Living Well in Litchfield County, Connecticut

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Ore Hill Strikes Gold

Ore Hill Strikes Gold

Elegant indulgence in Kent
By Charles Dubow

If you are in the mood for a truly Lucullan feast, I urge you to try the elegant tasting menu at Ore Hill in Kent. There are few restaurants in Litchfield County that offer such a deep and indulgent dive into all the natural goodness that our best local farms and dairies can produce. But be warned: Bring an appetite, because even though the portions for the tasting menu are moderate, there are enough of them to satisfy even the most heroic of eaters.

Under the direction of new culinary director—and celebrity chef—Tyler Anderson, and executive chef Ryan Connelly, Ore Hill has hit its stride. 

Many Connecticut eaters will know of Anderson’s accomplishments. In addition to being a James Beard nominee seven years in a row, earning Chef of the Year honors from the Connecticut Restaurant Association, and being a participant in season 15 of “Top Chef” (among other accomplishments), he and his restaurant group currently own and operate several dining locations across Connecticut, including Millwright’s in Simsbury, his TA-Que food truck, and an eponymous catering company. It was under Anderson’s leadership that Ore Hill was recognized last year by the New York Times as the best restaurant in Connecticut. 

Connelly, a Woodbury native and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, has been gaining a reputation of his own, having earned his bones at such establishments as New Morning Market, as sous chef at Winvian under chef Chris Eddy, and with award-winning chef David DiStasi at Materia in Bantam until coming to Ore Hill in October 2023.

While there are many restaurants that espouse a farm-to-table philosophy, what sets Ore Hill apart is its connection to Rock Cobble, the 1,000-acre farm founded by the late philanthropist Anne Bass. The farm  grows heirloom varieties of vegetables, fruits, and flowers exclusively for Ore Hill and its sister restaurant, the more casual Swyft. Rock Cobble also provides beef from its Randall Lineback cattle and dairy products from its creamery. 

The menu is updated seasonally. Among recent highlights were the Rock Cobble Beef Tartare “Pizza” with horseradish cheese curds and pickled sunchoke; risotto with spinach, morels, and parmesan; seared scallops with saffron, peperonata, and chickpeas; and veal tenderloin with Swiss chard, salsify, turnips, and pancetta.

To heighten the enjoyment of your meal,  request the wine pairing for each course, designed by sommelier James Hopkins (whom sharp-eyed diners may remember from Community Table). His curated and original wine list features many smaller vineyards from both the Old and New Worlds; and many of his bottles are reasonably priced.

Connelly, who nightly helms the kitchen for both Ore Hill and Swyft, says that to him, “Ore Hill is all about focusing on local ingredients for local residents and beyond. I want to invite our guests in, and allow them to experience the flavors of the seasons.” Meal prices: prix fixe is $110, chef’s tasting is $145, wine pairing is $78. Open Thursday through Saturday for dinner.—orehillandswyft.com.

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