Chris Fennimore

If you’re a Pittsburgher who cooks, you know Chris Fennimore. The longtime host of WQED Cooks is a Pittsburgh institution. His programming not only features chefs but also home cooks—giving viewers a true view of Pittsburgh food.

So it’s no surprise that the best meal he ate last week was at a classic Pittsburgh spot. One of the most enduring restaurants in Pittsburgh that consistently serves simply great Sicilian cuisine. Chris, of course, gives us the most mouthwatering description of his best meal.

Best meal I ate was at Dish Osteria in the South Side. For appetizers we had the Crostini alla Scamorza which had toasted bread slices topped with smoked mozzarella, roasted red peppers, mushrooms and prosciutto. Every bite was like heaven. 

Then we had the house Sicilian antipasto with a great selection of cheese, olives, cured mushrooms, salumi and caponata. Their version tastes so much like my grandmother’s that I was transported back to Brooklyn. It was sweet and tangy in that agro dolce way that Sicilians love.

For a main course I had a perfectly seared and baked filet of halibut that was served on a bed of cardoon risotto.  Cardoon is a pre-historic looking version of celery that tastes like artichoke hearts when it is cooked. It’s so rare to see it on any restaurant menu. And it was a fabulous flavoring for the creamy risotto.  The plate was also dressed with highly seasoned sautéed tomato and onion to add a tart balance to the fish and rice.

For dessert we shared a wedge of limoncello cheesecake that was amazingly light but decadent at the same time. It didn’t just taste of lemon, it tasted of Limoncello. We didn’t even leave a smudge on the plate.

It’s wonderful to go out to a restaurant and enjoy foods and preparations that are difficult or impossible to replicate in a home kitchen. Dish delivered the goods.

Watch Dish chef/owner Michele Savoia cook with Chris in this episode of Steel City Chefs.

Leah Lizarondo is a food advocate, writer and speaker. She is also the co-founder of 412 Food Rescue, an organization that seeks to eliminate food waste to make an impact on hunger and the environment. She is the Chief Veghacker, recipe creator and curator at The Brazen Kitchen, where she writes about food and food policy. She writes about the intersection of food, health, innovation and policy.