If you are part of the food world in the city of Ottawa, you likely know who Ron Eade is (and if you aren't, he is the Food Editor at the Ottawa Citizen and a fellow blogger, you can find his blog here.) He also plays host, along with Mike McCracken, to the Omnivore's Ottawa Supper Club, where food lovers can join them for an evening of good food at a local restaurant.
This month's featured restaurant was The Urban Pear, a cozy restaurant found in the Glebe. Forty foodies, including myself and fellow blogger Mary of Beans and Caviar, enjoyed a 4 course meal for the reasonable cost of $70, $93 if you wanted the wine pairings for the evening.
When the announcement for this edition of the Supper Club went up, I didn't ask my husband if he wanted to go - I asked Mary instead! Full of life and great fun to dine out with, I couldn't ask for a better "date".
First on the menu was the soup, a spiced cauliflower soup with a confit lamb tongue filo, green onion pesto and a preserved lemon and golden morel mushroom compote.
This soup was divine, creamy and thick. While I didn't find the green onion pesto added much to the flavor, the preserved lemon and golden morel mushroom compote was wonderful, bright and with a slight crunch. The confit lamb tongue filo was good, but did not seem to bring anything to the soup other than garnish. Floating in the soup, the filo was also a bit soggy, rather than having that nice, messy pastry texture that I so enjoy in filo.
Our second course was a pan seared Albacore tuna loin and steamed manila clams with a kohlrabi puree, grilled okra, and a red pepper broth mounted with a house smoked smelt sour cream.
Try saying that five times fast!
The tuna was perfectly cooked, tender and melting. The clams hit that right point, not over cooked and chewy, but not underdone either. I'd never tried okra before but was happy to finish off my pieces, crunchy and not at all slimy as I'd expected they would be. The kohlrabi puree and red pepper broth were both full of flavor and everything in this dish matched well together.
Next was our main course, a beef tenderloin with a panzanella salad of 5th Town fedda cheese, organic tomatoes and balsamic marinated bread with grilled king eryngii mushrooms and a black olive tapenade with basil pesto highlights.
I love beef tenderloin, but only if it is done right, medium rare, pink throughout. This tenderloin melted into my mouth, soft and perfect. I needed my steak knife more for the panzanella, which was hearty and full of flavor. The organic tomatoes were sweet and juice, a lovely paring with the beef.
I didn't see any type of mushroom on my plate, let alone a king eryngii mushroom, which was a bit of a disappointment as I love mushrooms.
Our final course of the evening was our dessert, a roasted Niagara Peach with spruce and balsamic bacon cracker, blueberry infused white chocolate mousse (though funnily spelt mouse on the menu), crumbled oats and basil syrup.
I love bacon but did not understand the bacon for this dish. Nor did I "get" the basil syrup. I enjoyed my "mouse", bites of which I always tried to have with a piece of peach and some crumbled oats. Those flavors worked well together, a bit of a crunch along with the freshness of the peach and the softness of the mousse.
Our little corner agreed, however, that the dessert was not the highlight of the evening we expected it would be. After so wonderful a meal, dessert should wow you, and while we all enjoyed it, this one left us all feeling something was missing.
Chef/owner Ben Baird, and sous-chef Mark Currier, along with all the staff, did a wonderful job hosting us. The service was friendly and fabulous, the setting was lovely, and the food was very good. I'd go back for more beef tenderloin and for more of that fabulous soup.
Thanks to Ron and Mike for hosting (and I hope you get better very soon Mike!) a great evening out!