Dining Out - Old Mill offers unique service, food

By Howard Manges

May 21, 2014 Updated May 21, 2014 at 11:34 PM EDT

Mt. Upton, N.Y. (WBNG Binghamton) As soon as you sit down to eat, it's obvious just how different The Old Mill restaurant is.

"How we serve the food and what you get is truly unique to this restaurant. You won't find it anywhere else," said co-owner Donna Ford.

Some restaurants bring a loaf of bread and butter, or buckets of peanuts to the table as an appetizer. The staff at The Old Mill starts your meal off with a crock of cheddar cheese and crackers.

But that was just the beginning.

The next course served was homemade Parker rolls and cinnamon rolls, freshly made by Doris. This was a seemingly monumental step up from where she began.

"When I got married, I didn't know how to cook," joked Donna's mother, Doris Ford. "I didn't know how to make a pumpkin pie."

She also didn't know how to make baked beans.

"I learned that you don't put them right in the oven out of the bag. When we ate the beans, my husband said, 'These are hard!'"

A relish tray with six different salads was brought to the table next. Donna says some people see it as a 'mini salad bar.'

After nearly filling up on the pre-meal offerings, a mouth-watering appetizer was next.

My wife, Meghan, had crab cakes served with a salsa mayonnaise, which she says were better than ones she had in Maryland.

I decided to try the Alaskan mushroom caps. These beauties were teeming with fresh lump crab meat. They were served hot and topped with a DeJohn butter that added a rich flavor to the dish.

The chance of my wife and I bringing Dave Greber any leftovers from either of those appetizers was about the same as snow in July in Binghamton.

For the main course, Meghan ordered an Old Mill specialty: Shrimp Old Mill, a casserole of wild rice topped by large shrimp and a thick and rich cheese sauce.

I kept it simple and went with chicken breast drowned in a meaty Cordon bleu sauce. The smokey flavor of the ham coupled with the sweet and nutty taste of Jarlsberg cheese, instantly made it one of my favorite recipes.

I was so full from this meal experience that I passed on dessert. My wife, who loves dessert, ordered the scratch-made New York-style cheesecake topped with strawberries.