Roughly 13 years ago, someone had alerted me about the Pear Tree out in North Burnaby that served up Downtown quality fine dining eats. Back then, I was not all that interested in North Burnaby because I was living in Yaletown. How the tables have turned... Now that I am in the burbs, I have taken an appreciation for good eats outside of the Vancouver proper. Even with my relocation, I did not actually go eat at the Pear Tree. In fact, my parents had gone there twice and raved about it and I still hadn't gone. There really was no rhyme or reason to this since it was on my "to do" list for a long time. So 13 years after the fact, Viv and I were going to finally dine at the place. I guess the fact we had a Groupon helped as well. We were able to get 2 Signature Tasting dinners for the price of one. For such a highly regarded establishment with Chef Scott Jaeger at the helm (he represented Canada at the Bocuse d'or in 2007), it was a definite bonus.
We started off our meal with a beautiful slice of their house made Brioche. It was light, moist and sweet. The salted egg wash on top added a wonderful flavour which complimented the buttery/nuttiness of the bread. Add in the smooth house made butter and we were already content at this point. The first course was the Warm Potato & Leek Foam which has to go down as one of the most impactful foams I've ever had. It had body and depth of flavour. There was a creamy, Earthy thing going on with soft bits of potato hidden underneath. Next up was something that I had tried before, even though this was my first official time dining at the Pear Tree - Orange Caramelized Scallops with
double-smoked bacon risotto. A few years ago, they were serving these as part of Hats-Off Day along Hastings. So I already knew these would be superb. And yes, the scallops were perfectly seared and caramelized. The aggressive addition of salt really helped amp the flavours of the scallops, in particular, the crisp crust (which accented the sweetness beautifully). The risotto exhibited smokiness from the bacon, yet it was not as creamy as I would've liked. It did have a good texture though.
Continuing on with seafood, we had the Fresh "Miracle Springs" Rainbow Trout with butternut squash. The trout had a beautiful sear which was crisp and once again, flavourful (the chives provided an herby accent). Underneath, there was white asparagus, wilted spinach and pomme Dauphine. The veggies were cooked perfectly while the pomme Dauphine was nicely pan-fried, nutty and smooth. The combination of all the flavours created a balance. Before we began the meal, I had taken a look at the regular menu and the Crisp Pork Cheek with Ham Hock Ravioli caught my eye. So we added it to our meal. It was a good move since it was probably our favourite dish of the meal. The pieces of pork cheek were super tender and smoky (from the sear). The caramelization of the meat combined with proper seasoning made for a delicious little bite. The pickled onions added a little perk up which brightened the rich flavour. Intermingled with the pork cheek was asparagus and eggplant with an eggplant puree. The puree was both subtle and profound. Yes profound. It had that je ne sais quoi quality about it. The ham hock ravioli was perfectly al dente with a burst of salt (in a good way) from the filling.
Back to the usual programming or otherwise known as the tasting menu, we had the 24-Hour Braised Natural Fed BC Short Ribs with mushroom ravioli. The slow cooking process with the short ribs made it melt-in-my-mouth tender where the fat and meat were gelatinous. There was a considerable amount of depth-of-flavour thanks to the cooking process. It was a tad on the saltier side but it was partially offset by putting all the components of the plate into one bite (which is probably the chef's intent for the dish). These other components consisted of a celeriac and barley puree with root vegetables and green beans. On the side were two wonderful mushroom raviolis which were perfectly al dente. The filling was typical mushroom Earthy, yet salty at the same time.
All this "saltiness" was soothed by the side of Pea Shoots & Pear Salad with maple dressing. The dressing was very mild, hence, all we got were the natural flavours of the ingredients. Not sure if I would like it on its own, but it worked well with the short ribs. This was the last of our dishes before dessert which was Valrhona Chocolate
Ganache with a salted caramel streak and orange chocolate sorbet. For us, the portion size of the dessert was perfect. It was plated simply, yet elegantly with fruit adorning the ganache. The ganache was smooth, thick and bitter sweet with plenty of chocolate and chocolate taste. The smooth texture was contrasted by the crunchy base. Mixed in with some of the salted caramel and the flavours wre further amped. We liked the addition of the chocolate sorbet because it was light which was needed since the ganache was not. We loved the bitter sweetness mixed with the orange zest.
And one final item presented by the chef himself (was it my camera?) was one quesnelle each of Raspberry and Fennel Sorbet with alpine strawberries and sugar crumble. The raspberry sorbet was tart and smack me in the face with flavour while the fennel sorbet was subtle and only semi-sweet. The alpine strawberries were aromatic and the sugar crumble added some texture. Presented with our bill were 2 small Macarons which was a nice end to our meal. After it was all said and done, we really wondered why it took us this long to finally eat at the Pear Tree. The food was carefully constructed and the service was top-notch. I can safely say that it won't be very long until we return for another meal.
- Exquisitely prepared food
- Simple elegance
- Excellent service
- Small intimate room means diners are tightly packed
- Expensive (but worth it IMO)