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Restaurants & Bars 1

Pear Street Bistro – Welcome to the New Millennium

Krys | Feb 27, 200511:34 PM

The Charlotte Bellini, made of Roederer Champagne and pear nectar, is served in the correct Reidel glass. The $18 Sunday Brunch includes unlimited Bellini’s, Champagne or Mimosas (garnished with a wedge of blood orange).

The frittata of the day, a round golden plate sized disc cut in four quarters, had chicken breast, chicken apple sausage, diced red and yellow pepper, scallions, tomatoes and three cheeses.

‘Those potatoes’ were crisp golden hash browns with a rich sour cream and herb center.

Breakfast came with a choice of Maggiora Bakery whole grain wheat bread or sourdough, accompanied by butter and a small jar of Dickenson’s strawberry jam. There wasn’t anything special about the toast.

Next time I think I will ask to substitute the incredible looking dinner rolls baked in Pear Street’s brick oven.

The burger buns are house made as well. The “BISTRO BURGER” on the wonderful looking bun has California Kobe beef, applewood bacon, grilled onions, provolone, and mustard aioli.

The waiter was quick to point out that the soup of the day, Jamaican black bean, was not vegetarian.

There are prix fix lunch ($15) and dinner ($23) menus, as well as a tapas menu ($33), a bar menu and a take out menu.

The dishes play with the pear theme and the next dish I will try is the signature thin crust brick oven pizza - Pear, gorgonzola, caramelized red onion, balsamic syrup.

Other pear inspired dishes on the menu were:

A salad of pear, chopped romaine, Gorgonzola, and candied walnuts with champagne vinaigrette

A Belgian waffle made with fresh whipped cream and pear marmalade.

A poached pear and cream cheese tart served with pear marmalade

Pear Crème Brulee

Pear Merlot sorbet (the dolce de leche sorbet sounded good)

The website only has a short list of the fun cocktails. Classic martini purists will be annoyed to see that in addition to the Godiva Chocolate Martini listed on the website, there is a white chocolate martini and a Peartini. Perhaps they will be appeased by the Monday special where the classic martini is served for $3. There is a daily drink special for $3. On Sunday it is a Bloody Mary.

A few of the other cocktails not on the website are mango mojitos, coconut mohitos, mango cosmos, Grey Goose orange cosmos, Key Lime Pie, and many more.

There is a well thought out wine list. This month’s featured red wine is Marcelina cabernet sauvignon. The white wine featured is Logan Chardonnay. I was happy to see half bottles of Deutz Brut classic champagne, one of my favorites. It was probably chosen, as the menu says, for its pear notes.

The $15 corkage will be waived if you purchase a wine at Swish Wine Bar across the street which is owned by the same group.

Pear Street Bistro has a design even more smart and stylish than the wine shop

The décor is cleverly done in pear colors … green, brown, golden … and they really do match the colors of pears … Anjou green, bosc brown, ripe Bartlett gold with a touch here and there of red Bartlett. At the entrance of the restaurant, a small pear tree was in bloom.

When you enter, there is a lounge/bar area with an impressive walnut bar, a comfortable brown couch and tall beige ottoman’s to sit on. A black baby grand is in the corner. There is live music on the weekends and sometimes at the Sunday brunch.

The bar is amazing and I asked where it came from as it was obviously an antique. I was told it was found in someone’s basement. This bar took up the entire wall and all I could think was that it probably was from William Randolph Hearst’s basement.

The look is old style elegance brought into the new Millennium. The classic bar is accented with four high cocktail tables with stainless and black stools. The interior of the glass tables are lit with a twisty purple neon tube. Wispy, sheer celadon curtains drape the doorways.

The dining room is elegant with walnut paneling and cut glass mirrors. Again, modern lights give a fresh look. There is a large center table with 12 high burnished steel bar stools.

There is an open kitchen with the brick oven in the main dining room. There is another room for private events (there was a bridal shower today). An outdoor patio has heat lamps.

The staff is dressed in trendy black shirts and pants. The wait staff have white aprons, the name ‘Pear Street Bistro” tastefully monogrammed in white over one pocket and a tiny pear is on the back of the shirt.

I am way too old to notice this, but the young wait staff was really good looking. One guy bussing the tables had a young Patrick Swayze Dirty Dancing look … Baby … Coo, coo, ca-choo, Mrs. Robinson.

I love the style of Pear Street Bistro. It is what I imagined the restaurants of the new millennium would look like. I do not like the starkness of many of today’s restaurants …. the bleak Slanted Door, the colorless Cliff House and the boring Michael Minna. I don’t care WHO designed those rooms and how much money was thrown at those projects. I didn’t live this long to dine in funeral homes.

Given all of that ….

I will be a regular at this restaurant because some of the dishes I saw passing by looked excellent like the Kobe burger on the house baked bun.

Although the food was delicious, well prepared and excellent quality, on this first meal, I didn’t have a “wow” moment. In San Francisco, if it wasn’t in my immediate neighborhood I would pass it by like I have for restaurants like Piperade.

For a restaurant in Pinole, I am judging it by San Francisco standards because that is what it seems to aspire to. I hope on future visits I find that the food matches the top notch ambiance.

I am just dying to go to Hunan Villa now, the third establishment owned by the same group. Supposedly they have a rotating menu where you can sample different cuisines from different regions of China. Pictures of, as a brochure says, “the ultramodern décor” are spectacular. There is a hand painted floor. Gotta see that.

Also, they have live jazz every Friday and Saturday … you KNOW that will be my subject line no matter what the food turns out to be … “Hunan Villa – Chinese food and live jazz”.

Pear Street Bistro

phone: 510.741.8875
fax: 510.724.9414

The dining room is closed between the hours of 3-5PM Monday - Friday


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