We arrived for a late lunch Saturday afternoon and the place was hopping, but we only had to wait about 15 minutes for a table (even without reservations). Once our group of five was seated towards the back of the restaurant, we settled down to look over the menu, which had vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. I was happy to learn that they source from local ranches, farms and markets. My youngest son and I split a large Leaning Pear House Salad with spiced pecans, goat cheese, pear and shallot vinaigrette. This was everything you want a salad to be--fresh ingredients, with just the right hits of sweet and savory. My husband decided on the lunch special with a cup of soup of the day and half of a Reuben sandwich. The soup was a chilled BLT which had puréed romaine with tomato, bits of bacon and croutons. He loved all of the familiar flavors brought together in soup form. The Corned Beef Reuben had house-cured brisket, sauerkraut, Russian dressing, and Swiss cheese on toasted marble rye. He was impressed by the bread (made in-house it seemed) and enjoyed the flavor of the meat. He also appreciated that there was just the right amount of dressing on the sandwich.
My youngest son had the Funghi Pizza for entrée, adding Italian sausage to the roasted mushrooms, fontina, and taleggio. He thoroughly enjoyed the combination and especially liked the pizza dough--pleasantly chewy and fluffy. My oldest son's girlfriend had the Cypress Pizza with tomato, olive, basil, fresh mozzarella, and calabrese salami. She also approved of the pizza dough (the bread program here is a special one), as well as the general flavor of the pizza. My oldest son had the Herbed Chicken Salad on sun-dried tomato bread, served with pasta salad. He is a sucker for chicken salad and this one did not disappoint. Between bites, he repeatedly commented on how much he loved the bread. For entrée, I had the Chicken & Grits, which was a roasted airliner chicken breast with green chile-bacon grits (GF). The very moist chicken was served in a mini cast iron dish atop the grits, which had good flavor from the green chile and bacon, but nothing too overpowering. Once dishes were cleared, the initial reaction from everyone was they were too full for dessert, but when the dessert menu was brought around, minds were changes. My son and his girlfriend split the Mason Jar Cheesecake with balsamic macerated strawberries and graham cracker crumble. Lots of smiles, happy moaning and a polished off mason jar indicated to me that they were more than content with their choice. The rest of us split the House-Made Coffee Gelato, which made me think the Buchanans spent much time studying the intricacies of gelato while they were in Italy. Subtle coffee taste and great texture. Service was helpful and attentive, checking in at the right times.
The Leaning Pear is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturdays and Sunday brunch. I look forward to the cooler months ahead so that I can take advantage of that gorgeous patio out back. This is my new go-to for a Hill Country experience just under an hour away from Austin.