The Teators had thrown a bit of a curve, leaving the house at six,
prompting the others to assume we had reservations at seven. Forty minutes
into the ride, with a left directional blaring to cross traffic onto
Frontage Rd, the fearless band of eight turned, six of them more than
skeptical, but we had arrived.
The Mastrantuono family, known for a decade’s stint as owners of
Sophia’s Restaurant in Greenville, fostered the culinary talents of
young Mike, now the chef of Milestone. The Teators had known Lou and Mike
from the Cairo gym, and so it felt like long-time acquaintances meeting up
We commented that the restaurant’s location is a contradiction of
well-trafficked and, at the same time, hidden, with excellent
accessibility for travelers of Rts 32 and 9W, but hidden in the mishmash
of the nondescript building fronts that comprise Frontage Road. The fact
that Milestone was the former Stone Ends, a well known upscale restaurant,
is such ancient history that only our generation remembers it, and then
We dashed through a getting-ready-to-pelt rain, the first we could
remember in nearly a month, through a corridor to the service counter, met
Lou, turned left into the main dining room, one of the more distinctive
dining spaces in the area. Approximately a 40’x40’ cavern, two sides
are bluestone, ceiling to floor, sculpted with the recessed lighting so
every layer of rock is delineated. The front has two grandly large
casement windows with vista views of traffic and light, with two long and
tall windows dividing each of the stone walls. (Meanwhile, there is
another room, almost as large, holding the bar, more seating, and a stage
The menu is
classic American cuisine, with a heavy scent of an Italian touch, with
room for many preferences. This evening, we selected:
osso buco, with mushroom risotto, bits of arugula, a touch of white
truffle (Don: a first-time ever order, a delicious and mouth-melting cut;
risotto a bit dry but interestingly earthy; a very good experiment and
would do again)
sea scallops, dusted with smoky paprika, pinned to a risotto cake,
drizzled with beurre blanc, accompanied with bacon lardon and asparagus
(Deb T: of course; the small portion choice of three scallops; rated one
of her top scallops)
oz strip steak, with a baked potato and grilled vegetables (Kriss:
well-done, as always; average-ly good)
grilled salmon, cilantro , soy, ginger and a healthy dose of sesame seeds;
baked potato and grilled vegetables (KEN—our steak person!: one of his
first-ever selections with DP8, very good ...)
di mare – shrimp &
scallops & calamari & mussels, in a homemade marinara, over
fettucini (Judy: so-so, a bit dry, cold food; and Chay, mediocre, sticky
pasta; 2 shrimp, 2 scallops, 6 mussels – meal is overpriced)
carbonara, with bacon lardon, sweet peas, pecorino romano,
garlic & shallots, all tossed in cream and fettucini (Deb K: pasta a
little pasty but likes it that way; very good)
chicken francaise, lightly breaded, lemon-butter sauce (Tim:
a very good meal, with light cheese sprinkle frites, large portion of
spinach that Judy deemed excellent)
house salad, ordered with the entrée, with a mix of greens, slivers and
small chunks of onion, red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, with a few
croutons, with the sun-dried tomato dressing catching the attention of a
few; a good basic salad (Don, Ken, Judy)
salad, advertised as romaine but the eaters saw mostly iceberg, homemade
dressing, croutons, advertised as shaved pecorino but the consumers felt
there was precious little; one of the weakest Caesars ever ordered (Chay,
encrusted goat cheese, with strawberries, and greens similar to the house
salad (Deb K & Deb T was heard moaning in appreciation)
The dessert menu,
although it felt limited, listed enough to satisfy a range. The addition
of two specials attracted three of us:
pie special (Ken: not to his liking, who was expecting a Grandma’s style
pie; a unique round six inch pie. Ken asked for vanilla, got hazelnut
gelato instead; wasn’t impressed with either, and perhaps one of the
worst pecan pies he’s had; Kriss kinda agreed)
praline cake special, with dense cake, chunks of praline, a Grenache
coating, drizzle of caramel (Don: very good chocolate dessert, a tad dry
but tasty; & Deb K, who was given another chance to moan – I think
she liked it)
white chocolate crème brûlée (Deb: different tasting but loved it;
Judy: ok, a bit sweet for her tastes)
a Sambuca on the rocks for Chay
Beginning it all was the delivery of a large basket
of sliced Italian baguette, accompanied by two plates of olive oil,
accompanied by herbs and chopped nuts – a tasty start.
Lisa, was good, attentive, efficient, especially with delivery when two or
three staff would deliver. Thank you, Lisa.
The service off-notes might have been slight – a mix-up with
Tim’s dinner sides, and requests for cheese for the pasta, ketchup for
fries, a bowl for the mussels shells. Otherwise, water glasses, for the
most part, were filled often (and we drank a lot of water this evening,
more than usual, it seemed from my seat). And Ken was pleased with a
coffee mug that was three times larger than most we have seen!
Pacing drew considerable attention. We often maintain that we a three hour
meal is desirable; however, it was clear that most of us, this evening,
felt these three hours overstretched.
The fifteen minute mark saw the bread basket come out, the
half-hour mark for the drink order, sixty minutes for salads, ninety
minutes for entrées. After-entrée pacing seemed acceptable to most of us
but a few felt the lull before dessert was long also. Too long, or were we
just itchy this evening?
Our drink menu contained two diet sodas, a split of sparkling wine,
and two bottles of Massimo 2010 Rioja—a pleasant wine for dinner.
Other notes about Milestone:
The interior is such a striking element – not sure if the stone
is cold, or strong, but it is seldom seen elsewhere, and commands
About fifteen tables fill the floor, with round tables anchoring
the three available corners (the entryway taking the fourth). We were
placed at one of the round tables by the windows, affording unique views,
depending on placement at the table. I faced the window, so I saw the auto
traffic, while Chay, opposite me, saw the human traffic toward the bar
Tables were elegantly set, with white linen top, and white linen
napkin holding a knife, dinner fork, and salad fork, set next to a white
square plate (against the granite gray of the wall). Large water glasses
awaited, filled five minutes after seating. Wooden chairs, sturdy, held a
large comfortably cushioned seat.
Overhead, the front roof/ceiling line slopes ten degrees upward
toward the back; the back half of the room is ceilinged with a raised
level, the building’s second floor. Three large, dark, and parallel
beams divided the ceiling space, matched in color by the ceiling and
Noise level was on the high side, with the piped in music medium
loud, and we happened to be sitting near one of the speakers. (However, a
few mentioned our area seemed to be quiet!) A modern-ish jazz and
“cool” pop filled the air, if, in fact, one noticed. Another round
table seemed to be having as much fun as we were, meaning, just as noisy.
Another distinctive feature of the restaurant is its plate-ware.
The white square solid plates were the first evidence, matching the
whiteness of the linen. Then, some of the salads, and some of the entrées,
arrived in a white bowl, with an off-set base, leading to a feeling of
unbalance, but interesting nonetheless. The only difficulty I had was
setting the knife on the “plate” edge, something I was successful with
for about thirty seconds.
... A visit to the bar/lounge area led to the music of the evening
– a Russian pianist, who seemed to have drawn a sizeable audience in
very comfortable surroundings. ...
The final bill came to $115 per couple, a medium-high
average lately, perhaps a speck higher than a few of us were expecting.
Entrée prices ran from the upper end of $30 to most in the low-mid $20s,
with smaller plates in the mid-teens, and burgers and such nearly $10, and
We bid adieu and tried to dodge the major puddles on the way to the
car and trekked the 25 miles back to Freehold.
Starting the evening
was the gathering at the Teator house. Arranged was the usual medley of
hors d’oeuvres of a broccoli-cauliflower-sweet pea plate with dip; three
kinds of crackers and three kinds of cheese; pretzels; grapes; almonds. A
dozen TGIF wings with dipping sauce rounded out the supply.
Drinks included some seltzer; a white zin for Kriss (I have a
“Kriss section” in my refrig!); a Vouvray for the white drinkers; a
Douro and Bordeaux for the red drinkers; and no takers for milk!
Discussion topics at the house, in the cars, at the restaurant, ran
the gamut but the number one topic, as expected, was Tim and Judy’s
three month, winter-long RV trip to Florida, Texas, Nawlins, and more.
Places seen, living conditions, foods eaten, stops in DC, interesting
and/or unique people constituted a good segment of the banter. The very
recent purchase of a new and improved RV added to the content, raising
speculation where the next trips might be, if the RV was available for DP8
dinner trips, what the improvements were, etc. So, Tim and Judy, if you
were wondering if we missed you, you found out tonight.
Which led to more discussion about the existence of DP8, with one
more retirement soon to happen in a couple months, with her spouse’s
retirement in a few months also or in January, depending on who ..., and
their travel plans, leaving the two youngest whippersnappers of the group
long-faced about working after the other six of us have retired. We tried
to reassure them that working is “good for ya” and exactly what they
should be doing.
Which led to our immediate dinner schedule – six months in
advance, with only a couple days possible some months.
Some of the other topics: a new roof needed for the Karnes’
house, much before warranty is up, costs, warranties, prices, high prices,
very high prices, etc.; Kalli and his strength, nearly enough to drag Deb
K along in cartoon fashion if she is not careful; Monet and Jackson, and
Deb had a photo of Jackson almost touching noses with a cow; Nathan’s
house addition; Deb T’s foot cast and her resting of it, or not; and
a big topic, at the house, and on the ride up was C-D school
affairs, budget, administrative changes, cuts in teaching staff, sucky
morale, closing of Durham, ... leadership ..., treatment of long-time
service providers (Tommy Rogers), givebacks, and a ton more; and
the Monteverd offspring and where they are; the first cutting of
grass; the near drought that should be ending these next couple of days;
“tip” giving; Judy’s stick-shifting ...; macerated fruit; play
tickets that Ken had to retrieve; $300 replacement keys; Hawaii; Jersey
Boys; inviting subs to the summer meeting, or even them hosting the
meeting; ...; and more topics than a pen can capture.