Bartlett Pear Inn – Best Risotto and Lobster Bisque

Recently Greg and I traveled to Easton, Maryland to try out the Bartlett Pear Inn, ranked #25 in the Washingtonian top 100 very best restaurants (see Washingtonian review here). The Bartlett Pear Inn is located in picturesque downtown Easton. Upon arriving, it felt like we were starting a vacation, although we were there just for dinner. Bartlett Pear Inn was purchased and opened by Chef Jordan Lloyd in 2010. Previously it had been the Inn at Easton. Chef Jordan Lloyd has an expansive resume at only 33 years old including working in the kitchen of Per Se in NYC, a Michelin three star restaurant. Read more about Chef Jordan here.

We tried the seven course tasting menu and it was one of my favorite meals ever and in Greg’s top ten. Here is Greg’s review (also posted on Don Rockwell here):

Me and the misses went to the Bartlett Pear Inn for an early dinner last weekend.  I generally find restaurants in the 2 1/2 to 3 star category to be hit or miss and I hadn’t done any research on the place, so my expectations were tempered.  The Pear blew away my expectations.  I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but I didn’t find out until after dinner that Jordan worked at both Citronelle and Per Se. We ordered the 7 course tasting menu, which wasn’t on the menu but our server offered it up.  You can choose each course like a traditional prix fixe, choose some courses, or leave it up to the chef entirely.  We left it up to the chef.

The service was excellent — attentive but not overbearing, and warm but not folksy.  Pacing was good.  Absolutely no negatives to speak of.  We had everything we needed before we needed it without feeling like an army was watching over us.I have a food allergy and the server remembered the entire time, making note of what I couldn’t eat.  That sounds very simple and basic but you’d be surprised how even 3 1/2 star restaurants forget or are oblivious.  

 The tasting menu $78.  No amuse bouche, which I was slightly disappointed in but you can’t complain for the price.  The first course, a beet salad, was very ordinary in my opinion but fine.  The second course was the lobster bisque… and it was the best one I’ve ever had.  It was perfectly seasoned, not too heavy, and it came with a small lobster cake inside the soup.  The third course was an almond crusted sea scallop with succotash.  The scallop was properly cooked and plated with baby corn and other fresh veggies, a basil emulsion and balsamic reduction.  It made for several interesting flavor combinations.  For the fourth course, they did a duck magret breast with duck pastrami, quinoa, box choy and a blackberry-jalapeno gastrique.  I’m not a big fan of duck, but it was incredibly well seasoned and the duck pastrami was really good.  The fifth course was my second favorite and one of the best I’ve ever had.  It was a risotto with burgundy truffles, a Talbot Reserve cheddar cheese, parmesan reggionano and maitake mushrooms.  This was the best risotto I’ve ever had.  The mushrooms and truffles were each incredible and the chunk of cheddar combined with parmesan reggiano put it over the top.  If one were to make the perfect gourmet grilled cheese, it is this dish without the risotto.  Just spectacular.  We then cleansed our palates with what I think was a small basil gelato cone and moved onto the cheese course, which was nothing to write home about but good.  For dessert, they made bananas foster tableside.  The server did an excellent job with it and walked us through each step in the process.  It’s not a terribly difficult dish to make, but it was very good.  Overall, the food was exceptional and the presentation was pretty damn close.  The employees have a great deal of pride and are incredibly invested in the place, much like smaller far-flung outfits like the Inn at Little Washington or the Restaurant at Patowmack Farm.

 One of the 10 best restaurants near DC for me.  The food and service were both top 10 for me.  Maybe even top 5.  I included pictures of the lobster bisque, scallop and the risotto.ImageImage

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