Each month, we ask one of Pittsburgh's chefs: What do you do and how do you eat when you're out of the kitchen?
How Long: 2 years
You might recognize chef Ryan Hart from the open kitchen at täkō slinging some of the best tacos in town. But come February, he will be swapping tortillas for baguettes at the newest concept from the Richard DeShantz Group, the French-inspired bistro Poulet Bleu. So with the stress and hours of opening a new restaurant, we wanted to know how chef Hart spends his time outside the kitchen.
What do you cook at home?
Roast chicken with anything. A salad with a vinaigrette, roasted asparagus with lemon & capers or whipped potatoes with crème fraîche all fit the bill.
When you’re out of the kitchen, where do you like to dine?
Chengdu Gourmet is my go to, quick food & service, no frills, authentic dishes. Hands down one of the best meals in town.
Where do you go for a drink?
That depends. Allegheny Wine Mixer for cocktails, wine, and snacks. Gooskis to get drunk, smoke and generally participate in debauchery. Belvederes for themed dance nights.
Where do you spend your days off?
Mostly at home enjoying the quiet and personal time. As of recently finding fun places to take my dog, greatest successes being Pittsburgh botanical gardens and street side picnic table for oysters and champagne at Merchant Oyster Co.
What would you do if you had a weekend off and it wasn’t a holiday?
Probably go see family in Philadelphia, or spend the weekend at our family camp in Ohio, on a boat, with a gin and tonic in hand.
What made you decide to be a chef?
The team and family atmosphere of the whole operation can mean so much to people. Your life can be crumbling around you but in a properly lead kitchen you are smiling, focused, and working harder than anyone you know.
What has you most excited at work right now?
Every day I am excited that I have the opportunity to lead the group of cooks that I do. I take great pride in serving great, relatable food, but I take even more pride in being a tremendous leader in the kitchen. I’m also looking forward to getting into more in-depth French cuisine. Bistros are a simple, warm lively place with tons of soul and that all starts with the food. Look for dishes like steak frites, a perfectly roasted chicken and sweetbreads on the Poulet Bleu menu.
And lastly, what should people be ordering at täkō this holiday?
We recently overhauled our dinner menu a fair amount and there are a ton of great tacos on the menu; the shrimp, salmon, and lamb are standouts for me. My favorite classic tacos are a tie between the Al Pastor and the Pollo Asada, you can’t go wrong with either.
Poulet Bleu will be the fifth full-service restaurant in the Richard DeShantz family. The French-inspired bistro will be the group’s first outpost outside of Downtown and will be located in the former Tamari space in Lawrenceville. Look for more on this space soon leading up to their February opening date.