Lilith is your friendly neighborhood coastal cuisine joint filled with homey food by owners Jamilka Borges and Dianne DeStefano. The two Pittsburgh chefs borrow from their Puerto Rican and Sicilian roots to create a unique blend of flavors. After months of anticipation, Lilith is open to the public. Reserve a table through Resy.
Opening a Place to Call Home
The opening has been a heartwarming experience for Chef Jamilka Borges. She’s always enjoyed the support of the Pittsburgh community but now the love arrives for a restaurant she helped create.
“The response has been great, we’ve been super busy,” Borges said. “To see a lot of people that live in the neighborhood, and new customers, and a lot of people that have supported us through the years in other restaurants, has been awesome.”
Sicilian and Puerto Rican Fusion
The menu includes dishes and ingredients that both the owners grew up with. They’re able to put their creative culinary skills together to offer fresh flavors that you can’t get anywhere else.
“It’s [the menu] a little bit of both Dianne and my heritage,” Borges explained. “So it’s a little bit of eclectic Sicilian from Dianne’s side, and then the subtle Puerto Rican aspect of mine. And I think it has interested a lot of people. People are excited about it, and they definitely notice the flavor and the layers that go into it. Dianne has been making traditional Puerto Rican breads for a couple of dishes and the response has been great.”
If you’re coming into the restaurant for the first time, you’ll find a variety of seafood, handpicked vegetables, and homemade breads. There is plenty to choose from, whether you prefer a hearty pasta dish or a few vegetarian and gluten-free options. But Borges has a few suggestions if you can’t decide.
“Our Yuka Pierogis have really been like blowing people’s minds,” Borges said. “You get a piergogi with yuka instead of potatoes and then a ginger escabeche that’s a really great accompaniment. Then there’s our swordfish in a ginger and lemongrass broth with clams and taro root that’s just outstanding. Or we have a tagliatelle that’s from her [Dianne’s] Sicilian background, so we make fresh pasta dough every day with a lobster broth and plenty of scallops and shrimp.”
Lilith doesn’t serve just culturally infused dinners, they also have a variety of desserts, which are another way for Pastry Chef Dianne DeStefano to experiment with different combinations.
“Dianne makes an amazing tres leches cake with lemongrass that’s just absolutely delicious,” Borges said. “Then she also makes a mango torte with burtterscotch that is very good too.”
They also offer brunch on Sundays.
Moving Past the Beginning
The restaurant hopes to continue to expand their services in the coming weeks. They’ll be getting their liquor license and eventually inviting other chefs into the kitchen for special events.
“We’re going to be spending some time creating some cool cocktails and a wine list,” Borges said. “Then, we’re looking forward to starting monthly dinners with guest chefs that aren’t full on Sicillian or Puerto Rican dinners. They’ll just be more fun events that really highlight our passions and our connections with so many chefs and people that we love.”
Story by Kylie Thomas / Photography courtesy of Lilith
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