Trance music and larger modern metal sculptures set the tone for the newest addition to the fish fold in the Strip District. Not your grandpa's fish market, the Penn Avenue Fish Company may have created a new style: Deep Sea Chic.
The décor and the menu are designed to hook the next generation of fish consumers.
Open less than six months, fins are flapping over its fresh-catch board menus. Crab-cake and grilled-salmon sandwiches are making a buzz, as well as the "Pretty Girl Rolls" (sliced salmon, avocado, "spicy sauce" and wasabi caviar) prepared by the on-site sushi chef.
Co-owner Henry Dewey describes his menu as both healthy and progressive. Dewey spent 11 years at Benkovitz Seafoods, on nearby Smallman Street, and explains that he is using that experience to revamp a business that isn't looked upon as glamorous.
"Our menu is very health-driven," says Dewey. "This generation doesn't want everything deep-fried. So we decided to offer fish that is grilled and broiled."
Sandwich-board items include grilled sea scallops; sautéed mussels; grilled swordfish with "Nasty Nate's" BBQ sauce; a grilled-tuna club; and crab tacos with mahi, salmon, and tuna with salsa and hot sriracha sauce. Several tables -- topped with ample reading material -- are set up in the shop for diners.
Fresh and frozen fish are offered for the home chef, including wild escolar, talapia, snapper and ginormous scallops. There's also a tapas bar that includes various seafood salads, vegetable dishes, pasta salads and fruit salads. All prepared foods are made fresh daily.
Dewey has a plan far beyond the confines of Penn Avenue. He'd like Pittsburghers to adopt a new edible icon, though this endeavor may go over like a certain Mr. McBeam.
"The steel mills are gone, and Pittsburgh's not full of soot and dirt anymore," says Dewey. "If we can do that, why can't the grilled-salmon sandwich become the new sandwich of Pittsburgh?"
Penn Avenue Fish Company, 2208 Penn Ave., Strip District. 412-434-7200