Sometimes a dining experience can be flawless.
Sometimes even the butter is so good that you refuse to surrender it long after the bread is gone.
(Especially when said butter is filled with black sesame, honey, and the spirit of Jesus.)
Since our birthdays are only ten days apart, Nick and I always use the dual occasions to treat ourselves to a tasting menu above our usual price point. After hearing and reading so much about Millwrights, the exquisite new Simsbury addition came as our obvious choice.
The restaurant is stunning, unpretentious and warmly inviting. Canopied by a beamed cathedral ceiling, the dining room is a grand, yet rustic space where a table of orchids anchors the room and mason jars filled with preserves and infusions cluster on shelves. Our own table, accented by a simple clay vase of roses, overlooked a postcard-worthy waterfall surrounded by October’s finest pre-Hurricane Sandy foliage.
We started the meal with a glass of birthday champagne and moved on to a nice round of gin cocktails after settling on the chef’s tasting menu. Once the amuse bouche arrived – decadently plump oysters accompanied by teensy paella balls – we knew shit was about to get REAL.
Also – excuse my iphone photos – they don’t do anything justice.
Just to preface – I like to think we aren’t picky, pretentious diners.
Instead of stuffily discussing textural components and flavor undertones, we passionately drop f-bombs under our breath.
Because, when it comes to a great meal, sometimes nothing but vulgarity can suffice.
As with any well-planned tasting menu, we started with light, savory dishes and worked our way into rich, buttery foie gras territory. While all of the was happening, the butter we’d so lovingly hacked at during the brief bread phase remained on the table. Like the classy guy he is, Nick stole swipes of it between courses. (Embarrassing, sure, but I tell ya- it was that delightful.)
Sad little tab of butter
Anyway, my eyelids fluttered and eyeballs rolled around inside my happy little skull upon the arrival of each course. Since I’m overwhelmed thinking about this meal (though it was nearly two weeks ago), I’ll simply outline the culinary highlights:
- A light, delectably fresh tuna tartare with tangy pickled pear and crisp puffed wild rice resting in a coriander puree.
- Gorgeous roasted sunchokes, turnips and golden beets in bleu cheese mousse with walnuts and balsamic vinegar
- A big ol’ scallop accompanied by wild mushrooms, ham hock and leeks in a sauce choron
- Friiiied chicken! (with pommel puree & creamed greens)
To say the foie gras mousse was my personal favorite would be quite the understatement. The combination of rich, flavorful foie gras with pickled pumpkin seeds, crouton-sized blocks of moist pumpkin bread and quince gelée truly cemented my faith in Millright’s ability to truly, utterly dazzle.
Nearing the close of our seven course tasting menu, we were brought a palate cleanser of lemon-basil ice cream cones.
And THEN, the amazing servers came out with two candlelit birthday desserts for us! Such a kind, thoughtful touch to conclude an already exceptional dining experience. And that’s another part that needs mentioning – the servers and staff at Millwrights are an extremely knowledgable, personable, efficient, good humored bunch. I truly can’t wait to get back for round two.
Following our chocolate gelato and chantilly cream dessert, we finished up with a duo of lemon macarons.
I’m happy to add Millwrights to my brief but delectable list of favorite restaurants in Connecticut.