May 19, 2013
Written by Fran Sikorski
Friday, 25 July 2008 13:11
When a restaurant exists for decades, someone must be doing something right.
Cobb’s Mill Inn by the Waterfall in Weston has been a reliable favorite with area residents for its food and friendly service and when it was put up for sale two years ago, former Weston First Selectman of George Guidera and his son-in-law James Magee purchased the restaurant because they wanted to see the inn stay in the hands of local residents. Both men have deep roots in Weston. Mr. Guidera served eight years in the Connecticut General Assembly and had a 41-year law practice from which he is now retired. Mr. Magee, his son-in-law, owns Peter’s Market in Weston Center.
Built in 1749, the main part of the building was used at times as a lumber mill, grist mill and cider mill. It was Cobb’s mill in the early part of the 20th Century and the name stuck when in 1936, Alice DeLamar and Jacques de Wolfe converted the building into a country inn and fine dining establishment.
Among the many improvements were two mahogany and pewter bars rescued from the cruise ship Normandie that are still in the Tavern Room today. From 1952 to 1986, the mill was owned and operated by Julie Jones, and from 1986 to 2006, by the Cocchia family of Norwalk.
There’s cause for celebration with the recent arrival of executive chef Robert Fraser and sous chef Dana Calbo. Chef Fraser graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan and was with Café Meze in Westchester, Meritage Restaurant and Scarsdale Golf Club before coming to Weston.
Dana Calbo attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and worked at the Scarsdale Golf Club with Chef Fraser, now her fiance. Both chefs share a passion for seasonal ingredients and classic cuisine.
New general manager is Frank Cullimore from Wexford, Ireland, who trained in restaurant and hotel management in Ireland.
Appetizers recommended are jumbo lump crab cakes, served with a cucumber-fennel salad and lemon basil and roasted pepper aioli, and grilled black pepper shrimp with avocado salad, marinated tomato and cilantro vinaigrette. Light and tasty is the Maine lobster salad with hearts of palm, avocado, and grapefruit vinaigrette.
Among the salad offerings are summer peach and arugula with spiced walnuts, Gorgonzola cheese and champagne vinaigrette; and black tea smoked salmon with mache salad, cucumber galette and a miso ginger emulsion.
Chef Fraser’s olive oil-poached Nova Scotia halibut will win much praise. It’s served with artichokes, Hen of the Wood mushrooms, sautéed spinach and herbal lemon broth.
My companion was equally enthusiastic about the Szechuan pepper-crusted prime New York strip steak, with warm fingerling potato and haricots verts salad with a balsamic glaze.
Seared day boat scallops with a pea and lobster orzo and truffle emulsion; roasted Colorado rack of lamb with English pea and mint couscous and pine nut gremolata; braised beef short ribs with horseradish whipped potato, wild mushrooms, and asparagus with a Syrah reduction; and crispy Long Island duckling with French green lentils and fig rosemary sauce are other good choices. There is also a Tavern menu, highlighted by a Kobe beef burger.
A shared light espresso and vanilla bean panna cotta were a pleasant finale.
Cobb’s Mill Inn
by the Waterfall
12 Old Mill Road
Appetizers: $14 to $18 & MP
Salads: $8 to $12
Tavern menu: $10 to $23
Dinner entrees: $27 to $42
Wine, glass, $8 to $12
Wine, bottle: starting at $30
At Le Fontane Ristorante, Route 100 and Primrose Street in Somers, N.Y., owner Antonio Abbate is harvesting his summer garden of herbs daily to add to almost every dish on the menu. His uncle, Giovanni Abbate of Somers, supplies the fresh zucchini flowers for the fabulous fried stuffed zucchini flowers from June through September. It’s worth the ride to Somers just to enjoy those delicious stuffed zucchini flowers. Reservations, 914-232-9619.
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