Celebrating Spring’s Arrival: Dinner at Mill’s Tavern

It was a long winter, that’s for sure. The blistering cold and blustery winds are finally behind us. With flowers finally blooming and leaf buds bursting with life, it can mean only one thing – Mill’s Tavern has unveiled their new Spring menu!

The Mill’s Tavern in Providence, an acclaimed four-star restaurant, embraces fresh, seasonal ingredients. Executive Chef Robert Harrison took our taste buds on a culinary voyage, introducing our palates to the many flavors of Spring using ingredients like ramps, fava beans, thyme, and so much more.

Robin Williams once said, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party”. In this case, Spring is Mill’s Tavern’s way of saying, “Let’s eat!”… And so we did.

Their menu changes with the season, a nice touch that often goes unlooked

A basket full of warm, crusty bread is always welcomed!

We both opted for the Prix Fixe menu which allowed each of us to have an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. At$29.95, it was a true bargain for a restaurant of this caliber. Price aside, we were anxious to try a variety of seasonal items on the menu, and this was the perfect way to do it.

Nick: I started with the Fresh Point Judith Calamari with Baby Artichokes, Cherry Peppers and Spinach, Tossed in a Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette. The calamari was deceivingly light in a delicious sort of way. It tasted remarkably clean and fresh. I can truly appreciate that Mill’s offers calamari caught locally off the Narragansett coast, embracing Rhode Island’s top quality seafood. Mill’s claims to use only the finest ingredients and you can certainly taste the freshness in this dish.

 This Seasonal Harpoon paired effortlessly with the Salmon Chowder ~ Chris

When the waiter arrived he gracefully poured the chowder in front our very eyes

Chris: I was in the mood for some comfort food so it was a no brainer to choose the Salmon Chowder with Smoked Salmon Taramosalata. Sounds intimidating huh? Don’t worry, just point at the menu and the waiter will do the rest.

When my dish arrived I was immediately floored by the presentation, a trend that continued throughout the evening. The creamy broth was scattered with chunks of perfectly moist salmon and it permanently erased the thoughts of watery chowder in my mind. In the center, a crispy seafood cake provided a contrast of textures and was topped with a Greek-inspired spread known as Taramosalata. A very satisfying appetizer with tons of fresh, seasonal flavors. A must try for those Chowdah’ Heads out there!

For the entrée, Nick ordered the Grilled Atlantic Swordfish with Marinated Piquillo-Olive Relish. The plating was beautiful although the portion was a bit petite. However, the quality made up for the quantity. Sounds cliché, I know, but it’s true!

The swordfish was grilled perfectly. The chef masterfully achieved a charred outer crust with a firm yet flaky interior. The Piquello-Olive Relish may have been my favorite part though. Piquello peppers from Spain have a rich flavor that is both spicy and sweet. With the pairing of the olives, it created a salty contrast, making the relish very complex. Portion aside, this was a favorite of mine. I would definitely order this Swordfish again!

While Nick admired his Swordfish, I quickly dove into this sumptuous Breast of Veal.  It was braised in Bock Beer and accompanied with a Semolina Gnocchi and a Ragout of Fava Beans, English Peas and Spring Onions.

To be honest, this was my first experience with veal and I am so glad I shared it with Mill’s Tavern.  Each tender bite was filled with hints of the malty Bock Beer and the Gnocchi provided substance and flavor that did not overpower the exquisite cut of veal.

I can’t imagine ever going for the greasy alternative that is Veal Parmesan, and I don’t mind that at all!

And then came the desserts…..brace yourself!!!!

The presentation alone almost prevented Nick from actually EATING his dessert!

Nick: I ordered the Goat Cheesecake with a Thyme Wafer, Fresh Strawberries, Strawberry-Port Sorbet and Honey-Thyme Syrup. Wonderfully crafted, this dessert was a work of art. I was almost reluctant to dig into it with my fork because I wanted to take it home, put it in a frame, and hang it over my mantle.

The dessert made me wonder why more people don’t use goat cheese in cheesecakes. It is rich and savory; a perfect end to any meal.  The combination of honey and thyme made perfect sense. Thyme naturally has lemony, peppery notes that play well with the sweetness of the honey. I ate every last bite of my dessert. Then I cleansed my palate with some refreshing Strawberry-Port Sorbet. It was irresistable!

Chris: “When it comes to desserts, I keep it simple. Cake and Ice Cream is all I need :)”

As Nick and I awaited our final course, our waiter (who did an absolutely amazing job) explained the history of my dessert; A Warm Chocolate Cake with Sauce Anglaise and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. He mentioned it is the only item that has stayed on the menu since their grand opening. My smile grew from ear to ear and I knew I was in for a treat.

Words alone cannot describe this decadent dessert. Crunchy exterior and a smooth, molten interior combined with the cool ice cream led to food nirvana. I mean, what more do you want?!

The open kitchen provides diners with a perspective not often found in other restaurants

Executive Chef Robert Harrison 

The Mill’s Tavern is an upscale seasonal restaurant with the look and feel of an Old 18th Century Tavern. The warmth and vibe of the restaurant is quite inviting.  We can assure you this won’t be the last time we make our way over to The Mill’s Tavern. Until then, we will be asking; Summer, where are you??

Price: $$$
Service: 10/10
Quality: 8/10
Taste: 8/10

-Chris Nick

Mill's Tavern on Urbanspoon

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