Restaurant Review: No. 9 Restaurant, Millerton, NY
Millerton’s No. 9 ups the ante on fine dining
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While we waited for our main course, the restaurant quickly filled to capacity, and a pleasant buzz permeated the room. Despite the hustle and bustle, the service was excellent. “Some people come for special occasions,” says Cocheo. “But we also get a lot of regulars who come every weekend or every other weekend: people from the city who have weekend houses up here, and lots of locals, too.” We considered ordering the Wiener Schnitzel, which Cocheo says he perfected after having worked in several Austrian restaurants. “Some people come in just for that,” says the chef, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute. And while he tries to use as many ingredients as possible from local farms, Cocheo says that he doesn’t officially call the restaurant a farm-to-table eatery. “That term is thrown around very loosely these days,” he says.
The menu is constantly updated; on the night we went, I ordered the grilled hanger steak. It was perfectly executed and served with an ample amount of sautéed spinach, a wonderful wild mushroom sauce, and hand-cut French fries. Cocheo uses a high-quality grill pan to roast beef scraps and bones — the secret behind the smoky, almost coffee-flavored jus that is served with the steak. “That is probably one of our most popular dishes because it is reasonably priced ($19) and it is a good, hearty dish,” he says. One of my companions had the pan-roasted duck breast, which is served in a slightly spicy sauce with braised red cabbage and wild mushrooms. It was simply the best duck dish I have ever tasted. My other friend had the fish special, a crispy black bass, which was served with bok choi and shiitake mushrooms. It, too, was delectable.
The chanterelle mushroom risotto appetizer is a crowd-pleaser
Somehow we managed to save room for dessert — which was a good thing, since they were all showstoppers. The caramel soufflé is gaining quite a reputation in Dutchess County, and deservedly so. Served with a bittersweet chocolate sauce, the two pungent flavors combined so exquisitely that all three of us continued lifting our spoons long after we thought such a feat was impossible. The dark chocolate molten cake was also an embarrassment of riches, and was perfectly complemented by the cooling effects of locally made pistachio ice cream. My panna cotta with strawberries was an appropriate foil to the other two heavy offerings.
On our way out, I stopped by the ladies room. “Stopped by” is not quite the right phrasing, as it is necessary to weave through various hallways at the inn to find the facilities. The bathroom was old and somewhat unclean — so there you have it, another small complaint about our experience. And while we had a good laugh about that on the ride home, mostly we sat in satisfied silence. Finally, my one friend remarked, “Wow, that was one great dinner.” And there isn’t much more to say than that.