Hours: Open daily 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Prices: Dinner appetizers $3 to $4, entrees $8.95 to $15.95. Cards: American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa.
If you go to the Comus Inn mainly for the drive (it's just minutes from Sugarloaf Mountain), the scenery, and the pleasures of a very pretty country restaurant, you'll probably come away happy. You certainly won't come away poor. The prices, if not cheap, are reassuringly reasonable. But if you go for a memorable meal, you are apt to be disappointed.
It's not that the food isn't good -- some of the items in the short, simple list of entrees are excellent -- but rather it's that there's a certain slipshod quality to the accompaniments.
The inn is a handsome structure, a simple white frame building with green shutters and a long portico. Most of the eating is done in a long, narrow dining room that's really an enclosed porch running along the back of the house. It overlooks a hillside sloping down to a slant-roofed barn, and, in the distance, Sugarloaf.
Of the two a la carte appetizers, we found the pork pate fatty and underflavored. A far better option is the shrimp salad cocktail: a big portion of solid shrimp chunks, fresh-tasting and succulent, with the nice crunch of celery and just a bit of parsley-lemon-mayonnaise dressing.
It seems impossible that the same people responsible for that delightful shrimp salad could have prepared such a poor salad bar -- little variety, and mostly tired and shriveled. The soup lifts the spirits, though. This a good, homemade article, varying a bit from day to day, depending on what's available, but always flavorful, crammed with vegetables, and with plenty of meat or chicken chunks.
The steaks are wonderfully flavorful, a rare quality these days. If you prefer your beef sauced, the roast tenderloin is a good pot roast-style dish, with a sauce that's nicely flavored with wine and pepper and just a touch sweet. By contrast, the roast pork was quite dry.
Fried chicken is excellent, and at $8.95 for half a big bird, it's the cheapest entree in the house. Another good choice is crab imperial -- chunky crab meat, diced sweet red and green peppers, just a bit of Old Bay seasoning, and the very minimum of binder.
Vegetables? Very good skins-on country fries, decent baked potatoes. There's also something the menu calls "garden vegetable." Suffice it to say that the soft, limp, waterlogged green beans we were served hadn't seen a garden in a very long time.
For dessert, there are some creditable cakes and pies, although none are made on the premises.
With halfway decent salads, edible bread or rolls and better vegetables, this would be a very good restaurant despite its limited menu. As it is, enjoy the good dishes, try to ignore the flaws, and soak up the sights.