First built in 1824 as a grist mill on the Schroon River, this historic property in Warrensburg New York became a restaurant for the first time in 1976. Back then, the behind the scenes magic came from owner, Nancy Fitler, and chef, Barbara McLaughlin but since 2015, it has been owned and managed by husband-wife team Ash and Jaime Anand.
Although the food is tasty, the real magic at The Grist Mill is its natural environs, from the river that runs alongside it to the historical and creative touches inside the restaurant.
The Historical Grist Mill
I grew up in the Adirondacks, so I have a soft spot for old world properties and restaurants that ooze history and “story” from every room. And, there’s a huge bonus if nature is part of the dining experience which the Grist Mill offers in spades.
Given that it was a warm evening, we had to sit outside on the porch. After all, with views like this, how can you resist?
From the porch, you can see the Schroon River below as well as all the wild and bird life which travels through it.
The Food @ the Grist Mill
Great…so the ambiance is an A+, but what about the food? The menu selection is largely what they refer to as American Heritage Cuisine, although they combine comfort style cooking with French and American standards.
For example, like most upstate New York menus, there’s a Soup Du Jour but given the additional French influence, you’ll also find Baked Montrachet, which consists of local Nettle Meadow Farm’s Fromage de Chevre, baked with roasted red peppers, garlic confit and oven-dried tomatoes with balsamic reduction and a toasted petite baguette. Yum, right?
They also have Foie Gras Mousse, which is a chicken liver mousse with Foie Gras from Hudson Valley, and served with pickled shallots, burgundy, mustard and slice apples. They had a lovely white Sancerre for pairing with this divine appetizer.
For me, a meal isn’t a meal without a salad, so we had to try the Grist Mill Salad, which was made of delicious shaved brussels sprouts, toasted walnuts, apples, spiced red onion, red grapes and blue cheese crumbles (notice how much French influence there is throughout the menu).
My favorite call out has to be for the Sea Scallop and Beet Melange, which is served with an aged sherry vinaigrette and orange hearts.
The most beautiful presentation award has to go to the Halibut, which they pan roast with traditional Thai flavors and serve on top of a bed of Forbidden Rice, baby spinach and an Asian veggie medley. The sauce? A scrumptious coconut curry that will won’t leave your palette disappointed.
Anthony went for the Faroe Island Salmon which they serve over a champagne beurre blanc, a pineapple and black bean salsa and an herbed couscous. It was certainly light, healthy and a great summer dinner option with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay — they offered both by the glass.
I was surprised by their variety of seafood choices, from the Halibut and Salmon to Grist Mill Scampi, Shrimp and Scallop Sautee and their Sashimi-grade Ahi Tuna, which they dust with sesame seeds and pan sear over Soba noodles.
Despite the fact that it was a warm and beautiful July evening, I had to go for the Peppered Venison, simply because it was available. Remember that the Adirondacks is deer country so you can find Venison in abundance throughout the region. I paired it with a delicious Napa Valley Cab, which not only went well with the venison steak but also with their sauteed mushrooms, garlic spinach and Truffle Fries.
For meat lovers, note that they do offer Filet Mignon and Grilled Lamb Racks which they marinate with garlic and herbs. There are plenty of delicious dessert offerings as well although we skipped sweets and cheese platters this time around. If you go however, I’d recommend finishing off your evening at the bar on a night when they have a guitar player and/or singer.
Sip a brandy or bourbon and absorb all that is historical and rich inside the Grist Mill’s walls.
Grist Mill History
When they first converted it to a restaurant, they had to jack the building 15 feet up with steel beams and add a sea wall to keep the high river waters from flooding the building. In an article dating back three decades, Fitler noted that the wheels of The Grist Mill, which supplied the water power to the mill, are “vintage from 1806” and “considered the oldest metal wheels in existence.”
The rustic restaurant also houses an authentic, colonial fireplace, which is perfect for the Warrensburg setting. Many original artifacts are strewn throughout the restaurant, making it is as much a museum as it is an eatery. Since its inception, many aspects of The Grist Mill have remained the same, even under the newest management.
The Grist Mill’s kitchen has seen the hands of several established chefs in the area including Newell and the late Chris Lambeth. Would we return? You betcha!
The Grist Mill
100 River Street
Warrensburg, NY 12885
Open Wed.-Sun. | Dining: 5 PM
518.623.8005 | [email protected]
For more information, details and their latest menu, visit their website.