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Restaurant review: Silk Mill Grille

Silk Mill Grille in Orange, open for lunch and dinner, pays an ode to its past with antiques adorning its dining rooms.

Silk Mill Grille in Orange, open for lunch and dinner, pays an ode to its past with antiques adorning its dining rooms.

My Dining Partner and I have often driven past the Silk Mill Grille in Orange and were curious about this restaurant, housed in a historic brick building, and its menu. The spacious restaurant occupies part of a former silk mill that opened in 1929 and provided employment to 200 workers. The mill helped save the economy of the town during the Depression. Rooms within the restaurant are decorated with artifacts, including some from the mill’s weaving era.

We had heard mixed reviews by readers prior to making our dinner plans with friends, and we found that our reactions to the food, from appetizers to dessert, were also mixed for various reasons.

We began with the Silk Mill Sampler ($11.59), which offers wings in various flavors, a spinach dip and handful of chips, and four breaded and fried mozzarella sticks with marinara dipping sauce. The Clipper wings (we chose the “hot” option) were appropriately spicy, and the cheese sticks were nicely fried, but the homemade spinach dip was bland and contained little spinach in its cheese base.

One friend ordered French onion soup ($4.29), which he said was salty and without the dish’s traditional flavor.

Unfortunately, there were problems with all of the entrées. Two friends shared an order of chicken Marsala ($13.59). Their chicken, like that which came with MDP’s entrée, was overcooked and dry. MDP ordered the Smokey Mountain Combo ($19.99), which featured a quarter rack of ribs, plus 8 ounces of chicken. The BBQ sauce was flavorful, but the ribs were dry and chewy.

I ordered Alaskan rockfish grilled ($13.99). The portion was large, but the fish was overcooked and flavorless.

Another member of our group ordered the Pasta del Mar ($14.99), a medley of scallops, shrimp and crabmeat in what the menu described as served in a “garlic herb butter sauce.” She really liked the dish, but surprisingly, the seafood and penne were served in what seemed to be a creamy Alfredo rather than a light, buttery sauce as expected.

Our server was diligent about taking our orders and checking on the table. He told us that several desserts are made in-house, so we decided to share one of those—the chocolate lava cake ($3.99). It erupted with chocolaty flavor! The cake portion, dripping with chocolate, was the same size as each of the two accompanying scoops of vanilla ice cream. However, given the richness, there was plenty for our group to sample.

Readers who had recently enjoyed and recommended the Silk Mill Grille ate there at lunchtime. That may be the key to satisfaction—sandwiches, salads and soups.

What: Silk Mill Grille

Address: 101 Woodmark St., Orange. On U.S. 15 near Subway

Info: 540/672-4010; silkmillgrille.com

Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Prices:

Appetizers: $5.99–$11.59

Soups and salads: $2.99–$7.95

Sandwiches: $6.99–$7.99

Dinners: $10.99–$26.99

Kids menu: $4.99

Desserts: in the $3.99 range

Beer, wine and mixed drinks available.

The Scoop: Family-friendly, casual dining in spacious eating areas. Ample parking. Seating includes booths and tables.

Payment: Major credit cards accepted.

Linda Salisbury is the author of the Bailey Fish books, an award-winning adventure series for kids.

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