Dee and I found ourselves at Tillie's the other evening. Our plane landed later than we had planned, and we were in the neighborhood. Called for a reservation ("no problem"), stopped by Wine Library, and we were in the front door in about ten minutes.
Really nice looking place. A lot of thought went into the decor and design. Well lighted, without being too bright. Wasn't very busy. At 7pm there was a party of three, and a party of one. Two parties of three each arrived during our stay, and that was it. They weren't expecting many people, just one server / front end manager / receptionist, and a runner.
The corn bread miniatures led off, with the honey butter. One deviled chicken liver and chopped egg on a crusty Italian bread slice. Flecks of hot pepper, and a drizzle of maple syrup. Liked it immensely. The "slab of bacon" was a 7 inch long piece of pork belly on a bed of pickled onion slaw and micro-greens. I think they may have braised the belly and finished it under the broiler. Served it already divided into 6 or 7 segments. Liked it too.
Duck was great, fragrant, warm, well rendered. Perfectly suited for a cold, windy night. The short ribs were OK. Slow cooked with wine peppers tomatoes etc. I found them to be under seasoned. The whipped potatoes were wonderful.
A modern rendition of an icebox cake was delicious. We brought a Russian River Pinot Noir, suggested by Jim Gorman at Wine Library. (Me: Jim, we have dinner reservations at Tillie's in 10 minutes. Whatcha got? Him: I really enjoyed this wine, a steal for $21.) It was fine, not at all heavy, but stood up fine to the duck and ribs.
$100 with tax, before tips. Not a mis-step along the way. Timing was perfect. Ashley was vigilant, friendly, exceptionally helpful. I can't imagine they made much money, though. Two people out front, three people in the back that I could see. Prices are up by $3 to $5 an item compared to their website.
Dreams come in all sizes, shapes, and colors.