Many people assume that all the best restaurants in Vancouver are located in the downtown core. You can’t blame them. From Gotham to Chambar to Miku, there’s plenty of good eating. Some people might tell you to cross the bridge into Kitsilano for some terrific restaurants too. The suburbs? You might find some great casual spots, but nothing for fine dining, right? The Pear Tree in Burnaby Heights could be one of the glaring exceptions.
When I first sat down to write today’s post, I thought I hadn’t written about this restaurant already. As it turns out, I did, almost five years ago. I remember going; I just don’t remember writing about it. At the time, we were still settling into our new neighborhood and exploring what it has to offer. Today, I’m much more familiar with North Burnaby and the hidden gem that is the Pear Tree Restaurant.
The menu at Pear Tree changes up every now and then, particularly with the seasonal Table d’Hote. You can get it as a three-course prix fixe menu or you can order the items individually. We opted for the latter. The Kusshi Oysters ($20) — and you’ll excuse me as I didn’t write down the full description — were served neither raw nor fully cooked.
From what I recall, the half dozen oysters were lightly butter poached, resulting in a indulgent slurp that retained the softer texture of a raw oyster, but was simultaneously warm and buttery. It’s something a little different and we really enjoyed it.
The last time we went, we got the Spot Prawn Cappuccino. This time, we got its nearly identical successor, the “Lobster Cappuccino” ($18). Don’t worry. There’s no weird fusion going on with coffee here. Instead, it’s a lobster bisque that has been aerated into a foam, served with a dashi custard and poached lobster.
We told our server that we would be sharing everything. We didn’t expect the kitchen to split everything in half for us, but that’s exactly what they did. What you see above is effectively a half portion of this foamy soup that’s both light and rich at the same time. The dark prawn cracker on the side is a pleasant bonus. Each half-bowl contained about five or six small nuggets of lobster.
Available as either an appetizer or a main, the Orange Caramelized Scallops ($18 x 2) with Double Smoked Bacon Risotto was just as good as I remembered them the first time around (except I didn’t remember that we got them the first time too). The citrus from the orange is just barely there. The scallops themselves were perhaps just a touch overcooked, but they still worked very well with the small segments of orange and the wonderfully savory bacon risotto.
We had originally ordered the “main course” size of the scallops to share, but since it arrived on two plates with three scallops each, they charged us for two appetizers instead. The total cost would be essentially the same anyhow.
For our other shared main, we ordered the Veal Cheeks ($35) from the Table d’Hote menu. Even though what you see above is just a half portion (we had two plates, as with the scallops and the lobster cappuccino), the portion size of the veal cheek itself was still quite generous. Wonderfully moist and tender and served with a thick gravy, this was a welcome departure from a more standard protein.
The veal was also served with a bowl of pea shoots to share. Eat your vegetables, kids!
With a cozy dining room, exceptional service, and a creative menu that’s beautifully executed, the Pear Tree Restaurant truly is an underrated and oft-overlooked fine dining option for those of us who live in the ‘burbs. I’m sure we’ll be back. Maybe in another five years. Factoring in a $50 bottle of pinot gris, taxes and gratuity, the total bill came to just under $200, just like last time. Funny how things work out like that.