I had heard a lot of good things about The Blue Pear (10643 123 Street) – a small boutique restaurant, their creative menu changed on a monthly basis to reflect seasonal ingredients. Of course, given that they only served four-course pre-fixe menus at $85 per person, it wasn’t the type of place I would pick for a spontaneous dinner. With July’s Fork Fest, however, the $35 three-course meal was a great opportunity to give The Blue Pear a try without breaking the bank.
Mack and I had a reservation for 6pm on Thursday. The restaurant offers seatings every half hour, but because it was still relatively early, I was surprised that there were already a few parties in the dining room. The friendly hostess seated us in a dim corner, and left us with the wine list and the food menu, which included the Fork Fest specials at the top. I ordered a Sangria ($7) to start – a blend of red wine, fruit juices, and orange brandy – while Mack opted for a glass of Stella ($6), and we both asked for the Fork Fest meal.
Through the course of the evening, we were served by four different people. This could have made us feel taken care of, but the opposite actually occurred – the service as a whole was less personal and attentive because of the number of hands involved.
At any rate, our appetizer arrived promptly with the verbal promise of bread to come. The layered salad of marinated summer vegetables and fresh mozzarella was finished with a dressing of sundried tomatoes, herbs, and balsamic and mustard oil. The cheese overwhelmed the carrot, eggplant, roasted red pepper and zucchini, but I didn’t mind this as much as Mack did. Our bread didn’t arrive until after we requested it when our entrees were brought to us.
Marinated summer vegetables, mozzarella cheese, sun-dried tomato, herbs balsamic and mustard oil
Thankfully, the grilled Alberta pike fillet made us forget temporarily about the need for any carbs. Perfectly seared, the fish was flaky and tender on the inside. Served with a Bobby Flay-esque corn and black bean salsa and a deliciously rich herb butter sauce, the dish showcased well what the chef was capable of.
Grilled Alberta pike fillet with prawn, corn and black bean salsa, horseradish mashed potato and herb butter sauce
Dessert was a flourless chocolate cake topped with whipped cream, fennel and slivers of basil and accompanied by rosewater almond cream, milk chocolate rosemary sauce and basil oil. We both found the shredded basil an interesting garnish, one that Mack would have preferred left off his last course. The cake itself was lovely – sweet and dense as a flourless cake should be, with an intense chocolate flavour.
Flourless chocolate cake, confit of fennel, rosewater almond cream, milk chocolate rosemary sauce and basil oil
At dinner’s end, Mack said it felt like something was missing, as if the staff were just “going through the motions”. I couldn’t disagree – compared with our recent visit to Characters, Blue Pear just didn’t offer us the experience we were looking for. The food was great, but I’m not sure I’d return for an $85 meal.
The Blue Pear
10643 123 Street, 780.482.7178
Dinner only, Wednesday to Sunday from 5pm