Farm-to-table dining in a converted 1900s post office
By Melanie Young and David Ransom, the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple
Photos: Courtesy of David Ransom
It’s hard to believe that The Grange Restaurant and Farm Market was the local post office circa 1903 in Warwick’s hamlet of New Milford. A post office is usually in the town center, but this restaurant is tucked off a side street, identified by its hand-painted welcome sign.
Chef-Owner James Haurey opened The Grange in 2013 with partner Dominique Herman. Both Haurey and Herman cut their culinary chops at the legendary Ryland Inn in Whitehouse, NJ, under Chef Craig Shelton. The two also own nearby organic farm The Kitchen Garden, which supplies the restaurant’s produce. As Haurey noted, “Some restaurants source from farms. We own the farm—that’s real farm-to-table.”
The Grange is just 19 seats, but it does not feel cramped; tables are well spaced. The inviting dining room has wood floors and brick walls featuring rotating art exhibits. The chalkboard menu changes daily based on seasonality and what’s available through local purveyors.
We chose separate four-course prix-fixe menus. The portions are smaller than those served á la carte but still sizeable. All were well presented and not overly seasoned or sauced, allowing ingredients to have center stage. Our server brought an amuse-bouche of zucchini fritters with local honey and yogurt and house-made rolls to welcome us before we tucked into our meal.
The colorful Smoked Trout Salad of tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, patty-pan squash, onions, arugula and shishito peppers was tossed in a light buttermilk-ranch dressing. After finishing this delicious dish, we noted to cook more Hudson Valley trout. The BLT was served open-faced with jowl bacon, heirloom tomatoes, onions, lettuces and farmers’ cheese on homemade flatbread.
Seared rare Wild-Caught Yellowfin Tuna was served with grilled tomato, quinoa with onions and Asian koji in brown butter, giving the fish an unctuous texture and flavor. Tender Lowland Farm Loin of Pork was sliced over crispy garlic red-bliss potatoes, roasted baby cabbage and beets with kalamata olives.
Wild-Caught Monkfish was served over roasted eggplant, yellow squash, basmati rice and sweet creamy corn. Monkfish is called “poor man’s lobster”; our two pieces were buttery and chewy like the crustacean. Juicy sliced flank steak was cooked to order and served with mashed fingerling potatoes, broccoli and roasted radishes.
Our three savory courses were filling, so we split one dessert and a cheeseboard to conclude. The desserts are all crowd-pleasers: Crème Brûlée, Flourless Chocolate Cake, Banana Split, Homemade Ice Cream, a seasonal crisp. We chose the Lemon Curd topped with a poof of toasted meringue served in a jar—a deconstructed pie!
Our cheeseboard consisted of artisanal cheeses ranging from sharp and tangy to nutty served with house-made whole-grain mustard and toast. We recommend this dish with a glass of wine from The Grange’s small but impressive organic and biodynamic wine list.
Orange County’s famous Black Dirt Region is a major producer of onions. They appear in several dishes. If you are not an onion fan, mention this to your server. Also, remember that seasonal farm-to-table means you get what is available; vegetables may recur in different dishes. However, a talented chef like Haurey knows how to accent each with different seasonings and spices, from Asian to Mediterranean, to create variety.
If the menu at The Grange were mail, we’d stamp it “first class.”
For more information, visit www.thegrangewarwick.com. █