Meatless Mondays: Tilth

Inside Tilth

This little green house has heart, soul and dark chocolate sorbet.

The delicately-designed array of food at Tilth has a mysterious way of filling you up with warmth without weighing you down with couch-ridden guilt. The majority of their food is organic, local, wild and seasonable. And no, there is no fake cheese season. This place is all about tantalizing your taste buds, not tricking them. Though I’m pretty sure they keep a magic “creamy” potion in that kitchen somewhere.

Owner Maria Hines in the Tilth Kitchen
Owner Maria Hines in the Tilth Kitchen

The new addition of vegan À la carte and tasting menus separate the meatless from the meat-full. So you need not analyze, hypothesize, compromise or ask a million questions when looking the menu over. Just close your eyes and point.

Tilth Savory Apple Soup
Tilth Savory Apple Soup

Savory Apple Soup $10/$14

Compressed Pink Lady apples, sweet onions, crispy shallots

Like everything in this restaurant, the presentation was perfection. A tiny carafe of creamy apple soup is poured over a small pile of compressed apples, onions and shallots creating a smooth, savory and tart bowl of liquid gold with a little crunch. Okay, pale yellow gold with a little crunch. This soup was eye, mouth and mind opening. The combination of flavors were fresh and rich. Light and hearty. Confusing and delicious! I’m usually not a fan of tart foods but this soup… With the creamy… And the savory. Oy you get it let’s move on.

Pot-Au-Feu $18/$27

Couscous, Lacinto kale, saba broth, wild mushrooms

This very loose and very Northwest interpretation of the traditional French Pot-Au-Feu, meaning beef stew, was more like a side dish on steroids. Soft, pillowy couscous, wild mushrooms and perfectly cooked kale swim together in a heavy splash of saba broth. For those of you who don’t know what saba is, you’re all idiots! Just kidding I had no idea either. I looked into it, and it’s basically a grape reduction. It can be very potent, but this dish only uses a hint of the mildly sweet must. Adding just the right amount of sweetness to the savory “stew”.

Tilth Smoked Bean Cassoulet
Tilth Smoked Bean Cassoulet

Smoked Bean Cassoulet $16/$27

Truffle, wild mushroom, cannellini purée

Maria’s Ohio roots politely stepped out of the way when it came to crafting this meatless masterpiece. The version I was served doesn’t quite match the description on the website, but that’s just what happens when you cook seasonally and locally. Sometimes ya just can’t find a good tomato. And though the dish was a beautiful display of “are you sure there’s no bacon in this?” I did feel like it could use some freshness to balance out the bean-ness. That tomato would have been great, but I also found that kale worked as a perfect substitute. So steal some from your Pot Au Feu, or order a side of Lacinto kale for $8.

Tilth's Theo's Dark Chocolate Sorbet
Theo’s Dark Chocolate Sorbet from Tilth

Theo’s Dark Chocolate Sorbet $9

Shaved chocolate, toasted hazelnut

Definitely without a doubt 100% yes mam saved the best for last. If you like chocolate, and if you like smiling like an idiot while you chew, order the chocolate sorbet. It is not at all what it sounds like. No ice-y, crunchy, scraping with your spoon. No fruit. No nonsense. They use a gelato machine to make this chocolate dream, and the result is not sorbet. It’s creamy and soft like ice cream but instead of finishing heavy, it just floats back off into heaven from where it came. I’m telling you, this dessert could bring peace on earth… to an earth torn apart by sorbet wars. Or something.

To sum it up, this place does food justice. Never over-complicating and never under-delivering, they know how to bring out the best of each of their ingredients in a simple way while still surprising and delighting you with their genius flavor combining abilities. I give Tilth a solid 9,000 points.

My Tilth tip: order Theo’s Dark Chocolate Sorbet! Duh.

Tilth| 1411 N 45th St Seattle, WA 98103 | 206.633.0801

Photography by Clare Barboza