So when we first heard the name of the place Jason picked for tonight – as we were in the car en route to the Clearview Inn – those of us who had heard the name of the place before may have started to contemplate whether or not they were slightly underdressed.
And by “those of us,” I may just be referring to myself. Whatevs.
But by all indications, the Clearview Inn I had heard of in passing had always been labeled as a steakhouse. And not that that label automatically makes a place fancy – hello, Outback Steakhouse – but typically a place where you can order a pretty decent cut of steak isn’t also the same place you’re likely to be welcomed walking into the joint in a hoodie and easily locating our WTGW staples of greasy bar food and cheap draft beer.
Although Cassi was quick to point out that Clearview does have a pub area, and that area was thought to be more casual than what you would put on the barometer of a typical steakhouse. So like the sports bar version of an Outback Steakhouse, as opposed to someplace like RED or Fleming’s. OK, now we’re talking.
Turns out we were all a little bit correct. Because while I have a feeling Clearview could’ve been fancy in it’s heyday … that day was probably well before any of us was born.
Like take for example the strange little stage area at the end of the bar and just to the left of our table – which I thought I had taken a photo of but probably skipped in an attempt to stay somewhat inconspicuous (because we’re so good at that on regular basis anyway, I know) – where I half expected a Sinatra impersonator to wander out with a martini in hand and start entertaining the crowd.
Speaking of which, the crowd – and surprisingly it was crowded, particularly at the bar proper – was, well, almost as interesting as the atmosphere. There were obviously a lot of regulars there for an evening meal or nightcap. But there were also some random, out of place folks giving off a bit of an “I’m in town on business” vibe. But considering we aren’t exactly in an area known for businesses or hotels of any kind, that was somewhat weird.
Also weird: the music selection. In a span of about the first 20 minutes we heard everything from 70s rock to rap to – no joke – Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
For real, where are we?
I don’t think our server could really answer that question, since he wasn’t much help with …. well … any question we asked him.
Take this lovely exchange, for example:
Shane: what wing flavors do you have?
Server: well, um, I don’t know, I guess whatever is listed? But like what are you looking for? Because we probably have it. Just ask me.
It’s like we opened up a dictionary to the definition of “helpful,” I know.
WHAT WE ORDERED
Despite the steering otherwise of the server, we did stick to the menu items for our meal choices.
Apparently the steakhouse vibe got to Ted, because he decided to be all fancy and order the seared ahi tuna for an app.
Meanwhile the rest of the table got two orders of the smallest portion of calamari known to man. For $11. Each.
That seems a bit excessive, no? I mean, unless there’s a worldwide shortage on calamari that we’re unaware of, $11 for this portion seems a tad unreasonable.
Perhaps to offset that disappointment, and also because someone at the table had to order either a burger or wings, Shane got not one, not two, but three orders of the Garlic Parm wings.
Cassi got a side salad – which we later discovered was basically just lettuce with a few cherry tomatoes, so we’ve clearly hit the opposite end of the fancy spectrum – and the panko crusted chicken tenders.
Jason got the Po Boy sandwich.
I got the diablo chicken sandwich with a sweet potato.
Ted got the steak sandwich, also with a sweet potato.
After dinner, the server – in all his infinite salesmanship – tried to sell us on the desserts by telling us the best way to enjoy them was by combining like three of them together.
While the rest of us abstained from dessert, Cassi and Jason did get the cobbler.
The calamari, while tasty, was not exactly $11-for-a-portion-that-barely-feeds-one-of-us delicious. The sauce was maybe the best part, it had some spice to it. But we really savored each bite like it was the last portion of food we might ever see.
Meanwhile, Ted was quite happy with his fancy tuna app. He said he’s never had it with the sesame crust before, but that was a nice touch.
However, it didn’t compare to his steak sandwich, which he claimed was “one of the best he’s ever had.”
Sounds impressive, right? Well, until he countered with the fact that he’s only probably had one other steak sandwich on all of our WTGW outings … which makes that statement more than a little less impressive. Let’s just call this the asterisk with the tiny print that indicates “results may be skewed.”
I asked him on a scale of one to the-fries-he-loved-at-Barrel Lodge, what’s the verdict then?
He didn’t quite answer that, except to say the steak was really good and there just happened to be bread. So do with that what you will, I guess.
When asked, Jason said the cobbler was “just awful.” But we all quickly caught on that that was just for our benefit so we didn’t feel bad that we didn’t also order it.
Translation: it was pretty spectacular.
What a good friend. I mean, he also said the same thing about the beer that Healthy Shane couldn’t drink. Way to take one for the team.
Our bill was close to $70, but almost half of that was alcohol, so you know, we’re obviously pretty proud of that fact.
Despite all of my pokes at our server, I will have to say that at least he was super attentive. A little spacey, sure, but he did get us what we needed when we asked, and was honest when he didn’t know the answer or didn’t care enough to go ask someone else. He also was very punctual with drink refills. Maybe too much so, as I think we all had one or two more rounds than we had intended (see above comment about our bill) … but hey, what are Wednesday nights for, right?
Picked by: Jason
Next pick: Shane