The Spot: Perfect Pear
9845 South Priest Drive, Tempe
The Hours: Happy hour is daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Perfect for: Cheap drinks and hummus nachos. Mostly the hummus nachos.
Interior: Sit by the windows on the south side of the restaurant when you visit Perfect Pear Bistro. The other tables are fine, the booths look cozy and the high-top tables are perfect for a large group. But sit by the window, and check out what Perfect Pear has growing in the planters outside. During our visit last Thursday, small cantaloupe hung from vines and sprigs of rosemary towered above them. Our waitress proudly told us the chef pulls some of the seasonal ingredients from the restaurant's garden, and we tasted some of it later in our tapas.
The Food: Perfect Pear offers a selection of six "tapas" during happy hour, which are available from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily. We went with the warm brie and bacon ($3), the rosemary sweet potato fries ($4), and the hummus nachos ($5).
We predicted the brie and bacon dish would be our favorite, but it ended up being our least favorite, with too much salty bacon.
And the rosemary sweet potato fries were too sweet. Alone, the fries were flavorful with just the right hint of rosemary (picked from the garden outside), but sugar sprinkled on top was unnecessary. Things got even more out of hand with the accompanying brown sugar dipping sauce. Unless you like dipping sugar in sugar, skip the sauce.
The hummus nachos were the dark horse of the happy hour and proved to be our favorite food item by far. Your waiter will set these Mediterranean-Mexican fusions in front of you, and you'll probably think we're crazy because hummus piped over anything doesn't look appetizing. But try it, and thank us after you're done devouring the creamy, tangy, and slightly spicy combo.
The Drinks: The best way we can describe the happy hour drinks at Perfect Pear is cheap. Domestic beers are $2.50, craft beers are $3.50, glasses of wine at $5, and cocktails are $6.50.
Our waitress raved about the mules so we ordered the pear mule and the mandarin mint mule. We were surprised at how the pear mule actually tasted like pear and not some vaguely pear-like syrup. And the mandarin mint mule, which our waitress sold as including an organic mandarin vodka, was similarly true to flavor. It struck the balance between herbal mint, bright citrus, and classic ginger notes.
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Conclusion: If we were in the neighborhood, we would happy stop back in at Perfect Pear Bistro for some cheap drinks and those don't-judge-a-book-by-its-cover nachos. The rest of the food wasn't bad, but the brie and bacon was too heavy on the bacon and the sweet potato fries were too sweet. We're happy to say the drinks were well done, and at that price point, they may be enough of a draw to make us repeat customers.
Don't miss: The hummus nachos
Skip this: The warm bacon and brie