ca-noodling at Jade Grille

This past Sunday afternoon, my family and I were eating our way up Washington Road — pizza at now-open-Sundays Badamo, ice cream at Betsy’s — when my wife noticed the sign saying that nearby Jade Grille was “Now Open.” It wasn’t, just then, but she could see people in the kitchen at 670 Washington Road, which once housed the Union National Bank. She scored a menu, which we hungrily read over, and planned to return during this opening week.

The view of the main dining room and the former vault
The view of the main dining room and the former vault

Tuesday evening, we settled into a banquetted booth in one corner, in view of the interior of the former bank vault (where you also can sit), and ordered an assortment.

My wife was thrilled that the Handmade Steamed Dumplings ($8), described as “mini juicy,” turned out to be soup dumplings, with broth inside them. My son dribbled the broth all over his plate and his shirt as he gobbled down half of them.

An order of Handmade Steamed Dumplings
An order of Handmade Steamed Dumplings

He was delighted with his bigger-than-his-head bowl of Braised Chicken Noodle Soup, one of several dishes featuring housemade, hand-pulled noodles.

“Now you don’t have to take us to Squirrel Hill in the middle of winter,” said my wife, as we moved on to the try two from the list of “Open Flame Skewer” — Shishito Pepper and Fish. Beautiful and yum.

Open Flame Skewers of fish and shishito peppers
Open Flame Skewers of fish and shishito peppers

For entrees, we picked from the wok section — me trying Dry Pepper Seafood ($22), described as “triple flash fried with dried hot chili peppers,” and she finally picking the Mapo Tofu ($11), both of which were served with white rice.

An order of Dry Pepper Seafood
An order of Dry Pepper Seafood
A order of Mapo Tofu (Vegetarian Style)
A order of Mapo Tofu (Vegetarian Style)

She had two glasses of Syrah from a long wine list and I had two beers from a small but good selection of drafts (the server mistakenly brought me a Japanese brew, Kirin I believe, that I was happy to keep, and then I was even happier that the Great Lakes seasonal turned out to be Rye of the Tiger, which was great with the peppery fried flounder.)

Stuffed, we took a quick walk around the big, high-ceilinged space, admiring the massive door to the vault, the chef’s table/sushi bar in the open kitchen (where workers were sitting down to slurp up the staff meal), the restrooms (marked by plaques of a man and a woman, respectively, with their legs crossed) down in the basement, and then back up to the long, very well-stocked bar and its comfy-cozy adjacent booths.

Detail on the bank vault's door
Detail on the bank vault’s door

The menu — said to change daily — is a wide-ranging one, with mostly Chinese entrees but lots of sushi and assorted rolls (including a $99 “Sushi Supreme”), as well as Vietnamese-influenced soups. And it’s a little quirky — upscale, but also relaxed (the soundtrack was radio pop).

But we’re looking forward to coming back as the place gets its legs. I think it’s going to be nice to have soup dumplings and hand-pulled noodles in our neighborhood.

The restaurant’s website still is a work in progress but the phone number is 412-531-6666.

Read more of Bob’s blog at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: pgplate.com/forks.

 

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