GLENS FALLS — Everything was wonderful at The Chocolate Mill: the food, the friendly staff, and the chocolate-colored dining room.
Exit the roundabout in Glens Falls heading north on Glen Street right after you pass the concrete fountain, and there’s the Chocolate Mill just on the left. If you can’t find a spot on the street, don’t worry, there’s lots of municipal parking in the back.
The shop is long and handsome, with wood paneling and copper-tinged painted walls, a black painted tin ceiling, and high and low granite-topped tables, but what draws your attention are the light-filled refrigerated display cases and then, their magnificent contents. Here reside picture-perfect delicate pastries, each one a work of art.
The large space is airy, with plenty of space between tables, but we found that conversations carry. We were there at lunchtime and although only a few tables were occupied there was a steady stream of folks who came in for takeout.
Eric wanted breakfast, and I was ready for lunch, and we used the same petite laminated menus — one side breakfast, the other, cafe fare. The new spring menu is not yet on the website.
The Chocolate Mill
WHERE: 164 Glen St., Glens Falls. 338-3783, www.chocolatemillcafe.com
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Wednesday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday to Saturday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $22.75 for the meal, with tea and coffee
MORE INFO: Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard. Wheelchair accessible.
Coffee and tea
Eric ordered a coffee ($1.75), and after being told the tea menu was out of a few choices, I settled for Lipton ($1.75). I liked the thick white china cup and saucer and the piping hot water, essential for a decent cup of tea. We put in our orders and Eric read the paper while I ran up to the counter to see what was in those cases.
”Everything is homemade,” said our server, from behind the counter. She then went on to describe the treats in detail: adorable red velvet cupcakes, miniature meringue pies, slices of decadent chocolate cake, tiny cheesecakes and elegant full-sized cakes. The Chocolate Mill also has handmade chocolates by the piece or the pound, truffles, chocolate dipped confections, and baked goods like bagels and croissants. The selection is mesmerizing.
Our meals arrived shortly after I joined Eric back at the table. His breakfast was an impressive stacked biscuit sandwich with scrambled egg, tomato and ham ($6.75) and a side of breakfast sausage patties ($2). The sandwich was higher than it was wide and as he deconstructed it with knife and fork, I saw the split biscuit had been grilled. The fluffy eggs were molded into a perfect-sized inch-thick patty. “This is delicious,” said Eric. He also liked the sausage, which looked like hand-formed patties. I liked how the biscuit flaked into layers, with browned bits of cheese outside.
Correct quiche crust
Their quiche ($10.50) would satisfy for breakfast or lunch, and the week’s selection was a winner, with cheddar cheese, bacon, spinach and tomato.
The tasty filling was eclipsed by the crust, a delicate shell translucent in the morning light from the window, with the most remarkable buttery flavor. It looked light enough to resemble puff pastry, but upon further examination was denser and more substantial, exactly the right texture for pie crust.
Mom says quiche should have a buttery crust, and The Chocolate Mill does it right.
Their quiche is a shallow, six-inch individual size, not a slice from a larger pie and this one had just been cooked, not reheated. Their shape makes them easy to cook to order so it’s fresh every time.
The filling was steaming hot, creamy in the center where the cheese melted. I liked the fresh chopped tomato and the bits of hearty bacon, but the best part, hands-down, was the pastry.
The quiche comes with a big handful of fresh, crisp mesclun greens that are tossed in a homemade vinaigrette dressing. The salad was a nice light addition to the rich quiche.
Our server came by to check on us a few times and to inquire whether we needed anything and was pleasant and friendly. We decided to take a few desserts home for later and chose three from the case, at $4.95 a piece. It was not easy to choose.
We served the desserts at dinner that night at our house with a friend and split them three ways. My favorite was the disc of yellow cake with fresh strawberry topping and a dab of whipped cream because of the fresh bits of flavorful berry.
The individual cheesecake was tasty and I suppose it needs some extra body to hold its shape, but I thought it was a bit chewy. The slice of chocolate raspberry cake, with four thin layers of cake separated by delicious chocolate frosting was superb, not overly sweet, with the scent of raspberry and just the right ratio of cake to frosting. Bring home desserts from The Chocolate Mill for an impressive ending to your meal.
We got advice about where to shop and what to see in Glens Falls from the staff, who chatted while they boxed up our desserts and ran my credit card. The total for lunch came to $22.75 before tip, with three pastries to go it came to $39.19.