A forecast of three to eight inches of snow, with
potential for sloppy roads, did not deter Dinner Party of
Eight from venturing forth on this one-month-till-spring
Saturday night. Captained by Deb K, our car fearlessly
wended through the messy inch of snow to Greenville,
eastward on SR 81, across 9W, before finding a parking
spot in front of Cask and Rasher.
small-ish 40 x 20 building awaits, appropriately dark, at
first, with a distinctive pub menu. (Albany Times-Union
blogger Steve Barnes had favorably reviewed C&R in
September 2013, focusing on the Necro-wings, something
none of us tried this evening.)
The menu consists of three
entrées, a handful of starters, nachos,
quesadillas, a half-dozen versions of spuds,
almost ten versions of chicken wings, two soups, five
burgers preps (including the Rasher burger - one pound of
bacon smothered in cheese!), four chicken sandwiches, a
black bean burger, and four desserts. It seemed like a
light menu, at first, but it proved ample enough.
started with three appetizers for the table: the battered
onion rings; chicken fingers, with BBQ sauce, and the
signature hand-cut garlic-parmesan frites; and a dozen
classic chicken wings, also with frites.
The drink order started clumsily for us
first-timersno list other than the chalkboard upon
entry. Se we ambled back to the board and returned to
order. Somehow, for regulars, this would be part of
Wine might have existed but the tap
beer selection merited exploration, especially
with sixteen choices covering a gamut of styles. A beer
aficionado might detail them here but suffice it to say
that, with one exception, everyone enjoyed at least one
of the beers, or two or three.
The three entrées came with a choice of cream of
broccoli soup or a house salad. Those who chose salad,
and those who ordered it separately, found a nicely
crafted simple salad with a plastic cup of flavorful
dressing. The French onion soup was deemed good but not
for dinner included: the mussels and frites
(dt), steamed in garlic, butter, lager; Shepherds
pie (dt), a large oval bowl with a nice base of meat and
vegetables, blanketed by several scoops of
cheese-sprinkled mashed potatoes; a grilled vegetable
quesadilla (jq); a chicken breast sandwich with bacon and
jalapeno aoli (dk); two orders of the beer battered
haddock (tk, mn); a burger laden with sautéed onions and
mushrooms but no bun as requested (kq); and the Cojo
chicken wings (jn), seasoned with fresh parmesan and
garlic. Classic, and interesting, pub food, inviting a
The omnipresent hand-cut garlic-parmesan fries were
joined by a side of sweet potato fries.
A short list of desserts was
proffered, we looked, patted our full bellies, and
Food plus drinks plus tax plus tip
totaled $55 per couple, and we shook at our heads in
satisfaction at the economy and value of our meal.
, astounding. Alex greeted us upon
entering, and she continued to ring up someones
bill, then tended to someone at the bar, then delivered
our menu, disappeared back into the kitchen to fetch some
food, and on it went. After looking around to see who
else was working the floor, we realized Alex was doing it
alltending the bar, pouring drink orders, taking
food orders, delivering, cleaning the 12-15 tables. At
any one time, there might have been forty customers, and
Alex efficiently and courteously served and cleaned
during our stay. She obviously did not have much time to
chat but we admired a performance like few others we have
witnessed. Thank you, Alex, for competent service, and
quite a show.
of C&R is classic cozy pub. The building is nestled
in the dark clump of housing on Mansion Street that is
more West Coxsackie than Coxsackie offering glimpses of
neon in the front window signs.
The interior is enclosed in cherry and dark wood,
abundant beer signs and mirrors, and a variety of
seating. And it is a young crowd. Without us, the median
age might have been 23, give or take a year. With us,
average age spiked to near sixty!
The short end of the bar faces the entering customer, and
then bends back another twenty feet, capable of serving
about fifteen chair-holders. Fifteen four-person tables
are arranged in flexible configurations, a couple by the
front plate window, with a couple of high tables sticking
above the rest. Galvanized small buckets set on each
table, each bucket holding banded combinations of napkin,
knife, and fork.
Lighting comes from a room-length line of seven tulip
bowl lights, each clasped by wrought metal. Another
string of four milk-glass downward domes set over the
bar. A stray light by the plate window, the glare from
three sports TVs, a few glimmers from beer signs, and the
hint of light emanating from the kitchen door provided
just enough, but still ample, light.
The noise ebbed and grew in stages. We entered a
half-full pub but within a half-hour, we were part of
forty people awaiting food and the accompanying din that
only the arrival of food can diminish. Which it did after
forty-five minutes, with another crescendo the half-hour
before we left. Still, conversations could be hears by
the whole table.
found ourselves at two of the tables pushed together, a
bit tight, so we nudged the tables away from the wall,
allowing the end people to move half around each corner.
It worked, it was cozy, and we preferred this to the
enormous space that MVB had provided the month before.
Behind the bar sat three rows of liquor, and rising above
the three rows stretched two rows of forty-five beer tap
handles of the different beers they would have dispensed.
A nice eye-catcher.
Just shy of two hours, we donned our winter gear, pushed
our way outward into one of our milder evenings of this
interminably cold February, and gingerly and safely found
our way home. A good group pick, Chay.
For a rare consecutive month, we met
at the restaurant, thus shortening the range of topics,
not that there ever a shortage with this cast of
characters (the Quinns and Notars joining up with the
Teators and Karneses in consecutive months!).
Dominating talk was the extraordinary consistency of
bitter February weather (throw in a couple weeks from the
end of January, too). Even the winter-lovers are casting
a wistful eye toward normal weather, something the
forecasters say might happen a couple weeks hence. The
crunch of snow under slow-moving tires was an evocative
indicator of cold.
The other big talk was of the Notars just returning from
a Niagara Falls vacation earlier in the afternoon. The
ice on the Falls, casino, food, travel all were part of
Other tidbits: the unusual dinner experience at Red
Rooster the night before with Chay & Deb, Den &
Julie; Presidents Week school break coming to an
end; Julie working forever; the Monteverds in Florida;
the Adamses RV-parking in Florida; Kerry breaking his
Lent rules just for DP8 this evening; Don snow-shoeing
and making good use of the weather; Deb T skiing with her
father; Deb Ts big toenail; the Quinn offspring and
the memories of parenting they are creating (ha); the
former students who own Cask and Rasher; the Durham
Elementary YMCA (more ha); getting ready for Italy; a
trip to Florida soon for Chay and Deb; CDHS news;
Joyces trip with students to France; Christopher
and school and life; and on it went.