Several years ago I gave a pretty decent review to the Roasted Pear in Burnsville. While the food we had there was in no way mind-blowing, it was decent; however, we never went back because it wasn’t really a place we ever gave much thought to. Tonight, after a nearby stop at the doctor for The Koala (no worries, just teething), we swung over to The Roasted Pear to cash in on their fairly extensive and reasonably priced happy hour specials.
We arrived at around 5:15 and found most of the restaurant empty. There were a few people at the bar drinking the boring domestics they had on tap and a few scattered tables, mostly around the outside of the restaurant, populated with people eating early. We ordered several items off the happy hour menu: the wings (buffalo comes on the side), the three sliders (pulled pork, cheeseburger, and chicken sandwich), a spicy giardiniera pizza with sausage, and an order of sweet potato fries. Their happy hour specials range between $4 and $7 and we ordered items from each level. FYI, their online menu seems a little out of date to what we were provided last evening and some of those options were either not available or were slightly modified from what you will see on their website.
The food was out in a reasonable amount of time and came to the table looking like what I would expect from a Sysco-truck-to-table restaurant. The sweet potato fries were abundant but obviously came from a bag. They were accompanied by ketchup and their ‘signature’ root beer ketchup. Now, I want you to stop for a moment and take some time to think about what just went through your mind when you heard “root beer ketchup”. Whatever shock or horror came to mind would never, ever, ever even come close to preparing you for the horrendous flavor which would erupt in your mouth when you dipped one of those previously frozen sweet potato fries in this disgusting concoction and then decided it would be safe to eat. I really have to wonder who thought that up and whether they actually ate the stuff afterward because, if they had, they would NEVER have served it to anyone. SO. UNBELIEVABLY. GROSS.
The Slider Trio were nothing special at all. I have seen previously frozen White Castle hamburgers which looked to be more appetizing than these three. While I didn’t bother to taste any of them, the overdone cheeseburger looked grey and droopy with a tiny bit of cheese; the chicken sandwich looked like a dried frozen patty; and while the pulled pork was said to be the best of the three, it looked like it came straight from a microwaved Lloyd’s bucket instead of from the corner of the wood-fired oven.
The wings were meaty but tasted off and had the texture of frozen wings defrosted and cooked in an oven instead of the crisp and flavorful wings they should have been either from the wood-fired oven or a grill. While the wings were edible, their version of Buffalo sauce was not. I don’t know how anyone could screw up Buffalo like they did but even though it looked like buffalo, it tasted like spicy tea and the weak bleu cheese dressing did absolutely nothing to save this eye-watering disappointment. It was right about this time that I realized why the restaurant and bar were empty…it’s because the place is horrendous. However, the pizza was the only decent item we had last night. While it was doughy, undercooked, and looked like a frozen Target-brand pizza, the giardiniera was not oily, the truly spicy pieces were large and could have been confused with being homemade, and the sausage was abundant. I enjoyed the pizza for $5 but they need to utilize that wood-fired oven to make the crust crisp and charred, not bring it down to its other miserable happy hour counterparts by appearing as a pale and sick previously-frozen pizza.
Overall Roasted Pear has really gone down hill in the last few years and we wouldn’t be surprised if they close their doors soon. The most surprising part of the entire evening was that not one single employee asked us what we thought of the food. While the service was fine, they spent most of their time huddled in the kitchen and service area chatting instead of trying to make the experience better. Great service when the place is empty is one thing but when the food is borderline inedible, it doesn’t make for a pleasant experience and more should be done to remedy that situation. Honestly, I’d rather have eaten at Ernie’s Pub. Yeah, it was really that bad.
14200 Nicollet Ave
Burnsville, MN 55337