PGH Dining: Penn Avenue Fish Company: Downtown

During Pittsburgh Restaurant Week this summer, Husband and I were only able to hit up a few places because of our busy schedules. We stopped by Penn Avenue Fish Company in Downtown on Friday night to have a laid-back dinner. 
Penn Ave Fish Co.'s interior.
Their Restaurant Week menu included a special of a mushroom-crusted halibut with vegetables for $20.12. I immediately ordered this, but Husband stuck with his usual sushi {he can't pass it up if it's on the menu!}.
The regular menu.
While we were ordering, we were told reminded the restaurant was BYOB. Our waitress said we could pop over to the bar next door, who sold chilled bottles of white wine or a house red. I grabbed my wallet and headed over, only to be told they hadn't done their 'liquor run' that afternoon, and I'd have to wait 20-30 minutes for a bottle. No thanks. I yelped a Wine and Spirits store, which was just a few blocks away. I bought a $13 bottle of chilled white wine from Hayes Valley, which was a much better deal than the $40 price tag the bar was offering.
I got back to the restaurant with plenty of time, as other guests were being seated in the long, box of a restaurant. I really loved the nautical theme, which was not overdone at all. 
The LONG sushi list for the day.
Our waitress brought us a marble wine chiller, fresh from the freezer/refrigerator. Nice touch.
Wine chiller.
Husband pouring over the sushi options.
We quickly ordered some edamame, which came out steaming and lightly salted.
We moved on to Husband's dish of the Pretty Girl roll, as suggested by our friend who works with Yelp.   How can you go wrong with a suggestion like that?
It was PACKED with fresh dish {salmon, in this case}, and beautifully rolled. 
What a Pretty Girl.  Teehee.
He also ordered a spicy tuna roll {typical Husband}, and a special daily roll {I can't remember the name!} that involved a California roll covered with spicy tuna, jalapeƱos and shirracha. 
I have to tell you - we were completely divided on these rolls. 
Husband did not care for {sugarcoating} the spicy tuna texture, and felt like it was similar to baby food in consistency. In fact, he didn't eat at least 5 pieces, which I gobbled up. I do like my tartar-style food to be chopped so finely it almost becomes a paste. That's just me. 
You've been warned about the spicy tuna, guys.
My dish came out looking like a dream. Such gorgeous colors. What a delightful smell. Then, I took a bite of the fish.
To say it was dry would be an understatement. The 'Mushroom Crust" was noted as a 'dusting' on the menu once we had it in the restaurant. This was the entirety of the $20.12 special.
The vegetables, however, were the star of the plate. They were cooked through, but not mushy; squash and zucchini can quickly get that way.  I would have rather had a plate full of these vegetables with mushrooms on top than that fish.
On another, nonfood-related note, I noticed the flatware was not up to par with their food prices. It was standard-grade restaurant-supply flatware. 
And, the main dish plate was severely chipped.  Some readers may think I'm being overly critical, but your dining ware is a part of your dining experience!
Both Husband and I were not pleased with the results we got from Penn Avenue Fish Company, especially during Restaurant Week. This is the week to bring out your best, people!  We won't likely be visiting again.

Neighborhood: Downtown
Good For: "pretty" sushi
Gems:  - - 
Drawbacks: Cooking/Fish Preparation; Flatware and Plate Quality.

Penn Avenue Fish Company  on Urbanspoon


  1. I'm always so disappointed when restaurants do not give their very best during Restaurant Week. I've been burned several times, which, to be honest, has kind of put me off Restaurant Week altogether. We did give it a try this year, and were very pleased with our experience at Del Frisco's.

    1. It was certianly a major fail on their part. How can you serve food on chipped plates?!
      Husband loves Del Frisco's. If you tell him you went there recently, get ready to dedicate yourself to a 20-minute conversation about steak. Get ready.


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