Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Mill On Central

The Fab Four of Fine Food (minus one on this outing) wandered in to The Mill on Central Avenue in downtown St. Pete a bit after five this past Saturday. We were promptly greeted, guided through the forming throngs, and seated at a table looking out on Central.

On this dining adventure Sweet Polly, Underdog, and I lamented the absence of my bride who was enjoying a fine repast (I am sure) at a Kewpie Doodle in the land of the Limas, Ohio. We raised our glasses of Prosecco to the Belle and then proceeded to immerse ourselves in the over-the-top offerings on a seven item (or was it nine?) charcuterie board that was presented by our charming and professional server, Jessie.

The diner's choices of meats and cheeses was most impressive, and it was difficult trying to decide, but we persevered and narrowed our selections down to a manageable level. The Toro Pastromi was a given based upon its glowing reputation - a well deserved reputation for this moist and tender delight.

Since we appeared to be knowledgeable foodies, Jessie suggested choosing dishes we might not normally find on our gastronomic journeys, and I had to have the Octopus Bacon, a smokey delicacy for the taste receptors. That octopus was one of the most original preparations I have ever enjoyed and was my favorite, though the Lengua Rillette, Lamb Belly Bacon, Foie Gras Torchon, and assorted cheeses and accouterments made this the finest charcuterie board I can remember south of Cúrate in Asheville.

While polishing off the charcuterie board, we turned our attention to the Second Plates and Third Plates sections of the menu. The difference between the two as Jessie explained was the the Second Plates were a little smaller than the Third. Two of us ordered from the Third and one chose the Porter Glazed Quail and Wild Game Sausage from the Second Plates.

This was a hearty dish served over a bed of white bean salt pork cassoulette, with a Port cherry relish, and candied apple crisps. Underdog had high praise for this dish and especially for the savory cassoulette.

Being the well bred Southern Belle that she is, Sweet Polly could not resist the Fish and Grits, a farm raised rainbow trout, atop Anson Mills blue corn grits, with a smoked pork Bolognese.

I had a taste of that trout and it was a crunchy bite with a juicy and flaky center. I can't comment on the grits since I was not offered even a single grit. I dealt with my disappointment by diving in to my tasty and tender Aspen Ridge Flat Iron Steak prepared Pittsburgh style - seared with a perfect char on the exterior and a warm red center.

The flat iron was served with savory baked potatoes and a flavorful, al dente Swiss chard. That steak started off being tender, but toward the end I was running across tendons making the steak a bit of a chore to cut. It was still a really good flat iron.

While we didn't necessarily need dessert, we three decided we wanted dessert and damn the calories. Sweet Polly had the Walnut Pie, Underdog chose the Strawberry Lemonade Tart, and I was tempted by the Honey Pepper Cheesecake.

All three desserts were good, but I think Underdog had the best one. That was a damn fine tart, and who doesn't enjoy a good tart from time to time? I enjoyed the Strawberry Lemonade primarily because it was lighter than the other two heavy hitters, and I was stuffed.

I know I will be returning to The Mill because my bride, the missing Belle of Gulf Boulevard, will command it. Besides, I really want the frog legs, and the anchovies, and the rabbit, and the Naughty Bits, and let's not forget the Pork Tomahawk.

With all of that food and an appropriate amount of medicinal, adult beverages, our total for the evening came to about $77 a person. We also left a well deserved 20% plus gratuity for the lovely Jessie.

The Mill has complimentary valet parking. Valet entrance is in the Bank of America parking lot off of 1st Ave. S between 2nd and 3rd Streets.

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The Mill

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