Scratch Food and Beverage

By: Amanda Narcisi

Part of this menu at Scratch Food and Beverage in Troy Hill started as a joke in the kitchen. Why would a new and interesting restaurant want to serve SPAM? But what happens if you took SPAM and combined it with something interesting and flavorful? What would happen if you added cricket protein?

That is exactly what they did. Matt Petruna, Executive Chef for Scratch started to research what alternative protein does and how to add it to a dish. Turns out there are farms that will raise crickets and mealworms and then extract their protein and make it into a tofu-like food. When added to dishes it can be processed or fried or even baked.

The dishes Chef Matt came up with was astounding. We started the dinner with a Cricket and SPAM Pâté that also had peach and pear mustarda and served with a french baguette. The dish was astounding. This was one of the dishes where the cricket protein was pureed into the SPAM with some other flavors and wasn't recognizable at all.

The second dish was Albondigas with butternut squash, black garlic mole and cheese grits. This is the instance where the protein could be baked and was not recognizable. This was my favorite dish.

The third dish was a Pan Fried Udon with baby bok choy, shiitake, crickets and mealworms. I honestly tried only a few bites of this dish. The heat of the dish made it a little rough on me. I am not much of a spice person. This dish was the peak of the menu when it came to the alternative protein. The mealworms and crickets were fried and in the dish.

The last dish was a dessert: Genoise Napoleon. A Montmorency cherry compote, burnt almonds and honey whipped cream. This dessert contained none of the alternative protein. It was so good we joked if it was proper to lick the plate clean in a restaurant.

Mixed in with all this amazing food is a cocktail menu and local spirits. I ordered a few off the menu including A Pampered PA Mouse and A Prince David. Both cocktails made with local spirits. We got a chance to see that the bar house local to PA spirits from rum to whiskey.

There are only about twenty restaurants the united states that offer an alternative protein menu and Scratch does it with great taste and lots of fun. For this unique menu and other locally sourced amazing dishes visit Scratch Food and Beverage in Troy Hill at 1720 Lowrie Street
Pittsburgh. For more information check out their website, Facebook and twitter.