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“Uneven dining experience” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of James at the Mill Restaurant

James at the Mill Restaurant
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Ranked #1 of 3 Restaurants in Johnson
Price range: US$13 - US$36
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining, Local cuisine, Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: After-hours, Dinner, Full Bar, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Johnson Exit #69 off of Interstate 540
Northwest AR
1 review
“Uneven dining experience”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 January 2011

Midweek reservations resulted in a poorly situated table in a nearly empty restaurant. The service was adequate but not attentive nor unobtrusive. We selected wine, salads, entrees, dessert and coffee. The presentation was dramatic and our choices were very good. The experienced confirmed my previous impression. The restaurant tries to present as an extraordinary culinary experience; however, it needs to feel more comfortable with itself. It reminded me of a 17 yrs. old trying to be grown up at the prom. Several other Fayetteville restaurants offer equally commendable cuisine with a more confident ambiance.

    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank FoodieNWAR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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192 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    110
    45
    18
    9
    10
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
bentonville AR
Level Contributor
63 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
“Well Run but Curious and Complex”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 December 2010

Certainly this is a well run kitchen and restaurant that is a high end option in North West Arkansas but whenerver I eat at this restaurant I can't help but feel they try and weave a bit too much of Arkansas in to the mix and too many flavors on the plate.

But from the top we were welcomed by the hostess and decided to have a drink at the bar. Not a conventional bar but it is directly overlooking the kitchen. I like open kitchens as they are typically kept cleaner and thechefs take their time but I do like a pre dinner drink at a nice bar. We decided on a glass of champagne and the affordable bottles come down to Moet or Veuve Cliquot, they do have the rose of each but not really inspring. From those you jump to a Krug, Louis Roderer or Dom Perignon (why they have both the Crystal and the DP on such a small selection is a mystery) with a considerable price jump. Would be nice to have a stepping stone from the M&C/VC - perhaps a Laurent perrier/Bollinger would make a nice alternative to fill in the price between $125 and $400/bottle - quite the jump. We actually selected a California Schramsberg that was quite reasonable, served with nice flutes but no ice bucket meaning the second glas was nearing room termperature - to me this is a poor omission.

We were seated on the upper deck, I found the chairs a little hard but not to the point of discomfort. Coats not taken and we put them on the spare chair, again a small point but they were not that busy, takes a little effort. There was a noisy party dopwn below - not much the restaurant can do but take note the noise echos in this restaurant, if it's busy it's not romatic and if it's quiet it lacks ambience/atmosphere, subjective views but that's they way it feels.

The menu is quite diverse and reads well. For appetizers our group selected the "Duck 2 Ways" (OK but stickers over powered by sauce) Goat Cheese Sales with Potatoes and Bacon (Excellent) and Crab Cake (Crab Cake nice but way too many other flavors included). For main course we had Hickory Smokes Pork (Excellent but Potato Galette was burned on the bottom) Peacn Crusted Salmon (Coarse cut Pecans and sauce overpowered the salmon - allegedly wild caught Scottish - Shame) and Rib Eye that was fine. The presentation, temperature and timing of these courses was very good - sometimes I think that the combination of flavors are either too complex or out of balance with one flavor dominating another. We did not have any dessert.

For wine we selected a Californis CS called Plump Jack priced at $194/bottle. This was selected by our guest due to personal knowledge - he commented at the stiff mark up but it was an excellent selection, jammy fruit and a big nose. We went through it quickly and ordered another - sorry last one! OK - this is another small thing but when selling $200 bottles of wine you would think thay would notice when taking from the cellar that this was the last bottle and inform the guest. So we had to select another - the wine manager came over and made some suggestions, we followed his lead as it was described as similar - not even close to my palate. Much drier, more tanin and no where near as complex - it was a nice wine but after the Plump Jack it's differences felt inadequate - we drank barely half of it.

Service was attentive, glasses were never empty - they just missed the ice bucket, coats and last bottle - otherwise it matched the venue.

Maybe I'm picky but this is my third visit and while this is a good restaurant I think the kitchen tries too hard with flavor combinations and some of their dishes are just confusing, others were very good. Some of the dishes are just strange - described a flattened filet mignon that is then breaded and fried....another described a corn dog but using an andouille sausage..........you can take the boy out of Arkansas but you can't take the Arkansas out of the boy I guess. Chicken Fried Steaks (even with nice accompanying sides and using a Filet) is not why I would go to this type of reataurant.

With wine expect at least $100/head and easily more.

    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank LiamBuckley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fayetteville, Arkansas
1 review
“Poor Customer Service”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 September 2010

The food was wonderful, however the waitress we had was inattentive and not the least bit friendly. She actually made me uncomfortable and I felt as though we burdened her. I had to ask for silverwear and bread. She forgot we ordered desert and we I had to remind her. If going to spend $150-200 dollars at a restaurant I expect the wait staff to be welcoming and provide top service.

    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank FoodieofNWA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NW Arkansas
Level Contributor
133 reviews
59 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
“The Finest Gourmet Cuisine in Arkansas”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 August 2010

Chef Miles James is one of the best chefs in the South. When you're in NW Arkansas, if you wwnt a very nice, special occasion dinner in an incredibly upscale atmosphere, make reservations here. We spent our anniversary here. It's prices are not for the faint of heart, but my wife and I ate for $40 (expect to spend much more if you have wine or additional courses.) Chef served all diners complimentary black caviar...very impressive given no other eating establishments in the region offer caviar. If you stay at the on site Inn, you will also receive complimentary wine and cheese paring with your suite cost. We had white wine with local goat cheese and reds with a creamy blue cheese-- excellent beginning to an over the top dinner experience.

    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank USHis2ryTeacher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kerrville, Texas
Level Contributor
24 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great Food - Un-Inviting Hostess”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 March 2010

Hostess was very stand-offish while making our reservation (and she knew that we were guests at the Inn). Almost rude on arrival, as if in the company of my oldest son (17), we could not appreciate the culinary arts that they afford. Attitude was snobbish and dismissive - a complete contrast to that of our waitress. Our waitress was attentive - held back on our entrees as we savored our appetizers. She did not rush us and kindly offered a wine glass to return to our room as I had some bit of a bottle of wine left. For all the air "pomp & circumstance" that the hostess puts off, you would think that she would have requested that several of her diners remove their caps!

    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Hillco57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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