It was time for my dinner club and we found ourselves at one of our usual haunts. One of the problems of most restaurants is that they don’t have a private room and we usually need seating for thirty to forty men, plus exhibit room; because of that need we seem to always go to the same places and some of them are anywhere from fine to excellent, not to mention that we need a bar. We found ourselves back at The Courthouse Grille, which over the years from when I first started going there it was The Hillside, then Ernesto’s and now in their present name. The restaurant has a quaint appearance and extra rooms and features have been cobbled on, over the years and I am sure that they are grandfathered in for certain exclusions, but that is part of the charm.
Most of the restaurants allow us to have three different choices for the entrée dish, but at The Courthouse Grille they offer us a selection of seven. I have to say that normally I am not a fan of New York Strip steaks, but the last couple of times that we have been there, they have looked impressive, so maybe the next time I will. Though for the last meeting I started with their house salad and then had the Veal Marsala, pan seared with sliced mushrooms and Marsala wine, served with a baked potato and a side of mixed vegetables. I tend to order veal often when we go out, as it is a dish we have never tried making at home, and that way it feels special. For dessert, we have had for the last hundred years or so, a chocolate sundae.
We are also doing an experiment this year, as we had some members complain that they did not like paying the bar tab, since they don’t imbibe, so we are doing a “Dutch Treat” only on the bar. Because of this, a couple members, myself included ordered a bottle of wine that was not part of wines by the glass offered at the restaurant, and then we split the bill among ourselves. The bottle of wine that we had, was not that extravagant and I wonder why it was not offered by the glass. We enjoyed a bottle of Chloe Pinot Noir Monterey County 2014, but I was surprised to learn that some of the fruit also comes from the Russian River Valley which is not in Monterey County, but it still carries that designation. I ordered it because I have found that Pinot Noir tends to grow quite will in Monterey County, and there are nine sub-divisions in the county and several are excellent for that fussy growing grape. The Chloe Wines on their site states that they age this wine in French Oak, but they do not state for how long. The wine sharing by the bottle seems to work and maybe we may try looking at some other more interesting wines in the future, unless we go back to the traditional method of the host members picking up the entire tab as before.