George and the Dragon is one pub I might have to give another chance. Not a horrible place, it just didn’t…
It is barren and loud and I really didn’t care for the crowd. Other than that…it is fine…I am sure.
Tonight the bar was full. I found an open spot at the end next to an old guy and settled for that. I stood there and ordered a beer. The old guy let me know he would be leaving soon and when he left behind a greasy mess of crumbs and dirty plates he sarcastically said “Your welcome.”
Meanwhile in a booth along the windows a large woman laughed much too loudly, there certainly isn’t anything so funny to justify such an uncouth display of mirth. But she laughed and laughed in cannon shots of shrill noise. Perhaps because of her the rest of the bar seemed to carry on at a higher-than-necessary volume.
I got my beer and regretted it. First of all, I appreciate “craft” beers of all sorts, but why can’t bars stock some suitable staples? I am not talking about the piss water you can get from the national brew factories, I am referring to the solid local brews. Something familiar. In places that try too hard I never know if my pale ale is going to taste like lilacs or burnt cinnamon. I got a rather flat and watery maibock.
I settled in and took a medicinal gulp of my brew when a guy who looked too much like my cousin Greg stood much too close to me and grunted and sucked his teeth. I swear I could feel the saliva pull through his teeth just as much as I could feel his panting breath on my neck. Annoying. When the bartender asked him what he wanted, he rattled off a strange request for charged this and charged that with twists of all sorts and maybe a glass of water. (Who are these people?)
Mercifully…a table opened for him.
So you can see, I wasn’t altogether impressed, but stay with me.
I opened my newspaper and began to read, quickly forgetting where I was, when– thank god — a single woman appeared next to me. How she got there, I haven’t any idea. I was busy reading about dead cormorants when I looked up and noticed her. Nicely fitted white jeans, stylish simple top, and a very pretty face. (That’s the order in which I see these things.) Clean elegant hands, too, and skin as clear as a child’s memory. Very pretty. Very together.
We struck up a sane adult conversation, mostly about restaurants, and talked about the wonderful George and the Dragon. I didn’t have any interest in being contrary. Some things are best kept to oneself.
We talked easily and somewhat sporadically, like a familiar couple of many years. Or good friends. Very pleasant. I don’t remember, exactly, but she had a simple name, too, something like Amy. She ordered a bright golden beer — it looked like sunshine in a glass — and an onion dip and bread. (Looking at her you could tell the creamy onion dip was a splurge.) She asked if I wanted to taste her dip and I bit my tongue…
It did look quite good, however. In fact everything served at George and the Dragon looked very good indeed. The kitchen served an aromatic array of pub fare. Plates of meat and gravy, vegetables and potatoes, it all flowed from the kitchen steadily. Perfect stuff for a raw dark November day when the cold starts to have a particularly bitter bite.
But this was a bright May evening and I started to feel the light. Perhaps the maibock had something to do with it. Can’t say for sure, but I enjoyed sitting next to my new friend and she had girlfriends coming. I thought I should order a second beer and put away my paper. I thought, too, that I might want to splurge. I ordered the beer cheese soup, an important pub staple as well as one of my favorites. You can judge a place on this serving alone.
Amy’s friends did come, but they had a table waiting, alas, and I was stuck alone noticing the noise again. My second beer sat mostly untouched while I waited — and waiting — for my soup. I tried reading my paper, but my mind wandered too much. Too many things on my mind.
Finally the soup arrived. It looked outstanding and was served with a nice little loaf of sweet white bread and butter. A gelatinous film on the soup betrayed the neglected wait. I dug in anyway. And I was disappointed. No flavor. If I had been blindfolded I couldn’t have told the difference between that soup and freeze dried potato soup we cooked 30 years ago on camping trips. How disappointing!
All the while plate after plate of steaming hot meat and gravy passed me from the kitchen. Large juicy burgers too. Good food for a starving man. I had my mealy lukewarm cream and cheese.
George and the Dragon far from home, but far enough.
Let me be fair, however…I didn’t have dinner. I snacked. I reluctantly went out looking for a distraction, not necessarily the right frame of mind for objective assessment. Plus everything from the kitchen looked on the spot. I cannot believe my soup is an accurate gauge of what the cooks can do. The staff was great…and at least some of the neighbors were pleasant company. My attitude likely affects this review. Give me another chance and I will do the same for the restaurant.