Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tuttle House at the Mill, Gardiner, NY

The grist mill at Tuttletown has been around since the late 1,700's. About twenty years ago it reopened as a mill during the home made bread craze and we went there a few times for flour. A couple of years ago someone made a distillery on the grounds making local whisky, from what I've heard it is good whiskey, and a year ago a restaurant opened after some major renovations.

We were out for a drive after Pine Bush Day and as we passed by we decided to stop by and see how it is. Inside it is loaded with wood and some bright windows overlooking the river. On the outside there are seating areas with a nice view of the small waterfall that at one time powered the gristmill. We opted to sit inside as it was a bit cool. Our waiter brought us menus and asked for a drink order and we simply wanted tap water. We got the water and to get a refill I had to flag down a waiter and ask for it. Later a waitress, not our own, topped off my glass. I needed it to wash down my meal and you'll see why.

After looking over the menus I ordered the burger with blue cheese, caramelized onions on a brioche roll at fourteen dollars. I had the option of salad or fries and the waiter said the fries were good, so that's what I ordered and I said I wanted it medium. When it came it was a nice looking burger and the cheese and onions were very good. The only problem was that it was cooked well and as a result was dry. I pointed this out to the waiter when I was nearly finished, he wasn't all that attentive earlier, and he agreed with me and went into the kitchen. He came out and offered me a new burger to take home with me, but I declined. I had no need for a second burger. The offer of a desert would have been a better move. He told me they have a couple of cooks and that they each have a different way of determining doneness in a burger. He did say they have thermometers, but thought they didn't use them.

This is really becoming a pet peeve of mine. When we go out, I order my burgers cooked medium and mostly get them closer to well done. There are a few places that get it right and I'll do a blog on that soon. Now in a six dollar burger overcooked is acceptable, but a fourteen dollar burger is held to a much higher standard and I expect it cooked properly. One place I went to recently told me it is very hard to get it right. I told them that they should take burgers off the menu then.

Teresa got the garden sandwich, a mixture of vegetables, for eight dollars. It was missing the asparagus that was listed on the menu and we pointed it out. The waiter went to the kitchen and came back saying they'd run out of asparagus (it was a slow Saturday afternoon so I can't see how they ran out) and that he could give her green beans instead. She declined. The asparagus would have been the most flavorful part of the sandwich and they should have pointed it out after we ordered so she could have made a substutution.

Overall impressions; ambiance good, prices okay, service mediocre, food pedestrian (okay, that sounds a bit pretentious but it fits). If someone said they were going there and asked if I wanted to tag along I'd go with them, but I don't think I'll be headed back soon on my own volition. There are so many places that are much better around. Oh, they have a sign that says Zaggat rated but a check on Zaggat reveals that while they are listed, but there are no member reviews posted. I never really consider Zaggat or Michelin when considering a restaurant anyway.

After we ate we went into the distillery store to look around and it looked interesting. The girl asked if we wanted a tasting but they wanted ten bucks for it so we passed. If they gave out a free shot I might have bought a pint of whiskey.

They have a website for more information.

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