The Mill at 2T, Simsbury
Diners at the Mill at 2T get an intimate view of the kitchen.
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The Mill at 2T ★★★ (Superior)
When malls pall and franchised food outlets induce ennui, The Mill at 2T is the perfect antidote. In an antique building, it’s younger than springtime and a million miles from a corporate boardroom, as are its co-owners—a dynamic duo, he the chef and she the front of the house.
Chef Ryan Jones and his wife, Kelleanne, are locals who made it in hot-shot places like Vegas and returned last year to do it their way in the Tariffville section of Simsbury. Their way is a breath of originality. A crystal chandelier illumines exposed-brick walls and weathered beams, a print of a sparkling young woman painted by Gustav Klimt bears a striking resemblance to Kelleanne, the menu’s a romp and it changes daily. There’s a food dictionary on each table. As ballad, legend and TV series remind us, the neighborhood pub is a place where you can talk to the bartender. At the Mill at 2T you can in fact talk to the chef, because he cooks up close and personal right behind a kitchen counter where a row of stools comprise the most coveted seats in the house.
By definition, a pub is also a place where people like to hang out, i.e., stay. We told ourselves that when we arrived on time for our reservation and had to wait. Would we like to be rushed? Of course not. And we were by no means abandoned. The staff was solicitous and efficient, explaining the situation, seating us as soon as possible and thereafter providing niceties not usually encountered in a pub. I was wearing black, so my white napkin was replaced with a black one. Almost instantly a basket of freshly baked popovers arrived, hot and fragrant enough to induce a swoon. Slathering them with good butter, we finished them off embarrassingly fast. More arrived—equally fresh, hot and irresistible.
Ryan Jones, like many enthusiastic chefs, likes to dispense gratis tidbits for tasting. We lucked out. Perhaps to compensate for our wait, we were gifted with an amuse bouche of seared foie gras garnished with preserved blueberries and topped with a swirl of unsweetened meringue. We tasted, we sighed with pleasure and got the message: This Mill is about wooing the senses.