Every summer for the past fourteen years, I’ve been traveling to the small town of Kent, Connecticut to visit my parents at their summer camp. Being a seasonal area, restaurants have a way of coming and going in this quaint community and it’s always a little heartbreaking when the good ones fade, but I look forward to seeing and tasting what’s around the corner. This year, when my mom informed me of a new farm to table restaurant on the main strip, I quickly hopped the Metro-North to check it out for myself. My parents picked me up at the train station and we drove straight to dinner at the new Millstone Cafe. When we sat down, I was too distracted drooling for every last dish on the menu to realize that the owner had come over to say a friendly hello and welcome- something I always appreciate. Thankfully, there were four of us so naturally some sampling and sharing took place. Rumor has it that these guys grow some of their food in their own garden, so with this in mind, I chose to start with the chilled cream of local sorrel soup with créme fraiche. It was perfectly balanced and refreshing and I was starting to think that this just might be my absolute favorite addition to Kent in years. Torn between this and two other appetizers, I was thrilled to scroll down the menu and discover that the two apps I was craving were also served together as a main dish. These guys serve great local food and read my mind? Sold! So, for my main course I enjoyed every last bite of the following: Barley salad with grilled summer squash, roasted red pepper, wilted greens, red onion, crumbled feta extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon- combined with roasted golden beet salad with toasted walnuts, goat cheese, herbs and red wine vinaigrette. In short, I was served all of my favorite ingredients on one big plate and the flavors merged beautifully.
I’m glad to report that I sneaked in some tastes of house made burrata on grilled sourdough with olive tapenade, sauteed swiss chard with garlic and roasted red pepper vinaigrette. Now, I’ve had my fair share of burrata, but nothing compares to the flavors in this dish. It was warm and perfectly rich and hit the spot as a perfect match to the rest of my meal.
I also got to sample the steak frites and pork chop, both of which were cooked and seasoned to perfection. Other dishes that I plan to head back for soon? Tender ricotta and Swiss chard dumplings, tomato marinara basil cream sauce, and although I don’t eat anchovy, this dish made my mouth water: Orecchiette with radiccio, wilted pea shoots, spring peas, parsley-lemon butter, olive oil, wee hint of anchovy, topped with a fried farm egg and grated parmesan. Enough said. We topped of our fantastic meal with a warm strawberry rhubarb crisp with house-made buttermilk ice cream that hit a home run.
I can officially recommend this restaurant to anyone who happens to find themselves in or nearby Kent, Connecticut. Kent is a great weekend spot, and if you do decide to head up that way, feel free to contact me for more recommendations. Millstone Cafe, I hope you stick around for years to come.