Mountain View Brasserie – January 2015
7.26 – 8, 7.6, 7.5, 7.5, 7.25, 7, 6.5, 6.5

January’s last day found DP8 at our favorite close-to-home winter pick (and favorite, anyway); the Karnes-Teator core, complemented by the Notarnicola-Quinn circle of friends, were anticipating the re-opening of Mountain View Brasserie after their winter break.

The usual notes apply: excellent food and service, pleasing French-styling, Terry’s reading of specials, Rebecca’ excellent service, the exchange of hellos with the waitstaff, the catch-up of news, etc., all of it personifying our comfort zone of fine dining as presented by the Buel-Suhner team (seven previous times at MVB, and four at Freehold Country Inn).

It is rare for us to entertain MVB appetizers when soup/salad is included but six of us did, even if the choice was the other half of the soup/salad.
==> Soup du jour—cream of broccoli (Deb K, Don: another worthy soup)
==> Lobster bisque (Deb T, Joyce: enjoyed thoroughly, have also enjoyed thicker bisques)
==> French onion soup gratinée (Mark: very good)
==> Stuffed Portobello mushroom with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and cheese (Kerry: excellent)
==> Slices of Mozzarella cheese with tomatoes and basil oil (Julie: excellent)
==> Caesar salad with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (Chay: the usual excellent)
==> House salad that accompanies entrées: (seven of us: basic but always a welcome start that is not taken for granted)

Two baskets of French bread, wrapped in white linens, accompanied by shapened soft butter in ramekins, appeared within five minutes, a matter of timing this group appreciates.

Red wine served six of us (Pitch 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Chatom 2010 Zinfandel) while a beer and soda filled the drinks order. (MVB still has a remarkably fair wine mark-up.)

==> 12-ounce prime rib special enticed three. (Deb K, Chay, Joyce: cooked as ordered [med-rare, medium & well], tender enough for the fork, and good-excellent)
==> Sea bass special, with a tomato-corn chutney topping (Mark, Don: tasty, meaty, excellent)
==> Sautéed sea scallops served with wilted spinach and bacon sherry vinaigrette (yep, you know who, and she was happy once again)
==> Baked salmon fillet with orange and olive butter (Kerry: excellent)
==> Sautéed chicken breast Francaise with lemon and white wine sauce (Julie: excellent)
Entrées came with choice of baked or au gratin, and a serving of carrot slabs and haricot vert, all of which was savored

Selections of dessert was scattered
==> Warm apple tart with vanilla bean ice cream and caramel bourbon sauce (Don/Deb share: a tasty alternative to Don’s usual chocolate)
==> Warm chocolate cake with French vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce (Kerry: excellent, even after enduring Julie’s explanation of family favorite desserts)
==> White chocolate bread pudding (Deb K: excellent, as usual)
==> Black Sambuca for Chay—a pour generous enough to share with Mark
==> Coffee for Joyce

An after-dinner offer by Terry for a round of drinks was most appreciated but we declined this evening. We were sated.

Service, for the dozenth time, is testimony to Terry’s training and attention to details, and to the quality of the “lucky” person who gets us. Rebecca, thank you for a fine evening of service, and a pleasure to catch up on news of the family. Plates and utensils are changed seamlessly. Water was filled regularly; there was some disappointment from Rebecca that the coffee-cup-that-needs-eternal-filling was not present!

The “joint was jumpin’” this evening; many diners must have anticipated the re-opening after the three week vacation. Nearly every table was full, and the waitstaff served at a briskly efficient peak, with Terry perambulating to oversee that all was going well.
          We were ensconced in our usual back corner banquette combination, with three tables melded together to accommodate us eight, creating a bit more room than we were used to. Chay and Don sat on the ends, and if the people in between were not talking we could hear each other.
          Dinner lasted a half hour longer than usual, fifteen minutes short of three hours, but our course of appetizers explains that.
          The bill for the evening, $125 per couple, totaled more than our MVB average of $100 but the appetizers course and the recent rising cost of meat justified that.

It was nice to be back at MVB, and we hope the For Sale notices we have read about come true for these hard working restaurateurs. Just as sincere is our wish that another establishment of comparable quality be available whenever MVB fades into memory.
          Alluded to before, but we had no pre-session, an event that happens once or twice a year. Thus, the topics of the evening were from the table only, or, more exactly, from my section of table.
          Some of the strands: the Notar update, Mark’s first year of retirement, Joyce’s filing of retirement papers, the student trip to France, Chris’s college experience, hot tub, the Quinn update, work, someone’s refusal to retire, whereabouts of the three younger Quinns, Super Bowl, deflated balls, school closings way before snow actually falls, the premature closing this past week, the upcoming snow storm forecast in 24 hours, Deb T’s DIY projects at home and at Nathan’s, the doings of the Monteverds and Adamses, the Teator trip to Italy, a new TV at the Karneses, winter being halfway done, Ground Hog’s Day, and more.
          February, likely, will find another close-to-home pick.