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Saturday, April 16, 2011

A night out to the new hot spot, Tilia in Linden Hills!

Fried Gnocchi with White Truffle & Parmesan 
Brussels with Ham & Walnuts

Squash Caramelle Pasta with
Gorgonzola & Candied Walnuts
Gravalox with Black Rye & Fish Roe Butter 

Upon a high recommendation from my foodie sister Natalie (visit her blog here) Adam (soon to be hubby) and I set out to try this new spot created by Steven Brown, a notable chef in the Twin Cities. I was previously a server at Nick and Eddie, a restaurant where Mr. Brown once called himself chef! Naturally, I had a heightened interest in tasting his creations. The restaurant is located in Linden Hills and occupies only two small rooms with a bar, open kitchen and dispersed table tops. The restaurant was in full swing at the early hour of 5pm when we dropped in to beat the crowds, or so we thought. Starting with the atmosphere, the restaurant was cozy but too loud for my taste, the music was blaring and the wait at the door created an unpleasant hovering over our meals. Our server was attentive, but clearly busy with one too many tasks. The meal portion was a bit brighter, starting with the fried gnocchi that Natalie had recommended we try. The gnocchi had a crispy skin from the frier with a pillow like moist potato filling almost like a State Fair cheese curd inside... I mean you can't go wrong with potatoes, cheese and truffle oil! Next, we shared the house cured gravalox which were quite delicate and magical. The fish roe coating the rye bread was hard to taste, a point of color more than flavor punch. I would have preferred the rye toasted, but overall a beautiful plate. Next arrived the pasta and brussels. The brussels must have been caramelized in bacon fat, because the flavor was dangerously salty and fantastic. I enjoyed the candied walnut addition which added an earthy texture to the succulent "vegetable" if they could still be referred to as such ;) The squash pasta was rich and nutty with the gorgonzola sauce and walnuts, but too salty to enjoy the subtlety of the squash and ricotta. For dessert, we couldn't resist the butterscotch creme pot: a dessert I fondly recall from Nick and Eddie (a specialty of pastry chef Jessica Anderson). I cannot believe I am about to say this, but I prefer Tilia's butterscotch because of (1) the manageable portion, (2) the thicker consistency and (3) the chilled ramekin it was served in preserved it's fresh and smooth, buttery taste. In conclusion, I think Tilia has a few kinks to work out, yet I am sure to be back again for the luxurious butterscotch creme and gnocchi pillows of heaven! 

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