Thursday, July 23, 2009
Restaurant Review: Tamari, Lawrenceville
3519 Butler St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
We arrived around 6:30 and they were busy. We hung out at the bar and had a fun conversation with the bar staff as well as the owner's father (of China Palace) At first, they tried to seat our group outside, and we were eventually seated, but we eventually were chased in by the rain. So we ended up at the sushi bar, where we had front row seats of the chef at the stove. So we had a treat watching a hopping kitchen as the orders came through with head chef Roger Li keeping an eye on things from the side (it was a narrow kitchen).
I had the 16 spice rubbed in pork tenderloin and I was able to taste wrapped shrimp (pictured). The confidence of the kitchen showed when their medium rare was done like it should have been (i.e. not overcooked). The purpose of this restaurant is not feeding volume, in fact the portions are nicely sized. The focus is providing good food. Seasoned uniquely and intended to be savored. And I did so, one bite at a time.
Following lessons learned from his father, owner Allen Chen was wondering the floor chatting with customers. At our front row seat we watched Roger Li manage his kitchen, mentoring younger staff and even exchanging a few words with us watching. A wonderful eating experience, and something creating that makes eating in Pittsburgh fun.