Monday, August 12, 2013

Pear Tree Restaurant not afraid to be salty

Pear Tree on Urbanspoon
I finally made it down to the Pear Tree Restaurant in Burnaby after having it on my list for the longest time. They were closed for part of the summer and had just starting up operations again. Fully booked for both dinner seatings (6pm and 8pm), which for a restaurant of their small size is easy to do.
It also has no windows! We were not too far from the front door (which has glass and admits light), so on the sunny Saturday evening we were at the proper angle to get actual daylight. The rest of the restaurant was moderately lit -- certainly not the romantic darkness that some other places maintain.

The Pear Tree has a few quirks that first timers should be aware of:
  • First, the chef prefers that you concentrate on the food. So we were all rather surprised when they started collecting menus when my initial order of the scallop appetizer came. My idea was to have something to snack on while the rest of our party arrived and we browsed the menus. They didn't really push it too hard, but it's a dining concept I hadn't seen elsewhere.
  • Also, the kitchen is not afraid to use salt. Both of my appetizers were salty. Even the slices of brioche (picture) they brought to the table before dinner had a salty crust. Hmm!
  • Which is not to say it wasn't tasty, but if you're keen on watching your sodium, you might want to call ahead first.
  • Finally, there is a vegetarian menu (on the menu it reads, "vegetarian and vegan options available") but not really a vegan menu. For vegans, they trim the vegetarian menu of the non-vegan items (e.g., they take out the cream in the Classic Flamed Gin and 'Cascade' Tomato Soup with Chive Whipped Cream); and for dessert they can prepare fruit sorbets.
Orange Caramelized Scallops ($16) with Double Smoked Bacon Risotto (picture)
  • Salty risotto, but overall this was really tasty and probably the best item on the table. The fragrant scallops could be whiffed over a foot away.
  • The appetizer portion was four scallops.
"Local Prawn Cappuccino" ($15) Prawn Bisque Foam with Dashi Custard and BC Prawns (picture)
  • Very salty. Reminded me of marmite, actually -- Yes, it was that salty. 
  • Interesting to try, but the prawn flavour combined with the saltiness probably makes this a hit or miss for most people. For me, the sheer saltiness was off-putting.
  • It's one of their signature items, so someone in your party should definitely get one. Stir it up or dig deep to get the prawn and custard bits on the bottom.
Slow Roasted Portobello Mushroom ($28) served with mushrooms, radishes, caviar lentils, and stilton polenta (picture)
  • This was from the vegetarian menu, and when I asked for "most interesting", the one that was recommended. It was colourful, beautifully composed on the plate, and tasty without being unduly salty.
  • Although the sliced portobello mushroom on top was arranged like a medallion of meat, I recommend against isolating that. Instead, eat it with a spoonful of the other stuff on the plate to avoid monotony.
Slow Poached ‘Maple Hills’ Chicken Breast with braised Leg, Potato Rosti, fresh Mushrooms and a Blanquette Sauce (picture)
  • This was my friend's order that I got to try a bit of. The chicken breast was stunning -- so soft and moist. If you're used to getting dry, wooden chunks of chicken breast, get this to experience the opposite.
  • Two long slabs of chicken like long sticks of biscotti.
  • Served with waffles topped with an interesting sweet mix. Also comes with extra (salty) gravy that was remarkably like the prawn cappucino, minus the prawn-niness.
Chocolate Ganache ($12) With a crisp nut base; Salted Caramel and Orange Chocolate sorbet (picture)
  • Even in Yaletown you'd probably not find a dessert of this size priced at $12. Maybe $8 tops. Not as interesting as I hoped. The decorations on top were lovely, however, including one intriguing tiny white strawberry (?) that looked like a pineapple.
  • I recommend flipping back and forth between the chocolate and the refreshingly sour sorbet. Despite the "salted caramel" indicated, this didn't strike me as salty.
Complimentary macarons come with your bill. (picture)

Staff is friendly and professional, and quickly makes you feel at ease.

No comments:

Post a Comment