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Review: Karma on 8th

(Update, 2 Feb 2007. Karma on 8th appears to have gone out of business. Really a shame, it was an excellent restaurant.)

I’ve been to Karma on 8th three times now and thought I should write a few words about it as I liked their food and want to see them thrive.

Karma on 8th is not in the nicest looking neighborhood of Homestead, but the owners have put a lot of effort into fixing up both the inside and outside of the building. They’ve put even more effort into assembling a talented kitchen and wait staff and creating a good environment for having a great dinner.

My favorite dishes are the Boursin Crusted Chicken and the Chicken Marsala. Both have the right balances of seasonings and sides and are reason enough to visit on their own. The pasta specials are creative and equal to the regular dishes if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary. The Caesar Salad and Hummus Platter are both excellent and could easily be a meal on their own if you’re looking for something light. The only let-down has been the Cajun Salmon. It was a bit bland and underwhelming — when I see “Cajun” as an adjective for fish I expect spicy and hot. Given that it’s damned near impossible to get anything other than wings “spicy and hot” in this town, including at Thai restaurants, I can’t really hold this against them.

The service at Karma on 8th is excellent. The wait staff manages to be present when needed without fawning or constantly interrupting with pointless questions. Unlike the bartenders at some of the other restaurants in town, the folks here know that a Martini is made with gin and served up by default and not with vodka and served on the rocks.

If you’re looking for a late evening, there is music and drinks after 10 in the upstairs loft where one can kick back in an overstuffed chair and have a conversation without having to shout or jockey for a bar stool.

One other thing to like about Karma on 8th — the restaurant is completely non-smoking. None of this “we allow smoking at the bar which happens to be right next to the non-smoking tables”, either, there is no smoking allowed inside the building. There are now two places in Pittsburgh (the other being Eleven) where one can go for a drink and not come home smelling like an ashtray.

[tags]Karma on 8th, Pittsburgh, restaurant, review[/tags]

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