Bluebird Kitchen specializes in sandwiches and salads with fresh, house made ingredients and a wide array of pastries and baked goods. Catering to the down town breakfast and lunch crowd (hours are Mon-Fri 7am – 3pm), they present a simple concept but execute it extremely well. One of the most surprising things about Bluebird is that, despite the simple café style format, there really aren’t any other similar restaurants in Pittsburgh.
When you visit bluebird you will be faced with a large counter, on top of which you’ll find an impressive spread of sides and desserts. One of the best things about Bluebird is their daily assortment of grain salads. Listed as a side, I sometimes opt to grab a grain salad for lunch (2.75 for small, 5.25 for large). The diverse selection typically enlists quinoa or wheat berry combined with an array of veggies and makes for a healthy and tasty lunch.
In addition to the rotating grain salad selection, Bluebird also has specials (which are tweeted each day) and a monthly vegetarian sandwich and salad. On this trip, I decided to try April’s Vegetarian sandwich because I have a soft spot for eggplant ($7.50). This month’s sandwich is Tamarind Barbecue Japanese Eggplant, Green mango chutney, marcona almond pesto on house made ciabatta. The mango chutney gave the sandwich a sweet taste, but the marcona almond pesto and the eggplant made sure it never tasted too sweet. The slight firmness of the mango and the crunch of the ciabatta also helped provide more texture to support the soft eggplant.
In the past I have tried the House Roasted Turkey, Pain Bagnat, and the Cuban sandwich and was very satisfied with all of them. The turkey sandwich is dressed with a shallot-bacon jam and the Cuban uses kurabuta pork belly. Both sandwiches are elevated beyond the standard variations due to the addition of creative ingredients.
If you’re fortunate enough to work nearby, Bluebird also has an impressive breakfast menu and full espresso bar capabilities. Their fried egg sandwich is a prime example of simple ingredients and excellent execution.
Bluebird is not the place to go if you’re looking for an afternoon wrecking, gut busting sandwich. You’re going to find an appropriately portioned sandwich, which at first might strike you as undersized, until you remember that this is just the way sandwiches should actually be. Seating is sparse, consisting of some bar stool chairs at counters against the walls. I recommend getting it to go and eating in Market Square when the weather is nice.