a nice pairing as it too had its own spicy cajun notes. It was the cajun slaw itself (on the sandwich) really made the sandwich a hit. Though the bulky pieces of shrimp didn’t hurt either.
And to Voodoo Fries. No where on their menu does it explain what voodoo fries are and instead of asking our waiter since we were set on the combo, we decided to wing it. Come to find out they are garlic fries with some light cajun seasoning. Based on the quality of the rest of the meal, I think the fries were a little flat – Assuming they are made in mass quantities in the kitchen, I think we just happened to get plated a poor handful.
Overall the meal was great and I’d definitely go back and try some other things. NOLA even participates in LoyalTree, a new smartphone app I’ve downloaded. It’s a loyalty-rewards program where you scan QR codes at the restaurant along with your bill to earn free gift certificates. I’m not sure if I’ll frequent enough to earn anything fun, but I’ll keep track anyway, because it couldn’t hurt.