Of all the foods to crave in Pittsburgh, this was what my sister said she wanted for lunch during my most recent city adventure last week.
Keeping in mind that it is currently the middle of winter and that Pittsburgh is six hours at best from the nearest ocean, good seafood can be a tricky thing to find in our beloved city at this time of year. Of course, there is the ever-famous and always delicious Wholey’s Fish Market in the Strip District, but we were parked close to Consol for an event, so we decided just to hike over to Market Square to see what was cooking. Plus mom said she thought she knew of a place there that might have good seafood.
As always, mom knows best. Like little ducklings, my sister and I followed her into The Original Oyster House, The Classy Yinzer’s very first Yinzer Treasure. The Original Oyster House is everything someone could imagine a restaurant being that is described as being “the original.” Decades of posters and photographs line the inside, and with its closely packed tables and friendly staff, this place could make anyone feel at home. Don’t let the small size of the building fool you, this place has been serving up some of the best seafood around for 142 years, making it the oldest restaurant and bar in the city as recognized by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. Bonus points to this treasure hunter right here for finding a historical landmark for her first Yinzer Treasure!
The crabcake sandwiches on the menu instantly sold my sister, who is a tough one to please. Mom got the Key West oyster platter, and I got the breaded oyster sandwich. All of us ordered a side of coleslaw and fries, the two of them got a cup of clam chowder, and we shared a side of calamari.
As a side note, I don’t want anyone to think I’m a food expert. I never went to culinary school or participated in a food tasting class (do they have those?) I’m just here to taste test what our city has to offer and give you the scoop.
All I have to say is that this food was to die for. Sometimes I get nervous ordering seafood in a place I’m not familiar with. It can go either good or not so good, and the not so good is normally that chewy texture you have to really force down. Not the case at all here. I think these oysters may have melted in my mouth. They were breaded with what The Original Oyster House says is their recipe belonging to a past owner, dating back to the early 1900’s. It’s easy to see why it hasn’t changed. The oysters were served on a fresh roll, and the coleslaw was just as fresh. Mom was kind enough to offer me some of her clam chowder, which was also amazing, but dangerously filling! A bite of my sister’s crabcake sandwich was out of the question though, she was enjoying it way too much.
The best thing about the food was that although most of the food we had was fried, it had just enough breading on it to make it crispy but not greasy, and it didn’t leave you feeling heavy afterwards. If only all fried foods could be heavenly like that.
All in all, we left stuffed. I’d love to have a report on the dessert, but there was no way we could eat anymore. My only regret is not getting a t-shirt on the way out. But I’m sure I’ll be back again to test out some more of their extensive menu, so there’s always next time.
Visit their website: http://originaloysterhousepittsburgh.com/default
Justina Cerra is a contributing blogger to The Classy Yinzer. She can be easily spotted throughout Pittsburgh looking for the next Yinzer Treasure. From restaurants to art galleries, if you know of a place worthy to be explored, put it on Justina’s map by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving a comment below.