1411 N 45th Street
Reviewed: 6 February 2007
Stepping into Tilth is like stepping into a country farm house with its low ceilings, hard wood floor and charming fireplace. The food is country too, but modern country in which modern cooking techniques are applied to old fashioned local ingredients. What come out of the kitchen? Wonderful things like perfectly crisped pork belly and heartily flavored duck burgers.
We have to admit we enjoyed the cooking at Tilth, and we loved their use of farm fresh local ingredients. Being big boosters of Clallam County agriculture, we put in a good word for our local brussels sprouts and kales. After all, Clallam County provides most of the countries seeds for these crops. The decor was simple and bit rustic, but the space was a bit crowded and a bit noisy. We could converse, but this was after we had moved to a corner table, and even then the noise detracted from the meal.
But, what a meal it was. The crisp pork belly was served with chestnuts and a cabbage charcroute, a sort of sauerkraut or coleslaw. The miniature duck burger came on a bug with arugula and tomato, and it was wonderfully savory with the fig mustard. The chicken leg confit was good with collard greens, pickled lemon and ricotta gnocci, but we've been spoiled by our own duck confit.
Tilth serves small plates as well as large ones, so we explored the menu, and enjoyed everything we found. For meat and potatoes we had grass fed beef top sirloin with ozette potatoes and brussels sprouts. We could not resist the cranberry beans, which are wonderful beans, but rarely used. We had them in a cassoulet with dried tomatoes, leeks and truffle butter. The kitchen was in good form, with great ingredients and clear technique.
We topped off our meal with the cheese plate, all local, and all wonderful. Tilth is tribute to Washington State agriculture, and modern American cooking. It is all too easy to start with good ingredients and go nowhere. The food at Tilth shows imagination in figuring out how to prepare and combine ingredients to bring out the best in each. So, we get the pork belly with the sweetness of chestnuts, the duck prepared as a hamburger, and the cranberry beans in a cassoulet with dried tomatoes. There is no sense of reaching, of trying to impress; Tilth simply offers good food.