Middle Village Pasta & Grill -- February 2009
6.41 - 7, 7, 7, 6.5, 6.5, 6, 5.75, 5.5

It’s that time of year in the Northeast, that is late February, when one starts to wonder if Spring really is right around the corner or if we will continue to be tormented by cold, wintry weather.  Spring is the time of new growth, new beginnings, new… well, just new stuff to look at. For example, the Monteverds got a jump on Spring with the purchase of their brand new, smashing sexy red BMW. Deb T is the swing of things with her latest sewing project of her Spring inspired handbag collection (these are going to be a hit I’m predicting). Judy & Tim have been traveling to DC a lot to see the twins and the weather south usually has a jump on us, so they’ve seen glimpses of what we can, hopefully, soon expect to see in our own neighborhood. And the Karnes just returned from their southern vacation, finally completing Chay’s final four of “50 states before 50” quest.
               With all that and more, the evening seemed a lot warmer in the Teator’s inviting kitchen with the usual variety of beverages, red wine, white wine and diet soda, and some nicely aged cheeses to accompany crackers, cashews, and a tasty buffalo chicken mixture on crunchy crackers warm from the oven.
               Don gave the five minute warning a few minutes before 6 and then off toward the western sunset we headed. All assuming a 7 p.m. reservation, I think it’s safe to say we were all surprised (and pleased) to conclude our journey a half-hour short at the Middle Village Pasta and Grill in Middleburgh. Located on Main Street in downtown Middleburgh, the store front, with its lace curtained windows and low lights, exudes the personality of hometown pizzeria/take-out Italian food. Inside, you get the definite impression of a home town restaurant with just a touch more character in its traditional tiled floor, bricked walls and Italian condiments adorning the shelves. Nothing too fancy, just warm and inviting. Seating was arranged at our reserved table of three-on-each-side and one-on-each-end, a comfortable configuration for all to see and hear what’s going on at the other end of the table.
               Appetizers were dispensed with, the logic being that we all wanted to be able to enjoy some hopefully sumptuous pasta dish. Two bottles of Valpolicello were ordered for the five red wine drinkers, along with the usual pinot grigio and diet cokes. Unfortunately, although water was served all around, the waiter announced to Ken, tongue in cheek, that they were fresh out of “diet water”.
               House salads were served all around, with the exception of Kriss, who ordered a Caesar salad. Both salads were generous with the house salad consisting of assorted lettuces, shredded cabbage and carrots, accompanied by balsamic, Caesar, oil/vinegar, creamy peppercorn and blue cheese dressings. Fresh, hot Italian bread and butter arrived at the table shortly after the salads were served and was, may I speak frankly, gobbled up in short order.
               Within minutes it seemed after completing our salads, dinner was served – there was chicken caprese (a chicken parm dish with a twist – a hint of cream and peas) for Don, veal francese (Tim), shrimp fra diovalo (Tom), a special combo of Jack Daniels style pork chop and steak (Ken), a shrimp and scallop dish with mushrooms in a brandy cream sauce for the two Debs, shrimp parmesan for Judy and a very traditional spaghetti and meatballs order for Kriss (and may I say those meatballs were huge!!! Some would add more, but I will discretely stop there…).  All were served with choice of pasta (spaghetti, linguine, angel hair or ziti), all were deemed hot and delicious and most disappeared in short order, with the exception of a few who chose to take a portion of their meals home and/or just eat slower than the rest of us. Ken’s meal was, of course, accompanied by coffee or should I say coffees. For my part, the meal was delicious and the ziti was cooked to a perfect, firm al dente.
               The limited dessert menu and no liquor license (just beer and wine served, so no after dinner drinks here) made the majority vote (literally) for a trip to Stewart’s a block up the road on our way home for ice cream, that is, except for the two adventurers (well, one adventurer and one that tentatively went along for the ride) that wandered across the street to the local bar for their traditional after dinner drinks of Frangelica and Sambuca. Apparently, it was Mardi Gras night so beads were in abundance. Our group had to split up temporarily, but no harm done, and all got what they wanted to complete their meals.
               Dinner was $62 a couple with a 20% tip, a very frugal night for DP8 in contrast to what we usually spend. That I think, combined with the comfortable, family atmosphere, good service and delicious food, made this an extra special night out for all of us and certainly worth the half-hour drive for a repeat on our own or again with the group.