There is a lot more to fall menus than pumpkin, squash and apples. Not to say that pumpkin, squash and apples aren’t great fall menu ingredients.
Executive Chef Robert Harrison has blended them in with other delightful surprises for Mill’s Tavern’s annual fall menu, a culinary treat that makes for a first class dining experience.
There are certain pleasures that we owe ourselves, and a pleasant dining out experience is one of them. And Mill’s Tavern is our restaurant of choice. We attended a special tasting recently to experience their fall menu.
It started with a chilled lobster “Ginger-tini,” with lobster claw and knuckles (the best part of the lobster), enhanced with pickled ginger, radishes, cucumber and grilled pineapple in yuzu vinaigrette, accompanied by house-made crispy wanton skins. If that’s not imaginative, I don’t know what is.
We’ve all had Caesar salad in one form or another. Seldom do restaurants include anchovies. Mill’s does, with a twist: a white anchovy beignet.
Next was a wood roasted scallops Kataifi, with a salad of pickled apples and Tuscan kale with cherry. Joyce couldn’t recall ever having a sea scallop wood roasted, which gave it a splendid taste.
Then came the signature dish that will bring us back to Mill’s Tavern: risotto with braised veal shanks. The risotto was perfectly cooked, mixed with tender pieces of veal, porcini mushrooms and another Harrison surprise: blueberries.
Robert Harrison, a graduate of the Culinary School at Kendall College in Chicago, has cooked at the Ritz Carlton in Chicago and Raphael’s Bar Risto in Providence. This creative chef has been inventing world-class dishes at Mill’s Tavern for the past three years.
I can’t decide which I liked better, the risotto dish or the roasted salad of rabbit, which was prepared with a cassoulet of tarbais beans, olives and rabbit sausage. The sausage was delicately prepared in Harrison’s kitchen.
The tasting couldn’t have been better, and all of the above items are available this fall.
But wait. There’s more. Pastry Chef Samantha Del Arroyo is one true artist. The dessert menu is not to be passed.
We sampled a Vermont maple crème brulee that was to die for, and then a caramelized apple and fennel tart. We cleansed our palate with an apple sorbet, topped with a slice of green apple, before tasting Del Arroyo’s newest creation: pop corn ice cream. I can’t describe how good it was, except to say it topped off a perfect dining experience.
Mill’s Tavern is not something you do every day, but it is something that you need to experience. The atmosphere, the attention to detail, the friendly staff and, most importantly, the creative dishes make this Providence restaurant a must-do on everyone’s must-do list. Located at 101 North Main St. on Providence’s East Side, for reservations call 272-3331. Free valet parking.