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The Coraopolis Record



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Those of us who grew up in the Coraopolis area in the mid 20th Century find Robinson Town Center disorienting. We remember Scott Farm (photo above). Mr. Scott allowed Boy Scout troops to hike and camp on his land. On our own, we kids would backpack out the Montour Railroad and camp at Scott Farm (as seen at left). When Mr. Scott died, a real estate developer turned his farm into the biggest commercial center in southwestern Pennsylvania. The west side now holds K Mart, Cabela's and several office complexes. The east side holds a dozen restaurants plus 50 stores. Robinson Town Center has become the new Main Street, pulling stores, restaurants and movie theatres from Coraopolis and every other area town. But it does have a great restaurant collection, including Mexican, Italian, Caribbean, Seafood, Ribs, Steak, Asian and Classic.

Bahama Breeze is a Caribbean restaurant. Of their appetizers, we like the Crab Claws, Roast Cuban Bread, and Fire Roasted Jerked Shrimp. The Bahama Seafood Chowder and Cuban Black Bean Soup are both excellent. Among the entrees, we think their Paella is their finest creation. It's a heaping skillet of assorted seafood, chicken, sausage and vegetables on a bed of yellow rice. We've eaten this all over the U.S. and the Caribbean and this is a very good interpretation. However, the Calypso Shrimp Linguine, Salmon Pasta (in passion fruit sauce with spinach, basil, tomato and mushrooms), Chicken Santiago and Chicken Kebabs are all worth the drive to Robinson Centre. Crowded on weekends.
Buca di Beppo markets itself as Immigrant Italian. The walls are heavy with photos of Italian American families in New York, Boston, and Pittsburgh, celebrating weddings, baptisms, and other occasions. Meals are served family style in two sizes : small (for two or three) and large (for five or six). In addition to the usual booths and tables, there are The Pope's Room, and The Kitchen. You can sit around a large table with a statue of the Pope in the middle and Vatican photos all around, or you can sit in the kitchen and eat while all around you the staff prepares the meals. We're impressed with their Ravioli, Canneloni, Manicotti, Rigatoni, and Eggplant Parmigiana. If you want adventure, their menu is more extensive than other Pittsburgh Italian restaurants, and some items are quite creative. Keep in mind, however, that you cannot have each person order something different. You need two or three people to agree on one bowl of whatever. Several of their Italian wines are outdtanding, especially the Tuscany Chianti and Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Citra. The desserts are very good. Try to save room. Robinson Town Centre, left at the T then at the top of the hill.
central diner  
Chutney's is a different kind of Indian restaurant. It's Vegetarian. That means there's no Chicken Tikki Masala or Lamb Vindaloo. But, even if you're not a Vegetarian, there are lots of other delightful dishes to try that you've probably never found at traditional Indian restaurants. There are several delicious Cauliflower entrees, like Gobi Manchurian (batter fried cauliflower sauteed with onion, ginger, garlic and spices, then cooked in a special sauce). There's a list of entrees using Paneer, an acid set cheese made from Buffalo milk. There are Eggplant and Rice Cake dishes. You can choose from 11 kinds of Bread. Chutney's offers five Rava Dosas (thin crispy crepes) stuffed with various fillings. The menu also has a geographic aspect : you can order dishes from South India, Indo China, Manchuria and North India. They offer Dumplings, Noodles, and Potatoes fixed in various ways. Beverages include the traditional Lassis, Teas, Indian juices and Coconut Waters. Without meats, you're more likely to have room for Desserts, so you can choose from Carrot Halwa (a sort of soft cookie, a cross between fudge and jello), Rice Pudding, Gulab Jamoon (a milk based candy kind of like a Klondike Bar but not cold), Rusmali (a chilled soft cheese), Kulfi (the closest thing India has to our ice cream), and Rasagulia (dumplings stuffed with a syrupy chocolate like mix). The facility is sleek and modern. It's in the strip mall across from Ikea's.
EatnPark restaurants are a Pittsburgh tradition since 1949, and are famous for their Soup/Salad/Fruit Bar, Chicken Noodle Soup, Handbreaded Fish, the Superburger and Smiley Cookies. Their Breakfasts are excellent, featuring Pancakes, a WaffleFrench ToastEggs, Sirloin or one of their seven Omelettes. The lunch/dinner menu is extensive. You have 10 Appetizers, of which we like their Breaded Zucchini, and Fried Pickles. Soups include Clam ChowderCream of Broccoli and Stuffed Pepper, depending on what day of the week it is. Salads are Buffalo Chicken, Apple Grape Chicken, and Classic. There are burgers and sandwiches. Signature entrees are MeatloafHerb Crusted Chicken,Sirloin Steak and Chicken Marsala. The Chicken BruschettaPork MarsalaGrilled Chicken and Chicken Rosemary are also good. But the reason many people return once or twice a week is the Nantucket Cod Dinner.  The oven baked Cod is stuffed with onions, crabmeat, shrimp, spinach, cheddar cheese and cracker crumbs. It comes with one side, fresh baked rolls, and the Soup/Salad/Fruit Bar. This is one of the best dinner bargains in the West Hills. Don't order the Grilled Cheese Sandwich. They have the bizarre habit of toasting the bread, then adding the cheese. It is not a grilled cheese sandwich.
Ya Fei appears to be a small storefront restaurant in the strip across from IKEA. But once inside the place opens up to be much larger than expected. The flavors and textures here are different from a typical Chinese eatery. Their Hot & Sour Soup, for example, is not as thick or spicy as American versions. That makes it more like what you get in China. It is very flavorful and the best Hot & Sour Soup in the Western Hills. Ya Fei offers eight Soups, all of which are good. Its Egg Rolls are crisp and delicious. The Scallion Pancake is the best of the Appetizers, which also include Baked Avocado, Teriyaki Skewers, Pork Wontons and six others. There are eight Salads, including Seaweed, Ahi Tuna, Crab, Tuna or Salmon Ceviche, and an amazing Seafood Martini. Entrees are typical, but the textures and flavors are quite different : Sesame or Sweet & Sour Beef, Chicken or Shrimp; Lemon, Orange or Strawberry Chicken; Teriyaki; Mongolian Lamb or Chicken; Ginger Scallops; Kung Pao; Garlic Eggplant; Peking Duck; Pad Thai and so on. Of the Desserts we like their Honey Glazed Fuji Apple, but there's also Cheesecake and Fresh Pineapple. There's a bar and a full range of alcoholic beverages. There's also a full Sushi menu. Some people have complained online about poor service but every time we've been here it's been great. We also find the prices reasonable. The atmosphere inside is quiet and conducive to conversation. Other Chinese restaurants advertise heavily and have bigger names but we think this may be the best Chinese food in the Western Hills.
Ichiban is a classic Japanese steak house. It has the usual Sushi bar, the colorful waiters who prepare your meal in front of you at your table, or traditional Japanese meals served without the performance. Of their appetizers, we like the Shumai (steamed crab dumplings) and Yakitori (chicken shish kebabs). All their Hibachi dinners begin with a Japanese Soup, Shrimp Flambe, Salad with Ginger Dressing, Steamed Rice, Hot Tea, and Hibachi Vegetables. You then pick your entree from chicken, beef or seafood. We like their Scallops but friends love the Lobster. You can also go a completely different direction and order a Sushi Dinner. If you're new to Sushi, you can try the Sushi Beginner's Dinner. There are four other preset Sushi dinners, or if you're an experienced Sushiite, you can assemble your own from 20 choices. Authentic drinks include Sake, Plum Wine, or Japanese Beer. For kids there are nonalcoholic specials like Karate Kids or Cherry Blossoms. Located in the strip mall across fromn Ikea's.
longhorn steak house  
Mad Mex is Mexican food on steroids. The atmosphere is pretty zany, and the menu features some very creative Mexican dishes. They're not too concerned with Authentic. It starts with the traditional salsa. You get to pick your three. We're pretty impressed with the Avocado Tomatillo, Fire Roasted Tomato Chipotle and Pico de Gallo, but if you like heat, you'll want the Pineapple Habanero. They have great soups : Red Bean Turkey Chili, Black Bean, Chickpea Chili and Tortilla. There are five salads and 13 Burritos, of which we like the Veggie (pico de gallo, roast corn, zucchini, portabellos, grilled peppers and onions). If you're an Enchilada fan, try the Red Velvet (grilled chicken, spinach, pico de gallo, zucchini, cheese, red and green sauces on a corn tortilla). They take great pride in their $10 Chicken Chimichanga (marinated chicken, peppers, mushrooms, onions, Monterey Jack, red pepper sauce, rice, and black beans, all sealed in a corn tortilla and fried). Our Quesadilla expert high fives their concoction of black beans, pineapple, cheese and grilled steak. Across the parking lot from the old Robinson Town Centre Movieplex.
The Olive Garden may be Corporate Italian, but it's good. Among appetizers we like the Smoked Mozzarella Fonduta, an oven baked mix of smoked mozzarella, provolone, parmesan and romano cheese served with Tuscan bread. If you don't eat Italian often, you might prefer the Sampler, a platter of squid, mushrooms, fried zucchini, chicken fingers, fried mozzarella and roast meat ravioli. Of the three soups we'll take the Toscana, a blend of spicy sausage, russet potatoes and cavolo greens in a creamy broth. Kids will be happy with one of their pizzas, which come with a salad. You can get six kinds of Yuppee coffee, but the Caffe la Toscana is more authentic and equally delicious. However, as beverages go, we much prefer the Villa Antinori, a great Italian wine, a blend of three kinds of grapes from Sangiovese vineyards. From entrees, we recommend the Mixed Grille (skewers of marinated steak, chicken, vegetables, and Tuscan potatoes), Seafood Portofino (mussels, scallops, shrimp and mushrooms in linguine in garlic butter wine sauce), and Sausage Rollatini (oven baked lasagna filled with cheeses, sausages, tomato alfredo sauce and mozzarella). Located high on the hill above The Mall At Robinson.
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