The Inn at Leeds – October 2018 (dt)
6.98 – 7.3, 7.25, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 6.25

The Monteverd car wound along the tourist route through Gayhead and South Cairo before nosing in to find a parking spot at The Inn at Leeds for a close-to-home pick. Although many of us thought this was a repeat visit, the archives show this was the first DP8 dinner at the Inn.

The Inn has a reputation of a comfortable, casual, economical restaurant and we second that motion. The menu is a classic long-and-broad country inn menu, with a half-dozen choices for chicken, and steak, and seafood, and salad/soup, to go along with twenty sandwiches, a dozen burgers, and a dozen appetizers.

Our choices this evening:

            a couple specials:

            Most of us rated our choices very good, with a couple votes of excellent, and one or two quite satisfactory.
            not chosen: Gaelic chicken, shepherd’s pie, open-faced turkey, vegetable burger, blt sandwich, and more, just to give an idea of the menu range. A few entrées had $20-$25 attached to them but most items are in the $12-$18 range.

The entrées include a choice of soup or salad, with most of us choosing the salad, a couple choosing the soup of the day, and a separate order of a shared Caesar salad for the non-entrée selections.

Coming to the table first (I did not say fast) were two baskets of large slices of country bread accompanied by individual cellophane tabs of butter. That would have sufficed except…
            Someone suggested appetizers, threw an idea out, and the idea infected the table. In a rare move, we ordered a dozen garlic knots and a bowl of onion rings for the table as an appetizer. One would have thought we had treated ourselves royally, well enough that we were surprised we do not do this more often.

            The drink order was glasses of wine from the generic list of varietals available, choices from the draft list—an average but acceptable list, and a couple sodas.
            Desserts were recited, a generic list of a half-dozen usual items, with perhaps the chocolate cake and carrot cake possibly tempting us before we decided not to.

Service from Diana proved to be proficient and effective. Our first impression of the raspy, hoarse voice accompanying a laid back attitude changed with the arrival of the salad course, with Diana placing all the orders in front of the correct person, a feat that often does not get done. And she repeated it with the entrées. When we noted our pleasure, she showed us her “trick” in doing so. She kept Ken’s coffee filled (good coffee, Ken said), bused appropriately (although our table presents a challenge with our quite different eating rates), checked appropriately about our needs and comfort. Coming off a flawed service night at Wunderbar two weeks ago, we were pleased that the world was right again.
            The major service negative, beyond Diana’s fixing, was the very lengthy delays leading up to appetizer and then salad and then entrée courses. It was ninety minutes from seating to entrée, 50% longer than usual, a length of time most other places would have been judged more harshly. Somehow, our conviviality and garlic knots allowed us to overlook most.

Ambiance is pleasant. Although claiming to be an inn, I suspect the building has been modified over the years. Entry from the parking lot is from the side, not the road. One finds rooms piled three deep, about fifty by twenty, with the first being the bar with its 30 feet of stools, leading into the two dining spaces visually divided by partial walls and a couple of columns.
            Once inside, another large space for diners extends rearward into the banquet room. The Inn is more expansive than the road view allows, probably winding more than a hundred feet front to back.
            The pea-green wainscoting blended harmoniously with the buttercream pastel of the upper half of the walls. Old photos of Leeds and prints, complemented by works of metal, graced the walls. Lighting was a bit of a blare and glare, with half-globes extending from the ceiling, two in our space, three in the next space (throw in the pool table fixture), and the bar area’s hodge-podge. The sounds of the Giants losing to the Eagles competed with the sound of clinking pool balls just around the corner.
            Our wooden table allowed Ken and Chay to sit on the ends. Banquet style chairs with dense, emerald cushions and backs were comfortable enough.
            The tables were set with salt and pepper shakers, a stash of napkins, and small plates. Sweating silver pitchers of water rested on inadequate doilies, waiting to be poured into the clear plastic cups. Extra napkins sopped up the sweating pitchers.
            I do not usually comment on bathrooms but the stroll around the pool table, blocking the players from using their stick (so to speak), the sticky door, and rather unpleasant graffiti only added some character to the experience. I hope the women’s room was pleasant!

The bill arrived—$70 per couple. And off we headed home with a short drive ahead of us, figuring out the different combination of three cars and who was going where, and opining we will re-visit the Inn sooner than later.

Topics of the evening: deer, deer in the dark while driving, a wet day, very un-classic peak-of-autumn weather, DP8 needing subs next month, meeting the Karneses at the Inn, the Karnes wedding photo on Facebook, familiarity and surprise at the Inn, the pleasure of a short ride home, the Monteverds’ approaching cruise, travel plans, Deb T cleaning the garage now that Nathan has a garage, church activity for the Notars, Notar trip to Finger Lakes, MacGregor, baseball playoffs, Ken’s antique (no! his car, not him!), securing the yards against deer invaders, the whereabouts of our other DP-16ers, Florida plans, Deb K’s almost retirement, moving law office files, and several juicy comments at the table that I cannot remember. (must be the censoring reflex)