Freehold Country Pub -- June 2009 (dt)
5.88 - 7, 7, 6.5, 6.5, 6, 5, 5, 4

A busy and conflicting June schedule led DP8 to a rare Friday night dinner date and, by choice, close to home. So, we bellied up to our version of Cheers (well, for six of us), were greeted by owner Wayne Nelsen and bartender/waiter Sarah and a couple others at the bar, and headed for the back room where we ensconced ourselves around a table in the corner, pulling up four chairs for the diners not sitting on the wooden banquette.
               Freehold Country Pub changed ownership about five years ago, and Wayne has brightened the interior so that we middle-uppity folks can feel comfortable with a casual dinner and a drink. A front room of about six tables complement a bar of about fifteen stools; this area then funnels for about thirty feet, with side rooms for the kitchen bathrooms and an alcove; and finally, the back room about 30’x40’ holds about ten tables, with a pool table centering the room and a few machines—pinball, bowling, and more—providing more lighting, as does the three or four TV sets. The back room has dozens of liquor advertisement bric-a-brac signage covering the walls, with a few dozen stuffed animals on one counter, and lightened by the varnished pine paneling of a vaulted ceiling. Piped music of classic rock was a comfortable fit and provided background during the evening. Napkins are grabbed from the center napkin holder, silverware comes pre-packaged in a napkin, the tables are a utilitarian veneer top – all appropriate for our local hangout.
               Sarah took drink orders – a pitcher of Sam Adams for four, a “cabernet sauvignon”, a gin & tonic, sodas, and water, a few of which were refilled.
               Appetizers for the table included a couple dozen steam clams, a plate of onion rings, and a plate of shrimp cocktail, all of which was consumed in short order.
               FCP certainly offers classic bar food, but a short list of dinners and specials should entice most diners. We find it a comfortable, casual fit for us even if the level of food may not match up with a typical DP8 choice. (This was certainly reflected in our ambivalence, or even stress, about the rating. We make distinctions about “A” movies and “B” movies but our restaurant ratings make no such distinction. So, some may have rated compared to our highest rated establishments, while others of us may have voted with our heart. Without question, we still appreciate the Pub.)
                Entrées included: a large garden salad with chicken (Deb T’s usual, which Sarah guessed before Deb said a word); beer battered haddock (Don, one of his stand-bys); grilled chicken sandwich (Tim); Greek salad (Judy); taco salad (Deb K); three large hard tacos (Chay); cheeseburger (Kriss); and ziti and meatballs (Ken, with a salad preceding it). Sweet potato fries accompanied most of the meals (not the salads or ziti), with some getting the small plastic cup of coleslaw (a vinegary cumen flavor). The overall opinion voted “GOOD” for those expecting bar food, and OK for those accustomed to our usual choice of establishment, but the closeness to home fit the mood, which bordered on the tired side, except for Tim who was experiencing his second Friday of retirement (Fridays only for now), although he, too, expressed a bit of weariness.
               Although desserts were available, we eschewed, although there were a few regrets voiced later. A bill of $50 per couple included tax, liquor and tip – an easy night for us.
               Service was Cheers-ish. We like Sarah’s skills, friendliness, perkiness (sorry, Sarah, it is meant nicely), verbal sparring, another reason to go to FCP. Ken’s coffee cup was filled most of the time, and water was mostly available.

The evening had started at the Teator home. The Adamses and Monteverds were present for the 45 minute pre-show, with the Karneses joining us just before departure time. Don and Deb had some fresh vegetables with hummus and a dipping-bowl of dressing, crackers and cheese, pineapple chunks, and cashews while we sat on the deck, watching the horses in the backyard, the rain showers on the Escarpment, a few patters of rain dancing on the pools, and the abundant growth of flowers in Deb’s gardens. A bottle of pinot noir and Vouvray, along with soda, washed the appetizers down.
               Talk here, and later from the pub, included censored newspapers, the Karneses at the new Yankee Stadium, work, more work, wedding dresses, children, grandchildren, Tim’s retirement, graduation parties, late spring weather, where to put a pool table, the Karnes’ party next week, our parents (the three of us who have them), viewing hours, and a bunch more. Very few innuendos escaped this evening, with...