Peter Shear's
 Canton, Ohio           Date of Visit: 10/29/11  

It’s been years since I have been to Peter Shears. For a few years I worked in Canton and during those years I managed 1 lunch and 1 dinner, neither of which really recommended a return trip. Once again, though, the voice on the phone (the answering machine) says it the “New” Peter Shears (about the fourth or fifth time if memory serves) so we overlooked past sins and headed down for dinner. We were hoping for a nice outing since it is our first trip out in over a month as my rib cage has been stitching itself back together. The menu sounds great…local ingredients…rangy ingredients…interesting flavor profiles, the chef/owner puts his name and CIA education on everything, let’s give it a shot.



Harbinger of Doom and Disappointment

The place is downstairs underneath the street and has a dark and antique feeling to it. Our server was the perfect Aryan archetype who had a bit of a stammer trying to get things out but did seem to know the menu and was an above average performer staying on top of beverages etc. He was a vast improvement over the "Lurch Dude" host who couldn't be bothered to look up or talk to people. Not a great first contact with the staff. It would be better if there were a trash can pointing you towards a table. The three of us ordered Stark Tusc Beer and Cheese soup with Minerva Dairy cheddar cheese, Sea Salt Cured “Bacon” a hickory smoked pork shoulder and the 427 crabcake as appetizers.

For the mains we went with a 10 oz NY strip with uncle walt’s steak mushrooms, the Freedom Ridge happy chicken breast and the fresno pepper marinated Diablo pork loin. All entrees come equipped with mash and a veg medley. To round things out we also added something to each order, creamed spinach, the smoked gouda veggie risotto and the maple blueberry venison sausage.

Big But Overly Bready and Fishy

Good Taste, Difficult Texture...Think Porky Hubba Bubba

Apps hit first and Steph had ordered the soup which allowed to me get something else but I really wanted to try hers, which I did first. I saw the look on her face and reading the utter lack of joy I suspected I would be trading first courses. I scooped a spoonful and had to take a second. I’m not being mean when I say it was the most tasteless dreck I have swallowed in a long time. What you don’t taste to be sure is either cheese or beer. I’ve never bought Minerva Dairy Cheddar but I looked it up…it’s not that expensive…put some in the soup. At best someone had taken the time to thicken water with a splash of something soapy in it. My second bite was out of confused frustration, trying to decipher what in the world was in the bowl, I was the only one who dared a second bite and we returned the bowl with very little disturbance of the interior and I began to notice how sparse the diners were for a Saturday night. Hope began to fade. The kitchen was disinterested in rekindling the flame.

The crab cake was big but had little discernable crab and what there was lent a suspiciously fishy flavor. The only thing that tasted even average was the “bacon”, but by using the shoulder you end up with a much chewier block of jerky instead of that luscious fount of porky goodness that results from braised belly. At least it wasn’t disgusting.

Shrooms on the Steak Were Great Touch

Well Cooked Pork But Flavor Struggles

Chicken was Again Well Cooked, But It Should Also Taste Good

Don't Bother

The big plates arrived with the sides and all three proteins were well cooked. The chicken breast was large and moist, the steak arrived at a perfect mid rare, and the pork a tender medium, all exactly as ordered. Unfortunately, the veg and starch were tragically under seasoned. If you aren’t going to put granular condiments on the table don’t season like it’s a retirement home. The best of the lot was the steak…but hey its steak. The shrooms were a stupendous addition. The pork was fine and the chili pepper added a nice bite but the rest of the plate was a muddle of ehhhhh. The chicken was chicken, but given the horror of the appetizers I will take boring but edible for the entrees. The risotto was bland except for some layers of off-putting essence of something. Worse still was the creamed spinach which appeared to be a bowl of spinach leaves and some warm cream…so I guess by definition…but I certainly would never order it again.

Oddly the standout for me was the sausage. Venison, blueberry, maple, and I thought I caught a sense of red wine, I wanted to try. Different, certainly. Good, enough that I suspect they buy it in from somewhere else, since it was miles ahead of nearly every other combination during the evening. Steph actually seemed to like it even if it took a minute or so of thoughtful chewing as it all came together. Our other companion tried a bite and then had sort of a melt down since she had just eaten venison. I told her what it was at least three times before I offered her a bite, but somehow I am mean and evil because she tried it. I won’t include her thoughts on the flavor here as they were essentially a lot of wide-eyed squealing and accusations.

Sloppy Flavorless Mess

Unique and Tasty Sausage, Redeeming Factor #1

At this point we were laughing (would they charge us for the “soup”/do we dare desserts/hey, McRibs are back at McDonald’s next door). My companions decided yea on the desserts and finally something lived up to the expectation for a place that has a bill of $140 for three people. The vanilla crème brule was average but the special chocolate pudding parfait was lousy with chocolate in different textures which made for the lone standout satisfaction of the night.

This incarnation of Peter Shear’s might easily be the worst but I have missed quite a few of them and given Saturday night I am guaranteed to miss any more. Thanks, but no. Ham fisted forays into flavors that are either unconsidered on the menu or untasted in the kitchen, overpriced, underseasoned, just a complete disappointment with one deer and one chocolate highlight. Oh, and the soup cost five bucks…says so right on the bill. Good luck to ya, but we will find other options...besides, it's been at least 15 years since I braved a McRib, might be better than I remember and certainly better and a better deal than dinner.

The Chocolate Dessert Was Chocolatey!  Yeayyyy!



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