The Peasant And The Pear, Danville CA
We found ourselves a hidden gem this evening, almost literally. The hidden part is what’s almost literal, since the address for The Peasant And The Pear is on one street but the parking lot and main entrance is off the next street over. Once you find it, though, you won’t be disappointed.
We dined here tonight with another couple, which meant it was easy to justify getting multiple appetizers. Most impressive was the pear burrata: house made burrata cheese with pear honey compote on a toasted baguette, and drizzled with 18-year-old balsamic vinegar. The cheese had the texture of a fresh mozzarella with a subtle extra creaminess to it, and the fresh cream flavor came through. The compote was mildly sweetened with the honey so the sweetness to pair with the cheese wasn’t overpowering, but it was still rich in flavor. Zach liked this appetizer so much, it’s something he will try to recreate for future dinner parties.
It was Zach’s first time having fondue tonight. Pear slices, grapes, and hunks of crusty bread came with a garlic-rubbed pot filled with melted New York white cheddar. The fondue itself was good – creamy, gooey, and cheesy. The fruit was fresh, and the bread was a good quality sourdough.
Zach got (and August nibbled on) a Caesar salad featuring whole romaine hearts, croutons, shredded Grana Padano cheese, and classic Caesar dressing with real anchovies. The romaine was super fresh and abundant, house made croutons added a great crunchiness, and the dressing was very, very real – creamy, tangy, and mildly anchovy-ie.
On a bed of creamy provolone polenta sat August’s osso buco-style Sonoma lamb shank that had been slow-braised in Chianti. The polenta was surely one of the creamiest August and Zach had tried, and it soaked up the lamb demi-glace marvelously. The lamb itself, she’s happy to report, passed the fork test and required no knife. It was a huge shank, too, making for an all-around amazing entree.
Zach got the chicken Madeira, a boneless half chicken in Madeira wine sauce with sauteed green beans and fingerling potatoes. He’s usually not a fan of dark meat, however this half chicken had both white and dark and he ate just about all of it, as both were equally juicy and seasoned well. The skin was rendered perfectly leaving it crispy. The Madeira sauce was not overly sweet which was a good thing; Zach says he’s had some in the past that were way too sweet. He soaked up a little bit of sauce with each bite of chicken. The vegetables on the plate were cooked well and it was obvious from the flavor that they were very fresh.
One of our friends ordered the special of the evening, which was prosciutto-wrapped prawns with asparagus, sweet potatoes, and an orange carrot sauce. We’re not 100% sure on the flavors, but it was a pretty picture and we wanted to share it with you.
The final round that we all split, because we were so full, was this warm pear tart. The pastry shell was buttery, flaky, and scratch made (not from a freezer). The caramel sauce wasn’t overly sweet; August thought it had more of a mild burnt caramel flavor. The pears were tender and refreshing, and the ice cream was exceptionally creamy and added a nice element to the plate. The struesle gave this just an extra little oomph that made it a delight.
Our server Kim was friendly and attentive, and even walked by us with dishes that other tables had ordered so that we could take a peek. Just as impressive as the service is the fact that this restaurant supports “sustainable agriculture and aquaculture practices” such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium‘s Seafood Watch program. We arrived at an early-ish dinner hour and quickly the other tables filled up, including several large parties, attesting to the popularity. For a romantic dinner or a celebratory evening, find your way to The Peasant And The Pear.