Tilth is one of those restaurants discussed by those who know food, a restaurant that everyone who’s anyone says that you absolutely MUST try. And then Tilth’s reputation expanded beyond the fooderati when chef and owner Maria Hines appeared on Top Chef Masters and subsequently kicked arse on Iron Chef. Though I suspect that it has always been hard to get a seat a Tilth, even before Maria Hines’ growing public persona shined a brighter light on this sweet little spot.
Tilth occupies a little house near one end of the Wallingford strip, and is absolutely charming from the minute you walk through the gate, across the patio, and up the steps. Spring green chairs, bamboo-topped tables, woven placemats, and light wood floors give the space an airy warmth that is the perfect complement to the exquisitely seasonal, local menu.
But before we even got to the menu, we began with two fantastic cocktails: The Vivificador, with gin, green and yellow chartreuse, Dolin Blanc, and lemon; and the Cactus Cucumber, with Blanco Tequila, cucumber, lime, and honey. It’s impressive when a restaurant with food like this can also pull off cocktails to match.
First on the slate was Billy’s Gardens Tomato Soup, which was bright and delicious in its chilled form, with a warm center of the tiniest grilled cheese sandwich in the center of the bowl. From there it was on to the Oxbow Farm Potato Gnocchi with chanterelle, basil, and a gremolata of lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit, basil, and garlic.
The House Made Pappardelle with fava bean, Walla Walla onion, and sous vide egg was silky and absolutely delicious, as were the Mini Duck Burgers served with tiny chips made from fingerling potatoes, house made ketchup, and hot mustard. The Eel River Sirloin, fried green tomato, and chow chow (a relish of sorts) were all delicious, but I will admit that I was more a fan of the cheesy grits at Marjorie rather than the ones accompanying the sirloin.
We finished with this special Fig Bread Pudding which was quite tasty, but couldn’t touch the White Corn Crème Brulée with its candied bacon (!), corn nuts, and maple syrup. Absolutely delicious and the perfect conclusion to a stunning meal start to finish, brought to us by some of the nicest servers I’ve ever encountered. Listen to what those people have been telling you – get yourself off to Tilth as soon as you possibly can!