Last night my wife and I finally got around to trying a place people have been recommending for a long time…The Roasted Pear in Burnsville. Located in the building that used to house a Ground Round, it has been completely stripped and reorganized to create a pretty open and very nice restaurant serving a large variety of menu items and a full bar with great happy hour specials.
We arrived just after 6, following a long commute in the rain, and found the place fairly crowded for a Thursday night. The happy hour crowd had just come out through the doors and left the bar still packed but not to the gills. I was disappointed to see that I missed the 2-1 Thirsty Thursday drink specials and would have to settle for free water instead. We were first offered a high-top in the bar but I asked for a table in the restaurant side. We were given a booth along the wall with a partially obstructed view of the PGA tour being shown on the TV in the corner. Most other patrons’ attention was drawn to this and I noticed several of them wearing PGA tour golf shirts. Interesting crowd tonight.
Before leaving the house I had my wife take a look at the menu to make sure it agreed with her and I pretty much knew what I wanted before even stepping foot in the restaurant but gave myself the opportunity to change my mind along the way. Even after looking over the rest of the menu, the Roasted Pear’s Summer Grill specials (which began in June) appealed to me most with the Faribault Bleu Cheese Shrimp just begging for my attention. My wife, deciding before we left the house, went with the half rack of baby back ribs. Both of our meals came with the choice of a soup or salad and while my wife chose the salad, I went with their beer cheese soup. We also picked up their Shrimp Stuffed Jalapenos as an appetizer because, well, I like it spicy and I wanted more shrimp dammit.
The service was fairly attentive but the speed at which we were served was a little less so than other tables around us. While we arrived before several of them, our orders were consistently coming out behind a larger group in the corner. While I never felt that we were being cheated, I certainly didn’t appreciate that. Eventually our appetizer came out and looked pretty tasty. The dish had a distinctive wood smoke smell to it. The jalapenos were obviously roasted and were wrapped in bacon. The menu didn’t mention any dipping sauce but the center of the dish had a ramekin filled with what tasted like some sort of orange marmalade concoction. Between the smoke, the spice, and the sweet, this dish was pretty tasty. My sole complaint was that I really couldn’t taste the shrimp, even if I was trying, and that its texture was that of a Styrofoam peanut–crunchy and tasteless.
Sometime later our soup and salad came out. Both were accompanied by a wedge of bread, some herb butter and my soup had pieces of overdone popcorn floating in the middle. I admittedly have never tried beer cheese soup before and in my uneducated opinion this was pretty tasty and something I plan to repeat many times in the future. My wife’s salad was nothing to write home about and according to her the dressing needed some work.
After another lengthy wait our entrees arrived. Mine was nicely presented and matched up perfectly to what I was expecting:
From the St Peter caves in Faribault, Minnesota, Faribault bleu cheese stuffed Portabella mushroom caps topped with butterflied jumbo shrimp. Broiled and drizzled with white wine butter sauce. With loaded puff pastry mashed potatoes and fresh grilled asparagus.
While the shrimp was the same as in the appetizer above, bland and crunchy, the rest of the dish is what really impressed me. Normally someone would think that they wanted to concentrate on the shrimp but in this case my main draw to the dish was, as Jim Norton from The Heavy Table recently wrote about, the concentration on local cheese from Faribault. I tasted the mashed potatoes first and thought they were quite possibly the best potato side dish I’ve had in years. It was like a twice baked potato with more and while I was disappointed in myself for not leaving anything for later, it was just too well worth it to stop shoveling it in my mouth. The asparagus were perfectly grilled and while my wife still prefers the way I do it (salt, pepper, olive oil and a little balsamic reduction), I still thought they were tasty as can be. The main dish, the portabella caps topped with the shrimp were incredible. They were buttery, garlicky, and full of flavor from the sharp bleu cheese which hit me in the face like you cannot believe. Normally I would have been so pissed that the shrimp were shitty that I would have ranted about the horrendousness of a $20 dish being ruined but honestly, they just distracted me from the wonders hiding on the rest of my plate.
My wife’s rib platter looked good with a nice chunk of meat, some apple pecan baked beans, and potato salad. The potato salad looked, and tasted, like it was from one of those gallon buckets for sale in Cub during the summer holidays, but the beans were to die for. Sweet and flavorful but not too thick they were an absolute treat to eat alongside the slab of ribs. The ribs themselves were a bit overdone for our tastes and even though they were slathered with sauce, it was almost glazed on. My wife said she would have preferred for some more sauciness but we both agreed that they were tasty none-the-less.
The wife’s dish also came with a strawberry shortcake dessert as part of the deal and after looking at the dessert menu and finding only creme brule appealing to me, I decided to skip it all together and just try some of hers instead. The dessert was simple pound cake wedges with strawberries and canned whipped cream but she seemed to enjoy it enough to finish it off in a timely manner. I tried it and agreed with her that it was simply like any other strawberry shortcake we could have made at home.
Before tip our meal came to ~$45. Not exactly cheap, especially when the shrimp was a little shitty and the ribs were a bit dry, but as I stated above the dishes were very well done and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. If you’re looking for cheap, head over to their bar between 4-6 on Wednesdays for “Wimpy Wednesdays” and eat free wimpies while drinking some tasty adult beverages.
Have you ever eaten at the Roasted Pear in Burnsville? If so, what did you think? What are your favorite entrees to order? Have you ever taken advantage of their summer grill special or their happy hour deals? Whatever you think about the Roasted Pear in Burnsville go ahead and comment on!
14200 Nicollet Ave
Burnsville, MN 55337
See all the pictures from the Roasted Pear on Flickr here.