Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Kaya: Strip District Delight

         Most Pittsburghers are no strangers to the treasures to be had in the Strip District, a literal strip of local eats and merchandise.  Some folks, however, may be missing out on Kaya (part of the Big Burrito group) when they patronage touristy spots (think Primanti’s). 

        When you walk into Kaya, you leave your stresses of the day at the door and soak in the island vibe.  The décor is fun and festive to say the least.  The bar area is inviting, offering a stretch of drum-like stools to rest upon.  What’s more inviting is Kaya’s amazing happy hour.  Monday through Friday you can imbibe on half-off cocktails (single serve) and draft beer.  My favorite cocktail offering is the Grapefruit-Basil Margarita.  If you’re a lightweight like me, make sure you order some grub to boot.  You’ll be feelin’ o-so-fine in no time.  
         Speaking of grub, the Kaya Burger ($12) is hands down, one of the best beef patty creations in town.  A juicy, succulent burger is adorned with avocado, bacon, Chihuahua cheese, and of course… a locally farmed sunny-side up egg.  The rich yolk mixes brilliantly with the “Kaya Secret Sauce”.  As a side, you get to choose your fancy of chips or fries (regular or sweet potato).  The sweet potato fries are a meal on their own.  Not in the burger mood?  You can feast on a variety of fish entrees like the Jerked Swordfish ($27) or munch on a small plate of their world-famous (should be anyhow) Conch Fritters ($9). 

Kaya Burger with sweet potato fries and extra Kaya sauce

        Even more exciting is that Kaya is also part of the Sunday brunch club from 11am-3pm.  Prepare to have you mind blown.  The island inspirations are in full force.  Kaya’s brunch is far from blasé (pssst…that means boring).  Take for example the overplayed eggs benedict you find at your average brunch spot.  It’s good enough, right? It has the English muffin, the poached egg is there, yep, and maybe the hollandaise is even decent.  Now go to Kaya and try the Slow Roasted Pork Benedict.  (No, seriously, go now.)  In place of that Thomas’ abomination is a pair of crispy cornbread discs, topped with tender roasted pork, perfectly poached eggs, and smoked pepper hollandaise sauce ($12). 

Slow Roasted Pork Benedict

         The omelettes are equally inspired. The Shrimp Omelette is loaded with perfectly cooked crustaceans, roasted sweet corn, cheese, and drizzled with key lime mustard.  You can try the roasted pork in an omelette too! ($12)  All egg dishes are served with freshly grilled pineapple, a medley of grilled potatoes and peppers, your choice of protein (house-made chorizo or bacon), and warm tortillas. 

Roasted Pork Omelette

         If you’re looking for fresh, inventive cuisine (island inspired or otherwise), give Kaya a try on your next Strip District trip.  You won’t be disappointed. 

I give Kaya: 5/5 forks 

Will I return?  Absolutely

2000 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 261-6565

Kaya on Urbanspoon