Mountain View BrasserieFebruary 2016
7.13 – 7.75, 7.7, 7.5, 7.2, 7, 7, 7, 6.5, 6.5

Valentine’s Eve (or, Happy VD, according to the romantically inclined) found us close-to-home, support-local at Mountain View Brasserie—a short drive made even more convenient by the -2° stabbing upon our departure.
          MVB is our perennial culinary favorite, not only for its quality but also for the comfort zone few other eateries engender, and our past reviews of MVB and the Freehold Country Inn will attest to that.
          Ingredients this evening: Terry’s greeting and checking of quality, small touches like a carnation for the departing women and valentine Kisses for all, white linens and small white shaded lamps centerpieces, Francoise ambiance, worthy service from Rebecca—a long-time favorite, a worthy range of menu choices made better from the half-dozen specials, the buzz of a busy Valentine’s crowd, and more.

As for our menu choices:
special Prime Rib of Beef au jus (Chay: the12 ounce, very good end piece although a little fatty; and Dennis: the excellent 16 ounce end piece, a meal, as Dennis pointed out to Chay’s smaller cut)
special Roast Duck with Raspberry Sauce (Mark: excellent, even if done a little more than he likes
===> special Stuffed Shrimp with Lobster Sauce (Kerry, Joyce, Deb K: all excellent
Sautéed Sea Scallops served with Wilted Spinach and Bacon Sherry Vinaigrette (Deb T, of course: her favorite, along with a double dose of ratatouille)
Vegetable Risotto with Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese served with Grilled Chicken Breast (Julie: excellent, chicken-ok)
Grilled Center Cut Loin of Pork served with Roasted Apples with Calvados Sauce and Braised Red Cabbage (Don, excellent with a variety of flavors)

Paired with all entrées was a choice of baked potato or au gratin, and a portion of the ratatouille, prepared as expertly as any place we visit.

All dinners came with a preceding salad (a worthy eight-inch plate of greens and accompaniments) or a large cup of pureed tomato basil soup (excellent flavor of both ingredients). Affirmative votes came from the six salad and three soup partakers.

The customary two silver trays of French bread, wrapped in white linen, were delivered within minutes, accompanied by two pairs of ramekins of softened butter.

Dessert beckoned, and several answered the call:
===> White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Caramel Bourbon Sauce (Deb K: she melted)
White & Dark Chocolate Mousse Parfait with Fresh Raspberries (Don: very good)
Warm Chocolate Cake with French Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce (Julie: very possessive!)
===> Key Lime Pie (Dennis: excellent)
And a few more than usual savored a cup of coffee.

An unusual alignment of the stars had only five of nine drinking red wine. A bottle of Pitch 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and one of Chateau Bellevue la Randee 2013 Bordeaux sufficed, while the remaining order included three water-imbibers and one tea sipper.

Pacing for the evening felt more leisurely than usual, especially leading up to entrée delivery. Reservations at prime time on Valentine’s Day will do that. However, the entire evening spanned 150 minutes, just barely longer than usual.

The bill of $106 per couple included food, drink, tip and tax—another reasonable evening at MVB.

If I skimped on details, past reports will testify to our fondness of a Buel-Suhner operation. Thank you, Terry and Rebecca, for another enjoyable evening.

DP9 had no pre-session, choosing to convene directly at the restaurant, where we caught up on news. Topics included: Deb K’s gift of three chocolate pieces per couple, and thank you, Deb; a new chocolate business venture for Deb, we suggested; Valentine’s Day expectations; Teator cruise talk for April; Notar cruise talk for next year; Kerry’s ride to Poughkeepsie later in evening (ugh); many ideas how to use the hourglass that was originally for timing the brewing of the Harney’s tea; Chay getting the mean end of the hourglass; the whereabouts of the Monteverds and Adamses and Pisano/Burhouse; newsflash of Scalia; the two day frigid snap; the doings of our children; post-Super Bowl; Kerry’s beard; church activities; Finger Lakes; wine clubs; Dennis’s photos and panoramas; Deb’s paintings; diets of three of the evening’s attendees; ... Dennis trying to banish Deb K to the other end of the table (quite unsuccessful); C-D bargaining news, and gasps; cold weather heating and plumbing problems of the past; and more that have eluded me.