Signature Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Dungeness Crab and Avocado Salad, Molten Chocolate Cake
Occupation: Former Mayor Pinole, CA
Favorite Restaurant: Pear Street Bistro
Reviewed Pear Street Bistro: Thursday, September 14, 2006
If you do it right, you show up early, so you can have a drink in the buzzing bar. This is the place to see and be seen. They pour a great drink, and you always get your money’s worth in the bar.
The whole place has a great young energy about it, from the service to the decor, and the patrons too. As you are seated, you might forget you are in the East Bay and not San Francisco.
It is always nice to start off with a great wine; this place makes it easy to choose from the best of California’s best. They do the whole wine service the right way too, so you know the whole night will be done well.
The pace is just right, and the food matches what we in the Bay Area expect from our top spots.
I love to see an open kitchen, and anywhere in the main dining room, you get to see the fire jumping, and your food being made with precision and love.
The menu has just enough choices to make it hard to pick your meal, but not to much so you need a snack just to get through it. You make your choice knowing you will have to come back for more anyway. Each bite you take is fun in this place, but you never seem to overeat.
Who needs San Francisco when you have a slice of heaven without the traffic?
Occupation: Textile Painter
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Sociale
Reviewed Pear Street Bistro: Tuesday, September 12, 2006
My husband and I arrived at Pear Street Bistro for a leisurely lunch. We were greeted by a friendly hostess as we entered the eclectically decorated restaurant. We passed through a room with a lovely large bar and an area for nighttime music.
The dining room we ate in had nicely textured walls that had the look of rafia in the paint. We sat in front of the open kitchen and watched two very busy chefs, as they cooked for the lunch crowd. The wall surrounding the kitchen was painted with multi-colored squares. We loved the lighting treatments that looked like large balls of twine.
All that said the restaurant is very inviting. Now on to the food. We started with a Dungeness crab cake, it was plump and cooked well, yet didn’t have a lot of flavor. However, the jicama slaw that came with it was very tasty.
We then were served the french onion soup, which came with a lovely long housemade crouton on the side to be crumbled into the soup. The soup looked delicious, yet it was so heavily salted that we couldn’t eat it. This is coming from a self-confessed salt-a-holic. Moving on, next came their signature pizza, and we agreed this was the best item on the menu. The pizza, which is really a flatbread, had a cracker-like crust, and had a heaping helping of yummy caramelized onions, gorgonzola cheese, and roasted pears. This was a great combination of textures and flavors. Unfortunately the meal goes downhill from there. The linguine bolognese had all the right elements to be quite tasty, ground beef, carrots, onions, tomato sauce, yet again, it had very little flavor. Next came the worst item of the day: the flank steak, which was piled of top of red-skinned mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes again suffered from too much salt –somebody put a lock on the shaker! I don’t think anything could have saved the steak, it was a poor quality piece of meat.
I must add that the service was very friendly and efficient. When our server noticed that it was taking a long time in between courses, he apologized and said it would be out shortly. Our lemonade was refilled promptly, as were our water glasses.
We had a piece of chocolate cake that came with the $16.00, three-course, fixed-price lunch. The rest of the fixed-price meal was the onion soup and the steak and mashed potatoes. Back to the cake, first you must know ALL meals that I eat must begin or end with dessert. The cake had a layer of ganache, white chocolate
mousse, and chocolate cake. It wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t good. That last statement kind of sums up my general feeling about the restaurant. I think that it is probably a fun place to go for a drink and listen to some music. They have a huge selection of specialty cocktails that all sounded yummy. I also feel that if they refined their cooking, they could definitely be a better restaurant.
Occupation: Political Advocacy Writer
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Presidio Bowling Center Grill
Reviewed Pear Street Bistro: Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Okay, I’m going to Pinole. Where is it again? Gotta love the East Bay. I pull into the parking lot behind the restaurant, see the sign that reads, “Old Town Parking.” I look for the accompanying sign stating, “For towed cars…” There isn’t one. I am able to park for free right next to the building. Ruby (four months and counting) and I stroll in, and the hostess takes us to a seat by the window. I’m dressed barely acceptably, but as I’m in Pinole, I have no change of clothes.
Décor is top-notch, with shapes and lights and contrast (that’s Ruby talking). I just want some iced tea. It comes. I eventually drink three of these. What strikes me about eateries is how many people it takes to run one with great service. This place is clearly service oriented, even on a Tuesday noon. I don’t know how they make the Dungeness crab and avocado salad, but I have a hunch they put in a juice glass and then turn it upside down, garnishing it before serving. Delicious, fresh, crabmeat with perfectly ripe avocado; I could have gone home happy right after this, but wait. Next up is tortilla chicken soup. When asked if I wanted bread, I said, “Just one piece.” I was happy he brought two, as it was sourdough heaven with some fluffy butter.
Now, when I see an entrée list that has “Southern Fried Chicken” with garlic mashed potatoes, I stop looking. Except today. Because right above it was listed, “Pan Seared Rainbow Trout” on a rice pilaf. I’ll have to go back for the chicken, but I am very happy with my choice, with crunchy vegetables on a plentiful mound of seasoned rice. The trout was flaky without being dry and the bits of trout skin here and there were a delicacy. By now Ruby is on my knee, facing out, taking in the colors of the pilaf and the rest of the diners; the place has a good lunchtime vibe. I zip up my jacket to hide the “Turkey Trot” t-shirt I’m wearing. Keep in mind, I’m an amateur restaurant reviewer and don’t know how to just take a sample of the dishes. I eat them all and take my lemon cheesecake to go and eat it surprisingly soon after returning home. When my wife asks, when I mention how good Pear Street Bistro was, if I brought her home anything, I quickly change the subject.