Bread from Tree Stone was already on the table, but it did take a bit for our server to appear with menus and water. Once menus were provided, we were given a quick explanation of its organization, then we were left for slightly too long to make our decisions.
Of course we were there for Fork Fest and we stuck to it - there was no chance of jumping to the $89 - 5 courser. We did however choose to go with the "mini wine pairing" - a glass of sparkling wine, a glass of wine paired with the entree, and another with dessert for $29 per person. For food, Charles went for the Caesar and the Beef Two Ways, while I chose the Cauliflower Soup and the Guinea Hen Breast & Braised Chicken Thigh (they would bring the dessert menu later).
Our sparkling wine was brought out straight away, and I have to say it was a nice thing to have on an average mid-week day... it made it a bit celebratory, which we both appreciated. Our soup and salad followed quickly (I'm sorry I didn't take a picture of either). The soup was lovely and rich, and the bit of blue cheese sprinkled on top made it even creamier, while chopped walnuts provided crunch. They really did make the Caesar their own - while the dressing was fairly classic, the Parmesan-custard was a departure from the norm, and unfortunately it wasn't quite Charles' thing.
We had to wait a bit for our mains, which turned out fine as we needed some time to soak up the rest of the sparkling wine. But just as we finished our glasses, our entrees appeared along with a slightly delayed glass of red for each of us.
The flat iron steak on Charles' plate was melt-in-your-mouth exceptional, and certainly the best steak he's had in the City thus far. The chili con carne was based on Heston Blumenthal's In Search of Perfection version (I wasn't sure what to think of that), and Charles' enjoyed its richness, and said the wine went well with the slight spiciness.
Beef Two Ways
Dessert came out relatively quickly and we dove in appropriately. Charles' chocolate dessert was just that - chocolately, although there were some hints of berries throughout. My "ants on a log" was pleasantly nostalgic - there was some crunch with the peanut milk chocolate log and peanuts around the plate, a heavy concentration of celery in the sorbet, and some spiced cinnamon sultanas to round it off. It was a playful grown up version of a child hood favourite and I would certainly have another plate of it.
After our dessert plates were cleared, we decided on an espresso for me and a latte for Charles before we faced the final bill...
We really enjoyed our experience, and while we were left wishing for slightly more polished service, the food made up for any delays in drinks or otherwise. Of course we would love to head back, but at $89 per person for their traditional five course menu, we are going to have to fill up our change jar.
The $45 - 3 course menu made us both happy though - it was essentially the "Baby Blue Pear" menu, which ordinarily goes for $59, and we feel there was some definite value there. Plus, the restaurant had been on our list for awhile, and we are both glad the Fork Fest deal gave us the chance to head over.
The Blue Pear
10643 123 Street
Hours: Sun & Wed through Sat (5-9:30PM); Mon & Tues (Closed)