Serving a set menu, one that rings in a $89, there aren’t that many every day opportunities to dine at The Blue Pear. So when Fork Fest comes around, the smaller-than-normal $45 menu makes things a little more available. It just so happened that one of Sarah’s good friends, Pilates, was just about to celebrate an upcoming birthday, which pushed us over the edge into making this night special. So along with her husband Red Shag, Sarah took the initiative to get us a reservation last night and we were soon stepping out of the sunshine into the cool, soft ambiance of The Blue Pear.
With Pilates and Red Shag running a few minutes behind, Sarah and I settled on some sparking water. Not really thinking much of it, and neither of us opting for a wine pairing, we sipped a few glasses throughout the night. On an evening where we spent $45 on the meal, it hit me like a ton of bricks when the bill showed $30. 30 DOLLARS for WATER! Those are some pricey bubbles! The bread mix was nice, including a rustic white, sourdough, seedy, and rye loaf. I found the flavour good, but the rye slices seemed past their prime.
With two choices for a first course, it’s no surprise to see we conquered the options; Melon & Prosciutto Ham with Fresh Lemon and Olive Oil & Braised Baby Beets, Anjou pear, Goat Cheese Coulis & Candied Walnuts. I was the lone receiver of the melon dish, and found the melon perfectly rip while the prosciutto was chewy; something I didn’t expect. The beets seemed to be a hit with everyone, but Sarah (being the goat cheese lover she is) didn’t seem to be alone in hoping for a deeper goat cheese profile.
With 4 mains on the menu, I let it quietly slip that I would order last in hopes that the table would end up seeing every option. Lucky for me, and you, my dream ordering succeed and after a peaceful, and well timed break, our table was swimming in food; 1) Crispy Pork schnitzel served with soft corn polenta, morels, peas and garlic herb boursin cream sauce 2) Veal scaloppini finished with hand diced Ahi tuna tartare, tuna caper sauce, baby potatoes and spring asparagus 3) Farmed Barramundi grilled and served with rice dumpling, Asian mushrooms, greens and coconut-lemon grass broth 4) Guinea hen leg braised in red wine sauce served with foie gras , carrots, cipollini onions, mushroom and mashed potato.
Red Shag and Pilates split the schnitzel and barramundi. Both dishes seemed to be well received, but there was a few notes. The fish, and broth could have used something to really give it a kick, as it came across on the blander side. The pork was fried to perfection and sat on a delicious polenta; a definite thumbs up. Sarah had the veal, which was tender and delicious. However, we both wondered how much of the veal we were tasting, as the predominant flavour was the sauce. If you can’t tell by the picture, the dish was basically swimming in sauce. Sarah quite enjoyed the cubes of tartare and the vegetables. With 3 out of 4 options ordered, that left me with the guinea hen. Arriving on a creamy bed of mashed potatoes, the bird was cooked so soft that the bones literally fell out when I touched them with my fork. Soft, and luxurious with the slice of foie, I actually found the dish was spoiled by the gravy. With it’s heavy and salty attributes, everything from the potato to the onion eventually adopted the gravy flavour.
After putting away the mains, we settled into a french press of locally roasted Catfish Coffee and contemplated the dessert options. Unlike the mains, we ended up with one double plate; 1) Flourless dark chocolate-citrus cake with mixed berry sorbet and berry pudding sauce 2) Cherry clafouti with macerated & fresh cherries, kirsch foam finished with cherry pudding sauce 3) Fresh figs with parmesan cheese ice-cream, feuilles de brick & balsamic glaze.
The double order was the chocolate cake, and it went over well. A sample of Sarah’s dish led me to believe that if you like chocolate, this is the dish to get. The richness just seems to coat your mouth, putting you in a land of chocolatey goodness. Red Shag went for the clafouti, which at such a small size, was very manageable but seemed to mean that the cherries were outside rather than in. Either way, it was a first for Red Shag and something that he enjoyed. Going for play on sweet and savoury, I went with the fig dish. The parmesan ice cream wasn’t overly savory and went well with the sweet glaze below. I personally found that the thinly sliced figs were some what lost in the glaze, and unless I snipped off the outside edge, weren’t that noticeable. I’d pulled the parmesan chip out as I began eating the dish, and regret doing so. The chip, which tasted like an intensified version of the cheese, left a strong and undesirable last flavour. Although, I did trick Sarah into trying it as well, and let’s just say that after her chocolate cake, she did not appreciate this ‘token’ of my kindness. 🙂
For my first visit to this famous Edmonton culinary institution, I have to say it was good. You can tell that every bit of the meal is planned and executed according to some very strict standards. Yet……I don’t know if I’d come back for the larger menu. Not one person was wowed by the food, or had anything that was really memorable. As we sat and chatted about the meal, it seemed like no one would be going to work today and expressing what great food we had. It just didn’t hit us, or make us crave more. I don’t think my expectations were too high; after all, this is one of, if not the, go-to high end dinning restaurant in Edmonton, but the food didn’t do enough to entice me back.