Years ago, my hubby and I often shopped at the Tuthilltown Grist Mill in Gardiner, a still-working 1788 mill with a no-frills store selling all kinds of flour, (including kosher matzoh meal) ground on the premises, along with herbs, spices, condiments, nuts and dried fruits, organic dried beans and other unsupermarket-y stuff. It was an atmospheric, slightly musty place when we first discovered it, full of jars on shelves like a grocery store out of the past, although it was expanded and dressed up a little in more recent times. In my (possibly romanticized) memory, the wheel still turned in the Shawangunk stream out back, and you could see the grain elevators, hullers, and whatever all those other working bits were. In other words, it was a treat for any foodie who likes a dash of history from time to time. You almost wanted to put on a bonnet and a long, muslin gown to go there. (My husband didn’t share this impulse, by the way.)
Late last summer, the mill, which is a National Historic Landmark, opened as a restaurant called, aptly enough, TuthillHouse at the Mill. It’s been beautifully refurbished with the original wood floors and beams and some of the aforementioned working bits still on view, so the old-time mood remains intact. It’s just the kind of place pub-lovers love, cozy and welcoming, with a few snazzy touches like drippy-crystal chandeliers.
They call the menu “American cuisine,” which means steaks, seafood, and the Italian dishes that we’ve co-opted (lasagna, eggplant Parmesan, and such) as well as some fancier things like pan-seared duck breast with drunken cherry sauce. When I was there recently, I could have happily made a lunch of the sides — sautéed kale, sautéed mushrooms and onions, and fingerling potatoes pan-roasted in duck fat. But I’d seen some plump burgers coming out the kitchen and they looked really tempting. I’m fussy about ground meat, but Tuthill uses grass-fed beef, so I cast aside my usual aversion. They come on a brioche roll with shallot and herbed mayonnaise and Gruyère or cheddar cheese (may I suggest the Gruyère?) and taste just as good as they look. Tasty fries, too. Sip a Hoegaarden draft beer, finish up with a slice of delicious apple tart topped with vanilla ice cream, and you’re happy until dinnertime. Or I was, anyway.
The short wine list has some New York State entries, as well as a Seyval Blanc and a Gamay Noir made by Whitecliff Vineyards, just up the road. Friends who’ve sampled more creative fare than I did report favorably, and prices are fair. There’s even a little deck overlooking the stream where you can eat in warm weather. View more info (and pictures from the olden days) here