Gabriel's Pizza & Grill - October 2013 (dt)
6.68 – 7, 7, 7, 6.9, 6.75, 6.5, 6.25, 6

Wending the winding country roads beyond Hudson, we non-Adamses wondered if Tim and Judy had selected the same town as their last pick. Sure enough, our cars nosed their ways into the parking lot across from Gabriel’s Pizza and Grill on Main Street, Philmont. (...)
          Gabriel’s is a casual and comfortable eatery, featuring a bit of bar food, as well as a bit of nice café bordering on casual fine dining—allowing a range of choices for an array of customers while filling a niche that serves Philmont well.
          Gabriel’s menu features almost a dozen appetizers, and pizzas, and mini-pizzas, and burgers, and salads, and sandwiches, and entrées. About a half-dozen wraps, and cold subs, and hot subs completes the posted choices. And then a specials sheet of a few additional appetizers and entrées fills the list. The entrée list veers Italian, although the French toast did draw some attention.
          By decision time, we chose:
==> veal Sorrentino, topping of eggplant parmigiana, over linguine (Judy: a favorite from her previous visits)
==> chicken wings (Chay: very good)
==> the fish taco special—tilapia, with a side bowl of guacamole, and a plate half full of tortilla chips (Don: good, semi-light and satisfying, with a tasty guacamole)
==> chicken parm (Ken: a favorite selection of his, an OK prep)
==> mac & cheese (Kriss: very good)
==> chicken, prosciutto & broccoli Alfredo (Deb K: very good, liked the prosciutto and rigatoni)
==> hamburger (Tim: ordered med-rare, satisfying; fries were cold)
==> eggplant parm (Deb T: good; heavy eggplant batter)

Most of the meals came with an eight inch plate of house or Caesar salad. The house salad was comprised of greens, tomato chunks, slivers of onion, sliced olives, and shreds of mozzarella, accompanied by dressing of choice in a plastic cup. Both salads were sufficient enough to keep everyone happy and also nullified thoughts of an appetizer.
          Arriving almost at the same time as the salad was a linen-lined, metal-ring basket containing about ten dinner rolls, accompanied by the cellophane-wrapped butter pats.
          The dessert list was, well, almost non-existent, with only three choices, with only Don selecting dessert—the hot lava cake, a so-so preparation.
          The wine list has a half-dozen wines, available only by the glass; a merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and a pinot grigio was selected by three of us. Otherwise, two drinkers of soda, one of water, and two of beer rounded out the drink list—quite a toned-down drink order for us.

Service by Alyssa was attentive, persistent, friendly and helpful. She handled every piece delivered and removed, with plenty of water (probably 25 Gabriel’s sturdy glasses!). Thank you, Alyssa ....

Ambiance was clean and neat, with three-inch, light-colored wood boards running diagonally on the bar side, and then straight on the bathroom side. Upon entry, a sturdy bar with about ten seats presented itself, competing with a view of the mostly open kitchen. The combined two “rooms” was about thirty by fifty, with a darker thin board filling the ceiling between the covered wide beams. A dark wainscoting ringed all the non-window walls, with a light pastel paint rising to the 10-12 foot ceiling. A banquette anchored our end wall, with booths filling most of the other available walls. A street-front wall was graced with plenty of modern windows with a few larger panes filling out the scene. Several regular tables complemented a few high tables. The interior personifies an antiseptically clean fresh-start that is developing an incipient burnish and depth that will season with time. A row of tightly spaced photographs of old Philmont formed a ring just above the wainscoting, gaining the attention of the local history minded.
          Floor vents shot a shiver-inducing breeze to a select few, necessitating a secondary use of the menus—vent covers. And noise was surprisingly at a minimum, considering all the wood, but we were practically the only occupied table on our half of the room. Still, the easing of hearing the end of the table was a plus.
          Lighting came from recessed ceiling lights, complemented by a string of skinny Christmas LED lights that sat on the wainscoting on the side walls, and above the windows on the front window wall. All in all, Gabriel’s presented a comfortable, clean, and cheery place to visit. For many, it should prove to be a regular haunt for everyday going-out food.
          The pacing was to our liking, with bread arriving ten minutes after our drink order, entrées just before the hour mark, and departure ten minutes shy of the two hour mark.
          The bill for food, tax, tip, and drink came to, drumroll…, $53 per couple, ....

Usually the pre-session hosts pick the restaurant but, with the Adamses no longer having a residence in NYS, the Teators filled in. A cheese plate with crackers, tortilla chips with salsa and dip, and chunks of Carrot Barn cider donuts provided sustenance. (The forgotten vegetable plate was remembered too late to be used.) A pinot noir and a Vouvray filled the wine list, with Corona and water completing the pre-session.
          Of course, one of our topics of discussion was the presence of the Adamses—soon-to-be residents of Virginia, current residents of their RV—on visit for a few days to friends and doctors. This meant a catching up of news from their front—RV, grandkids, house hunt, pictures of their house to be theirs next week. Judy showed gobs of pictures of their new house. (It was good to see you again!)
          And Kriss had gobs of pictures, also on her tablet/pad (it is wonderful to call her Ms. Techno after all these years!), of Matt’s wedding. Chay felt a little cheated, with half the room huddled over the iPads, and he sitting on the far stool.
          Don had the local history calendar available, so a few looked over the photos.
          And discussion—at the Teator house, on the way, at Gabriel’s, and back home—covered a lot of territory. Besides DC and wedding, the next big topic was Ken’s new vehicle, with someone confused by the new “pickup truck,” which turned out to be the 1941 Ford Coupe, black and shiny and distinctive with racy red detailing. Descriptions of the vehicle took some time, ...
          Other topics included why Tim takes Fish & Game Rd to Philmont, the beautiful stretch of weather that just ended, setting our DP8 calendar until January, DP8 Christmas at Karnes, Deb’s mother’s health (both Debs), the macular degeneration article, lots of C-D stuff (busing, prep time, last year, passing along hard-earned wisdom, administration, etc.), winter plans, Formula 1, Chay’s list of four things happening at school for the first time for him in 30+ years of teaching ..., local wildlife (several deer seen along, or crossing, the roads en route), peri-menopause, foliage approaching peak, skiing, government shutdown and park attendance, day trips, the Adamses making good “subs” for the evening, a longish drive back in the dark that becomes early autumn, and more that has eluded the far reaches of my synapses.