Would we go back:
2726 West 43rd Street
• Gem Lettuce Salad - Goat cheese, spring radish, snow peas, sherry vinaigrette & chives $8
• Scallops - Parsnip puree, grenobloise, bacon $13 (shared)
• Icelandic Haddock - Dilled potato salad, pickled beets, watercress $20
• German Chocolate Cupcake $7 (shared)
I know I have been over this before on this website, but I am getting old. So when I need to wait 1 1/2 for a meal, in general I just won't do it. But this evening we were child free and able to withstand a wait so we went to Tilia. We did not arrive until 7:45 and still the wait was 1 1/2 hours. I understand their reasons for not taking reservations, why? when clearly they don't have to. But it would make life a lot easier for us older folks. Perhaps if you came a bit later or earlier things would have been easier, by 10 there was not wait so perhaps that is the time to come. We ended up being seated by the bar facing the chefs, which was quite entertaining, however the seats were not comfortable, it would have been great to have a back on them.
All the whining aside the food was really quite good, my salad was above average, the scallops were great and my haddock was sublime. Really one of the best dishes I have had this year, but was it worth the wait, hmm, probably not. I would have probably loved all the more without the wait. The dessert was fine, nothing to write home about, but a nice sweet at the end of the meal.
Clearly what they are doing is working for them, but until the coolness wears off, or until they take reservations, I will not be back. There is a new restaurant opening soon next door, perhaps that will take some of the traffic away.
• Spring Onion - Oysters, asparagus, noilly prat & lemon $9
• Grilled Mahi Mahi - Achiote, garlic, lime, preserved bell peppers & coriander $18
It's hard for me to love Tilia. Any restaurant where the wait is 1 1/2 hours later on a Saturday night is hard to love. Compounding that is that access to the bar to order a drink was two or more people deep all the way around making it near impossible to get a drink, and the staff doesn't seem to care like other restaurants where they insist on keeping an opening for people to walk up and order a drink. The waiting area is crowded, too. We were standing amidst tables near the entrance which was uncomfortable for us, uncomfortable for the diners, and difficult for the wait staff. All of these are reasons I won't be going back to Tilia any time soon.
But, if you must go to Tilia, some of the food is very good. The spring onion soup was phenomenal. I know, 9 bucks for soup is steep, but the oysters were exquisite and the soup itself was delightful and refreshing. The scallops were tremendous, too. The scallops were perfectly done, fresh, and succulent. The accompanying bacon, parsnip puree, and grenobloise added a certain je ne sais quois to the scallops. But then the mahi mahi was a letdown. I ordered the duck, and the server returned to tell me they were out of the duck. So I went with the mahi mahi. Even though the fish was okay and prepared well, it was not great. The achiote detracted from the fish, and the pickled bell peppers were okay by themselves but nothing terrific, and did not really go with the fish. The german chocolate cupcake was below average, and I could not recommend dessert at Tilia. Service at the barstools in front of the kitchen was uneven during our visit. I'm sure that many people will continue to wait a long time for a table at the no-reservations Tilia, but I probably won't be one of them
April 28, 2012