The Millerton Inn: Greek Roots Tied To The Family Farms
By CB Wismar
At The Millerton Inn, farm-to-table means not only their table — but their farm, as well.
Peter Stefanopoulos, a longtime restaurant owner and operator in the Hudson Valley/Litchfield County area, has combined fresh, exceptionally well-prepared food with a welcoming ambience that encourages comfortable conversation, all in an historic Millerton, New York building.
Stefanopoulos, who also owns Yianni’s in Chatham, N.Y., The Boathouse in Lakeville, Conn. and is a co-owner of the Four Brothers Pizza restaurants, has managed to bring a touch of Greek cuisine to the menu (even the olive oil, which is amply poured and served with locally baked crusty bread, comes from a family grove in Greece) while ensuring that local ingredients and specialties cover a wide range of tastes.
The Millerton Inn occupies a formidable building in the heart of Millerton, a location that hosted many an excellent dinner when it was known as the No. 9 Restaurant (later The No. 9 Restaurant and Inn). When former chef and innkeepers Tim and Taryn Cocheo headed north to Popolo Restaurant in Bellows Falls, Vermont, Stefanopoulos bought the enterprise and gave it a head–to-toe makeover. The results are pleasing on many levels. Ten guest rooms occupy the upper floors, while on the main level the restaurant occupies every room, leaving the parlor as a cozy place to await the escort to your table.
Appetizers are beautifully presented and offer a welcome variety of options. The steaming clam chowder appears in a bowl garnished with toast (“charred bread” according to the menu) and sporting clams in their opened shells, as well as pancetta and fingerling potatoes. Local herbs combine with a touch of white wine to make the dish that evokes plaintive “I should have ordered that…” comments from around the table. It’s not the heavy cream-based chowder so often tagged “New England Clam Chowder” but a light, flavorful soup that preps the taste buds for adventures to come.
Another appetizer that bespeaks Greek roots tied together with the family farm is the shrimp saganaki, with feta cheese that adorns roasted tomatoes and jumbo shrimp en casserole.
If salads are your interest, then the Millerton Inn Greek salad will delight. Again, the local influence is evident in both the greens and feta. The dressing is a family secret, and its own special treat. The traditional Caesar salad becomes a highlight with whole anchovies and spicy croutons topped with a tangy dressing.
Main courses offer a compact range of selections from market fish to market steak, both of which are offered at the discretion of the chef. For steak lovers, the New York strip au poivre is both substantial and flavorful. Even the Millerton Inn burger carries a pedigree, credited to Meiller’s Farm.
For the vegetarians among us, the baked moussaka elevates the lowly eggplant to star billing and includes, in the “best supporting ingredients” category, a mushroom ragout and bechamel sauce that announces its arrival at the table with a wonderful aroma.
There are pasta specialties, as well, one of which is the peasant’s pasta. Among the listed ingredients is Andouille sausage, broccoli rabe and a wonderfully mysterious cheese called Kefalograviera. Research will tell you that the cheese is produced in western Macedonia, Epirus, and the regional units of Aetolia-Acarnania and Evrytania. That would be… Greece. The combination will encourage us all to admit our “peasant” roots.
Desserts are no less sumptuous than the appetizers, sides, salads and entrees. An encounter with the tiramisu is encouraged, even if your notion is for the “table to share.”
There’s a full bar (and well-trained bartenders), and the drink lineup includes signature cocktails—Byzantine Heads and The Horse’s Bath are worth trying for the names alone. The wine list is ample, but not intimidating, and the selection of beers that is supported by micro American brews really finds its stride with imports from Belgium, England, Austria and Canada.
When visiting The Millerton Inn, it’s essential to listen to the specials offered by the waitstaff. During the summer and fall months, as new offerings appear on the farm on a daily basis, the chef’s imagination is piqued and the results are superb. During asparagus season, the chef finds a wonderful way of creating a salad with lumps of crabmeat, fresh asparagus and spring mix that is a true temptation.
Since most diners are interested in value as part of the dining experience, the price points are in line with the quality of the dishes and the thoughtful presentation. Appetizers, which some in the research party chose as their main course, are priced in the mid-teens. Salads are in the same range, while entrees are in the $20-$30 range and burgers are priced at $15.
And Stefanopoulos has made the place a comfortable destination. The front dining room is decorated with lush figured wallpaper and paint to match. The back dining room is quieter, more subtle. In the rear of the building, the Tap Room is a bit more lively, with several large screen TVs placed in convenient, but not imposing spots. This is where the locals can be found — which is always a good sign. When the residents make a restaurant a regular spot, then it’s a fair indication that the food, the service, the atmosphere and the welcome are well aligned. So it is at The Millerton Inn.
The Millerton Inn
53 Main Street, Millerton, NY