Aug 17, 2012
07:02 AMCafé Connecticut
A Sure Thing in Simsbury
We can’t wait to visit Millwright's Restaurant & Tavern in Simsbury, the first solo venture of top-toque Tyler Anderson. The name’s familiar but you can’t quite place it? He’s the chef that put Brasserie Pip, at the Copper Beech in Ivoryton, on the map. Or perhaps you caught him on "Chopped" (he won). Like a lot of other chefs, Anderson had long dreamed of having his own place; now, that dream’s a reality.
Anderson, who grew up in California, has been working in kitchens since he was 16. He made his culinary name years ago cooking at the Ritz-Carlton, which won five stars from the Mobil Travel Guide while he was there, and the Prairie Grass Café, both in Chicago, the latter recognized by Bon Appétit as one of the “50 Hottest Restaurants” in the U.S.
Later, he was the chef at the Equinox in Manchester, Vermont (which pulled four stars from the Mobil Guide), and there he grew to love New England, its farms and artisan producers.
Fast forward to August, 2012. Millwright's Restaurant and Tavern is housed in the beautiful old (circa 1680!) Hop Brook Mill. (The handsome antique building was the site of The Hop Brook Tavern for almost two decades. Visitors to the updated building will be thrilled to see that parking is now right out front.) Millwright's has three levels: a main dining room with views of the millpond and waterfall, a cozy tavern (which will open in early September) and an upstairs event area. Note: Only the dining room is open at this time.
Guests can make new acquaintances at a communal table (there are actually two tables for eight) that offers an excellent view of the action in the kitchen. The table can be reserved for groups who want to partake of a Tyler Anderson's seven-course tasting menu.
The regular menu, featuring “inspired New England cuisine,” has enticements aplenty. There's a range of interesting starters for one or for the table—oysters with rhubarb mignionette, corn chowder, Torchon of Foie Gras. Entrées include Lobster Bake, with lobster tail, chorizo, mussels, corn fennel and potatoes; Pork Loin with baked beans, grilled plums and pork belly; and fried chicken with watermelon, braised greens and potato purée. There’s a 100-bottle wine list, and 20 wines by the glass, as well as signature cocktails and craft beers.
Millwright's will have something of a built-in customer base since the mill will be the heart of a much bigger entity, a mixed-use development of office space, 20 luxury town houses and 88 apartments. (There will also be 15,000 square feet of commercial space.) Because of the magnitude of the construction project, renovations are still underway in the Tavern and gatherings spaces. The main dining room is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday from 5:30 to 10 p.m. The Tavern will open in early September, followed by the upstairs Loft at the end the month.
Millwright's Restaurant & Tavern, 77 West St., Simsbury, 860/651-5500, millwrightsrestaurant.com.
A Sure Thing in Simsbury