Tilia in Linden Hills feels like it's been around forever

Steven Brown's comeback rings out loud and clear

In the bright light of day, when a double order of Kobe beef hot dogs seems like less of a good idea, Tilia still exudes the same welcome, even if you can't help but wonder if the cooks even bothered to go home and instead just curled up in a booth. There are sunny window seats, strong coffee, and trays of freshly baked banana muffins or hot cross buns piled up on the bar.

The brunch menu revolves around perfectly cooked eggs. In addition to the omelets and scrambles, the kitchen prepares them at least three ways: boiled hot and fast, then warmed in a smoke-infused water bath; cooked low and slow at a mere 62 degrees for 45 minutes, in conditions precisely controlled by an immersion circulator; or steam-fried with cream instead of water so they resemble shirred-style eggs.

The eggs go on buttery toast with roasted tomatoes and a whisper of tarragon cream, or with biscuits and gravy that are blessedly delicate and not too salty. But their best platform is the Benedict. Two of the stark white orbs—with yolks not chalky or runny, but having a nearly gel-like consistency—settle into a nest made of cooked spinach, flakes of King crab, and lightly sweet cornmeal waffles that sop up a tongue-tingling hollandaise sauce.

Shrimp and spring peas
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At some point, mid-morning, Brown and his family will likely arrive: wife, child, and a dog that's obedient enough to wait for its master out on the sidewalk untethered. Then Brown might join his wife at a table while neighbor kids play Frisbee with his dog, and his tiny daughter—wearing a green-and-white apron and toting a Hello Kitty notepad—shadows a waitress. It's a moment in which Brown seems to have unlocked the secret to having life and work agreeably meshed.

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