April 2005 - Bears #2
7.54 - 8, 7.8, 7.75, 7.75, 7.5, 7.5, 7, 7 

    
On a rather dismal last day of April (phew, we just got in this month!), DP8 showed up in full force for a repeat performance at The Bear’s Steak House. It was great to see the Adams after their absence last month and there was a pre-restaurant check to make sure the Karnes had money with them this time. We met at the Teators only briefly due to our early dinner “appointment” to share some liquid libations and light snacks (no one was going to ruin their appetite tonight). Then off into the early evening to our much anticipated final destination – beef heaven. Although it seemed Judy was more interested in Banana Cream Pie.
      
The Up Side – Where to begin, where to begin. The ride was enjoyable as always. The Karnes caught up with the Adams while the Teators hooked up for the ride with the Monteverds. We were seated at our “usual” round table (our favorite shape if given the choice), sitting in much the same order around it as we had last year. John, a repeat waiter from last year (and the owner’s son), was entertaining and attentive as expected. The first round of drinks was a white zinfandel, pinot grigio, and red wine (Beaujolais) for the rest of us. What’s this – Deb Teator moving into the red wine circle??? Welcome aboard. Appetizers included a fresh mozzarella, tomato and roasted red pepper dish drizzled with olive oil and spices, along with two shrimp cocktails, all of which were passed around, shared by all (even Ken), and enjoyed immensely. Some declined the cocktail sauce when it was discovered it might be a bit hot for their tastes – for me, it was just right (not to mention, I could breathe for the first time in weeks!). It seemed it had been a long time since we had all been together, so conversation was lively and animated – the Monteverds shared their annual vacation adventure in Myrtle Beach and, somehow mixed in with the constant reminder of Banana Cream Pie, the conversation always got back to the “meat”. Fortunately, Kriss saved the day by discretely mentioning to the waiter (who would have had to be deaf, dumb and blind not to have already figured it out himself) that perhaps at least one piece of BCP (Banana Cream Pie) should be reserved for Judy, lest we all pay the price.
       The moment we had all been waiting for arrived in seemingly no time at all and, I have to say, you would have thought we hadn’t eaten in days the way that meat (Chateaubriand) was attacked (I had heard rumors that some had eaten little that day, if anything, in preparation). The meat was cooked to perfection (ends more well done for Kriss and Chay, and the middle medium-rare to medium for the rest of us), the baked potatoes scrumptious (and huge!), and the carrots, although probably the one meal item lacking in quantity, were a nice color complement to the gigantic platter of food placed in the middle of our table.  Ken and Deb K agreed that the next time we made roast tenderloin at home, we would have to somehow work into one of the preparation phases rolling the meat in fresh ground pepper, because it was definitely a delectable addition. Even the normally non-beef eaters enjoyed this particular cut of meat, which I might add, was served with steak knives that were totally unnecessary – it could easily be managed with a fork alone. The wine flowed and, as an extra added bonus, our waiter indicated that whoever had called and made the reservation (Kriss), had made quite a good impression on his mother.  Kriss was extraordinarily pleased, as were we all, since John had previously regaled us with a story or two about patrons or prospective patrons who had gotten on “mom’s” bad side with their, shall we say, bad manners.
      There were “doggy bags” for all, each couple going home with at least another 4-5 slices of meat to take home for the next day.
      An exceptional meal was topped off with an assortment of desserts homemade by “mom”, each one sounding better than the one before as described by John.  Judy stuck with the BCP, while others went with the chocolate turtle cake, carrot cake, and chocolate cream pie. As an added bonus, John brought out a piece of tiramisu and cheesecake to sample. I sampled everything and there truly aren’t words to describe any of these heavenly concoctions, save perhaps “perfect”. Chay had his usual Zambuca on the rocks and Tim joined him in an alternate to dessert with a Frangelica.
      
The Down Side – I think if you were to ask any individual member of DP8 their favorite time to eat dinner, you might very well receive eight different answers.  I say with a great deal of confidence that 5:30 would probably not be anyone’s choice, especially on a Saturday night with a 50 minute drive. The Adams might enjoy the alternate 8:30 (or is it 8:00?) sitting, but for some of us, it’s getting closer to bed time than dinner time... Also, not our favorite restaurant in terms of ambiance and atmosphere, but you know what – who cares?  This night is all about the food and the service, both of which were exceptional.
      In addition, I think this is by far the most expensive dining experience for us.  I heard no complaints though, as we drove home through the damp foggy night, only whisperings of “when we come next time...”