March 2006 - Fernwood Restaurant
5.31 - 6.5, 6.5, 6.5, 5.5, 5.5, 5, 4, 3 

          It was a damp, dreary day that led into a much more pleasant evening, at least in terms of the company.  It seemed strange to be driving to the Adams for our monthly DP8 while it was still light outside.  In any event, if there was any doldrums, there were soon dispelled by Buddy’s zany behavior.  What a fun little guy – who could be sad with him around???  So of course, the initial round of conversation revolved around the puppy and his progress toward mature “dogdom”, his latest medical issues... and his upcoming vacation with Tim and Judy as they fly to Florida.  We got the scoop on Deb Teator’s recent trip to the emergency room (it appears nothing to worry about, she just needs to slow down a little… yeah, like that’s going to happen).  Don entertained us with some interesting statistics about our ratings of the restaurants, mostly comparing how each of us rate as relates to our respective spouses.  The stats were enlightening and no one guessed the top couples in any category, i.e., couple that was most consistently close in ratings, couple that was most disparate in ratings, etc.  Light refreshments were enjoyed by all, including lovely little pockets of spinach in phyllo dough (like a mini spanikopita) – yum...  There was talk of that trip to Washington D.C. again.  Kriss insisted that Tom and Debbie will be going, Tom insisted that they would not – it will be interesting to see who wins this battle, too close to call.  A house in St. John’s for a week, however, that wouldn’t be so hard to take...
         It was second chance night for Fernwood Restaurant in Palenville.  We all agreed it was a great location, right across the street from the creek in wooded surroundings.  Once inside, Merry and young Emil greeted us and seated us at our favorite setting, the round table.  We had the restaurant all to ourselves – strange for a Saturday night, but fine with us.  Cocktails were the usual, bottles of the house red for five of us, a couple diet cokes and a pinot grigio.  I think it is safe to say that salad almost ended dinner.  Two spinach salads for two were, as usual, ample and very tasty, the pumpkin soup for Tim was a good choice, Judy had to make do with a regular mixed green salad (out of the asparagus salad), and then there was the Caesar salad, or not, depending on how you look at it.  Kriss and Kenny wanted the Caesar salad without anchovies and the egg beaters, which Merry contended did not constitute a Caesar salad at all.  Things got a little tense but the salad came and it appeared satisfactory, although there were no rave reviews from the Monteverds.
         Dinner ran the gambit from veal parm and veal martini to the salmon special, shrimp scampi, shrimp and linguine with pesto, surf and turf, and filet mignon for a couple diners.  Considering that we had the place all to ourselves, the service seemed a bit slow.  Really, this is more an observation than a criticism because, in general, leisurely dining isn’t a problem for us since we are out for the evening and enjoy catching up.  The shrimp and linguine was good, albeit not phenomenal, and it would be my strong belief that the rest of the meals followed suit. I heard no rave or harsh reviews.

        The Up Side
   As always, the company is good, and between the dim lighting and the music (Dean Martin, Sinatra, etc.) there was a certain coziness in the dining room.  The round table is our favorite, since we can all see and hear everyone.  “Real” banana cream pie, cheesecake and assorted sorbets (served in the fruit – I love that!), along with two sambucas topped off dinner.  Tim and Judy shamed the men into a dance (with their spouses, of course!) – I believe that’s a first for DP8, something I personally would like to see continue in the future.
        The Down Side   The service was slow, no doubt about it.  Deb T was a little frustrated that her shrimp scampi came in the shell and Tom had trouble getting the lobster out of the shell (overcooked?).  We were the only diners in the restaurant and one might have thought that would have resulted in service “over the top”, but that was not the case.  Ken got his coffee cup filled adequately I believe, but Kriss missed out on dessert when she asked for ice cream and never got a response.  Not a good night for Kriss...
       
My guess is this dinner overall will fall somewhere in the middle of our scale, by no means at the top of the list, but probably not near the bottom either.