Otesaga Lunch Buffet – Cooperstown (dt)
5.96 - 6.75, 6.5, 6.5, 6.2, 5.75, 5.5, 5.5, 5

There was no mystery where we were going; the selection had been made in June. We celebrated DP8 200 two months late (tight calendar) with our first non-dinner date in a new county on our list. The Karneses and Notars enjoyed a pre-buffet drink at the Hawkeye Grill, in the sunshine, with a view of Glimmerglass. The Teators and Monteverds arrived promptly after a tour of the Fenimore Museum a mile up the road.

So, it was with high hopes we clambered the stairs to the Otesaga veranda, with the nostalgic glow from visits past, most of them from our summer stays sponsored by NYSUT events. Perhaps, the $18 per person cost should have made us realize we were asking for a bigger package than should have been expected. Or not.

This was a tough review to write: a nostalgic grand dame of a hotel; the glow of memories; most of the experience was very good; a few glaring deficiencies that influenced the rest; a nagging sense of disappointment.

The buffet:

And then there was the entrée table. The entrée table. The flank steak was deemed excellent by those who liked medium-rare to medium, and not desirable otherwise. And then there was the fish & chips, one pan warm, the other cold, putting a damper on the rest of the meal for some.

Service by server Park was worthy enough: attentive and friendly and checked on Ken’s coffee regularly. However, since this was a buffet and we served ourselves, our main exposure was on drinks. And the bar was downstairs, meaning that time between order and delivery was long. No wine or beer list was available.
            When the cold fish was noted, the entrée table server looked kind of helpless, eventually sending the offending pan to be reheated but it was way too late by then.

Ambiance was Otesaga-on-Glimmerglass grand. Except, we chose and wanted outside. The mid-60s temps were fine in the sun but borderline cool in the shade of the veranda, with an almost ten mile per hour breeze. A heater proved some warmth for the two or three closest people. So, warmth comfort was on the edge.
            The view was classic perfect-early-September except for the people whose backs were to the lake.

The final bill, with several drinks in (and not counting those of the early arrivers) came to $50 per couple, which many of us felt like a reasonable value.

We had expected more than what we got from Otesaga, enough so that non-delivery made this one of the most underwhelming experiences in a long time. In retrospect, the Hawkeye Grill on ground level might have been a better choice.

We left with mixed feelings: being at Otesaga is special but tempered by a less than Otesagan presentation.

Topics: influenced somewhat by a long car ride with the same couple so I obviously missed some of the Karnes-Notar scuttlebutt: the different ways of getting to Cooperstown; the Teators taking the Monteverds through country they had never seen; good enough golf games back home; a nice break from the summer heat; the joys of retirement; school days feeling so long ago; the new Monteverd car; a stop to the Fenimore Museum and then the Carrot Barn on the way back for cider donuts; and more that has escaped my computer keys.