We were devastated when Tyler Anderson, head chef at Pip’s at the Copper Beech, decamped for Simsbury. But we knew we were in store for something special when he installed himself and his team in a historic grist mill on Hop Brook. After several attempts (plan ahead, it’s a tough weekend reservation), we finally made it up there for an early Sunday dinner. And we were, in a word, wowed. From the johnny cake cornmeal biscuits with honey sesame butter to our final course of white chocolate mousse sauced with sour cherries, we were in foodie heaven.
Tyler’s vision, inspired New England cuisine, organic and sourced locally, is executed thoughtfully through dishes like the crispiest chicken (ever) served with a smokey side of barley and fava beans, to a lovely skate wing, and my rather large appetizer portion of chicken and dumplings (shredded roast chicken with handmade gnocchi sprinkled with crumbs of dehydrated carrot, yum!). But we didn’t stop there! A gorgeous lobster appetizer (pictured) was a gastronomic delight: tender chunks of lobster, hints of grapefruit and crunchy bits of almond and celery.
Don’t pass up the clever smoked salmon rillette “for the table”: served in a glass topped with creme fraiche and “everything” bagel sprinkles to shmear on toasted baguette. The room is spare and charming, with original antique beams and siding, black Windsor chairs, dramatic cherry blossom branches and a view of the waterfall. Next time I’ll head downstairs to the stone-walled, cozy tavern for the bar menu of burgers, roast chicken or fish and chips with duck fat fries. This is a don’t miss. www.millwrightsrestaurant.com