Chew On It
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By Andrew Kochirka GoErie.com staff blogger
Food has been an integral part of Andrew's life from a young age; from cooking with his mother and grandmother to creating recipes in his own kitchen. Now he scours the area's non-chain restaurant scene to find the best of the best of local food from chicken wings to French cuisine.   Read more about this blog.
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Peppino’s Italian Chop House

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Just three miles west of the Erie International Airport at 6590 West Lake Road is Peppino’s Italian Chop House. This modern Italian restaurant is tastefully decorated and exudes a relaxed, friendly feel. While some other locations I have visited in the past were a bit on the stuffy side, Peppino’s was very welcoming. Amanda and I had six o’clock reservations on Monday night and our table was set and waiting when we arrived. There were a few other tables, as well as a full bar of patrons, but it wasn’t loud at all. Our server, Megan, knew her way around the menu and the specials and was very helpful with answering any questions we had. She also gave us some honest recommendations, which I always love to hear from the servers I encounter. With steaks being our main focus, there were six or so choices on the menu. Amanda started with a house salad followed by the 5 oz. filet mignon. I wanted to try the Caesar salad and for my entree, I chose the 14 oz. New York Strip. Each steak also comes with a choice of basil smashed potatoes or pasta with the house pomodoro sauce. Amanda chose pasta and I went with the potatoes.

Our salads, as well as warm bread and great dipping oil, arrived first. The bread had a fantastic, crispy crust on the outside and the oil was delicately flavored with herbs and dried tomatoes. The olive oil used as the base was of high quality, so I was glad they didn’t add much to it. The house salad was a simple bed of mixed greens and romaine hearts topped with an array of olives, garbanzo beans, tomato and onion, dressed in their house vinaigrette. The olives provided an exciting pop of salty brine and the beans gave a wonderful texture contrast to the greens. My Caesar salad was lightly dressed in thick, homemade dressing with fresh croutons and shaved parmigiano-reggiano. When presented with the choice, I opted to have white anchovy fillets placed on top of my salad, which ended up being my favorite part. Anchovies in Caesar dressing are good, but having the whole fillet on the salad took it to a completely new level.

Our main courses were out in good time after we finished our salads and bread. The steaks looked amazing. The outsides of both had beautiful, seared grill marks. After a quick sear to seal in the juices, they were put under the broiler and cooked to perfect medium-rare. Peppino’s steaks are USDA Angus Reserve beef which range anywhere from top 2/3 Choice to Prime. They are all hand selected and then aged another 30 days to develop even more flavor. The steaks were seasoned lightly with salt and pepper and nothing else. The taste of the beef itself was the star; delicious doesn’t even begin to describe the natural, meaty flavor of both cuts. Amanda’s filet was fork tender and particularly juicy, the steak knife that was provided was actually unnecessary. It was served with a side of simply seasoned broccolini in addition to the pasta. The broccolini, which is a fairly bitter green, was not bitter at all, but had an intoxicating smoky, buttery aroma and flavor. We both could have eaten an entire plate of just that and been satisfied. Amanda’s side of spaghetti was cooked perfectly al dente and was mixed with just the right amount of pomodoro sauce, which was thick, chunky, full flavored, and wonderfully seasoned.

Like the filet, my New York Strip steak was incredible. The beef was beautifully marbled and had a bright red center. The seared outside locked in the juices and rendered the fat perfectly. My non-serrated knife cut through it like softened butter. Alongside my serving of broccolini sat a mountain of fresh, aromatic, basil smashed potatoes. The juices from the meat mixed with the potatoes and the broccolini made for an amazing meal.

Megan was a fantastic server and it was also a nice touch that owner/chef Joe Colao personally visited and talked with every patron in house. With entrees ranging from $8 to $32, it is very reasonable for the excellent quality of the food and service. Most menu items are à la carte with soups starting at $3, salads at $3, and appetizers between $8 and $18. Thank you again to the staff of Peppino’s for a perfect night out.

The address of Peppino’s is 6590 West Lake Road in Fairview and the number for information and reservations is 814.474.2016. They are open for dinner starting at 5 pm, Monday through Saturday.

Until next time,

Andrew — Beard vs. Food

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Read more of Andrew's thoughts about Steaks
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4 Responses to Peppino’s Italian Chop House

  1. Amy says:

    I LOVE PEPPINO’S! I have never had a bad meal there. The service and atmosphere are wonderful. They also have some really amazing seasonal appetizers and main dishes. If you haven’t been there – you must try it!

  2. Rob says:

    I really like Peppinos too – I may go tonight in fact. I haven’t tried their steaks but have had their Italian and their Veal. I have to say their Veal Chop with Demi Glace is one of the best I’ve ever had. This place isn’t cheap, but takes such care with their food and service that you never have remorse eating there. And I love that the owner makes it a point to speak to more than just regulars – a trait his competitors in town should adopt. Andrew – would you say the beef quality here is as good as that of Bertrand’s?

  3. andrew says:

    Rob, I have yet to have the prime beef at Bertrand’s, but I would really love to compare them. Hopefully I will be able to sometime soon.

  4. Brenda says:

    My husband and I just returned home after dining at Peppino’s. I couldn’t wait to write a review. The staff was amazing, the chef, Joe Colao is a talented chef, his food shows and tastes of his passion of cooking. His homemade marinara sauce is the best we’ve ever had! Everything was cooked to perfection, excellent taste and presentation! Joe even stopped by our table to ask if we were satisfied and if we needed anything. The Erie area needs more restaurants like this. We will enjoy more meals here in the future for sure!! I don’t mind paying a little more, dining at a place like this doesn’t compare to chain restaurants.

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