January 2009 – Mountain View Brasserie (dt)
6.56 - 8, 7, 7, 6.5, 6.5, 6.5, 6, 5

Our tradition of frequenting a local restaurant, as well as limiting the driving distance, for at least one winter month, meant revisiting Mountain View Brasserie in Greenville. Past reviews of the Freehold Country Inn and of MVB will attest to our attachment to the efforts of Terri and Ben Buel and of Max Suhner.
               First, though, the pre-dinner meeting convened at the Teator house, where Christmas decorations were viewed one last time. A chunk of reserve cheddar, a vegetable plate with three dipping sauces, and a bowl of cashews comprised the munchies list, while Fox Run’s Arctic Fox, Tunnel of Elms’ Cabernet Sauvignon, and Corona washed the hors d’oeuvres. After a half-hour of catching up on news, we embarked on the four mile ride to MVB.
               A welcome and gracious presence, Terri greeted us, and we anticipated once again enjoying MVB. We were seated in the back corner, with Chay and Ken on the ends, half of us on the banquettes. Linens and centerpieces, quality silverware, local artwork, and all the other details listed in earlier write-ups match the expectations that dining at MVB engenders. A center table with floral arrangements, candles, and sundries divided the two sides of our back area.
              Another long-time sign of quality presented himself as our server. Todd epitomizes the steady and capable quality of the waitstaff at MVB – quietly efficient, friendly, checking at the right spots, etc. Two baskets of French bread, accompanied with ramekins of butter arrived soon after our seating, water was poured, and Terri purred out the specials. A couple of us rarely order from the menu because of the temptations of the specials, and tonight was no exception.
               Occasionally, we order appetizers but such a short respite from the Teators may have kept our minds elsewhere this evening, except for Tim who requested the melon and prosciutto, a favorite of his.
               Soup or salad is included with the dinner. Four of us selected the salad – a mix of greens with shreds of carrot and squash, a couple of tomatoes with a choice of a few salad dressings that everyone enjoys, a simple but quietly tasteful start. Three of us ordered the soup du’jour – the Manhattan clam chowder, a smooth and rich sauce with small chunks of clam and tomato. (It was an interesting comparison to the hearty stew-type that the Teators and Adamses had tried the night before at Good Eats – another MCC.)
               Entrées came about 75 minutes after seating, a little slower than usual but MVB was full this evening, and both Todd and Terri gave us a heads-up that food would soon be on its way. Perhaps, it was our beseeching eyes.
               (In the meantime, Ken’s coffee cup kept being replenished, without a word from Ken. Ken must be home, and thanks, Todd.)
               Ah, the entrées. Sometimes, our favorite entrée is so inviting that is difficult to venture further afield. So it was with the filet mignon (Kriss, ordered well-done, and done perfectly; Tim, medium-rare and some of the best); prime rib (Chay, a well-done end, prepared the way he likes; and Ken, not quite medium-well but good).
               And then there were the adventurous. Deb T chose her second favorite, a pork sliced tenderloin, with peach and onion chutney, and much to Deb’s liking; Judy ordered the veal cutlet special, with Portobello, tomatoes, and cheese – a good preparation; Deb K and Don ordered the macadamia-encrusted halibut special with lobster sauce; a wet, unfinished preparation forced both to return it for further cooking, with mixed results.
              All entrées have choice of potato and most of us chose the au gratin, with its creaminess, just the right firmness, and fullness. (Baked potatoes are not an option.) The vegetable side was a tong-full of snow peas with a couple strips of red pepper for color – ok.
               Drinks consisted of a bottle of 2007 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, a winery and a grape that has become a standby when we encounter it. The only surprise was not ordering a second bottle. Filling the order was a glass of pinot grigio and two diet sodas.
              And, then, desserts. Along with the usual Sambuca and Frangelica sippers, Ken joined in with a Sambuca. Don tried the chocolate mousse (his first time, and good); Deb K and Judy with the Key Lime pie, and good & excellent (Judy, of course, made it a point of not sharing, even when Ken asked!); Kriss enjoyed my customary pick – the warm chocolate cake with ice cream, excellent, as usual; Deb T had MVB’s last piece of berry crisp, Deb oohed and aahed, and I concurred.
              The bill came to $100 per couple, including tax, tip and drink. Terri was gracious enough to subtract two desserts for the fish situation. And, yes, did I say, Todd, that we enjoyed your service?
             Off we rolled a few minutes toward home, on a cold evening.

The group and side discussions included Kriss’ most unusual damage to her car, DC and grandchildren, catch-up on other kids and parents, retirement (the Monteverds going south?!), school shenanigans and calendars, deer damage (the most brazen deer in a few years), winter temps, Ken’s snow plow, the Karneses getting to see states 47-50 next month, Ken’s back, and a bunch more. ....