My family has really enjoyed Pioneer in the past—and when given the option, the kids chose to go back. They have changed up the menu bit and our last visit was probably the best one yet. I also recently had the pleasure of a private wine dinner there and had a really good meal as well. It’s a place you should definitely check out if you have not already.
We started out with the everything pretzels ($8) with dill cream cheese and tomato olive schmear. I liked the play on an everything bagel, with the seasonings on the pretzels and the cream cheese. They are soft pretzels, but have a nice crusty crunch to them with the spices on top. As long as they’re on the menu and I am with my kids, I am pretty sure they will be ordered.
My daughter is also obsessed with arancini, and we had an order of these ($9). They have had a version of them in the past, but I think I preferred the lightness of these the most. They are rice balls that are seasoned with saffron, lightly fried and served with parsley aioli. Hubby wanted the meatballs ($12), and no one objected so we had those too. These were very tasty, even for meatballs. They were served with a rich red sauce and crostini. If you’re a meatball person, you should get them.
Hubby and I also ordered the frisee salad with a “fried” egg, guanciale, and fingerling potatoes. The only bad part of the meal was that they forgot to bring this until after we had already gotten our entrées, but we decided to eat it anyway, and I was so glad, because this is so good. I will certainly order this each and every time if it’s offered. The frisee is nicely dressed and acidic to balance the richness of the egg, which is barely poached and then breaded and deep-fried. It remains yolky and delicious. This is the perfect thing for me and I would happily eat this as my main dish—as it was I basically ate it as a dessert, which was fine by me.
|Pictures from the wine dinner|
Oh man, though, the star of the meal was the beer brined half chicken ($21). My son and I split it. Normally I don’t order chicken out, but this may change this practice. If you have ever been to San Francisco and ate the “chicken for two” at Zuni Café, this is very reminiscent of it. Pioneer does a bread salad underneath with greens—there’s a good amount of acid in the salad and it is so good with the extremely tender chicken. The chicken was just so good—it sort of fell off the bone and even the breast meat was tender and delicious. I highly recommend this dish.
Hubby and my daughter both had linguine and clams ($21). They both enjoyed them but agreed that other things were the stars of the night (hubby thought the salad and chicken were his favorite things and my daughter would say the pretzels). They use nice smallish clams and give you a decent amount of them. The sauce is flavorful, but could use maybe a little bigger punch of red pepper.
Overall, this was a great meal and it’s a great place to remember when you want a nice local meal in Fountain Square.
1110 Shelby Street