The Post-Gazette's new restaurant reviewer, China Millman, has thrown herself into the position over the last six months. She has academic cred (Harvard) and food cred (the Le Cordon Bleu program at the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute), and she's an enthusiastic and fun writer.
With her piece today on Pittsburgh sushi, she (unknowingly) steps into Pittsburgh 2.0 territory.
How? I've been told many times here that high quality sushi is high on the list of the amenities that would-be relos look for when thinking about Pittsburgh v. any larger West Coast or East Coast market. Jokingly, I've said to friends that if the Pittsburgh Technology Council, the Life Sciences Greenhouse, and Innovation Works really want to make the Pittsburgh region friendly to tech investors and entrepreneurs, they should invest in a sushi chef with a national reputation.
Maybe I should stop joking. Today's review of the best of Pittsburgh sushi makes the area sound like a sushi lover's paradise. There's Sushi Tomo in Ross. Kiku in Station Square. Chaya in Squirrel Hill. Umi in Shadyside. The article gives addresses, phone numbers, and website URLs.
Don't take too much from the locations. Ross? Station Square? Any sushi lover knows that the best sushi is often found in out of the way places. When I worked in San Francisco, the legendary Kabuto Sushi opened at Geary near 15th -- hardly the center of the City's restaurant scene.
But China Millman's piece is so enthusiastic that it's striking. I've heard from lots of friends here that there is no good sushi in Pittsburgh. I've been inclined to believe them; they tend to be people who've lived in places known to have fine sushi (New York, Japan, San Francisco, Los Angeles). I checked chowhound.com, and it has some upbeat reports there about Little Toyko and Umi. But the foodies aren't uniformly happy even there.
Two questions for discussion:
Am I on the right track in my semi-serious suggestion about sushi as a Pittsburgh 2.0 magnet?
And is China Millman right? Is sushi in Pittsburgh an undiscovered treasure?