When the folks at Dragonfly Neo-V announced late last year that they’d be changing their concept, I have to admit that I was overwhelmed by everything they claimed Till Dynamic Fare would become. They’d serve cask beers and wine on tap, but grown-up cocktails as well. Biodynamic burgers would live peacefully on the menu beside their celebrated classic vegan fare. And their target audience would grow immensely. No longer would they primarily serve vegans with extra pocket change; Till would become a place to bring your kids, your best friend, your grandmother.
The changes — dramatic and subtle — worked. I’d dined at the original restaurant twice in eleven years. (Don’t judge!) Now that Till’s in town, I’ve been twice in three months. And I can see myself going again, soon.
Although I enjoy the new lower prices ($14 entrees) and additions of meat and dairy to the menu, I think what I like most about the new place is that it’s approachable. Not pretentious, not smug. It’s a little corner place that happens to have incredible food. How can I best say this? It’s a get up, brush your teeth and throw on some jeans type of restaurant now. I feel like I have to get more dressed up for the Short North location of the Northstar Café.
The menu promised that the cheese board would contain Ohio cheeses and an assortment of Till’s condiments. Tiny, delightful bites of perfectly paired tastes came artfully displayed. I can only assume that this selection changes with the season. My favorite: the beet-pickled eggs.
The salted cod with the soft boiled egg was so good, it received an encore appearance at a later brunch visit. The only downside is the difficulty that comes with trying to share a soft boiled egg. (Why, yes, the soft-on-the-inside-firm-on-the-outside egg makes me think of the grilled kale and endive salad at Buttermilk Channel. Thanks for asking.) The salty cod is a bit creamier than a tuna salad, but has a similar texture. Perfect for spreading over the toasted bread, but a million times more delicious than any other fish salad on toast combination you’ll encounter. (I’ve been to many a Women’s Club luncheon; I’ve tasted them all.)
“This is the best burger I’ve had in my life.” You heard it here first, folks. Ben’s met his favorite burger. Tender, juicy, falling apart (in a good way) and, of course, biodynamic, Till’s burger is good for you. (Look at all those fresh greens.) The bite that I was allowed to experience was salty and flavorful. Strings of the melted Swiss cheese stretched across the table, and it was a race for the remnants. (I won, naturally.) Tangy onions complement and bring it all together.
This burger required a fork. No shame in that; we needed one for those spiced pickled beets anyway.
Those beets were served next to what can only be described as a mashed potato fritter with a weaker cousin of Slut Sauce. Lovely.
Till mastered the collision of temperatures with the next entree: warm and flaky poached salmon, housemade hollandaise and cool, perfectly crisp spring asparagus. One bite of anything green in this restaurant is enough to convince even the most skeptical of diners: Locally grown really does taste better.
My entree – a pot pie – was served on a bed of bacon mashed potatoes. These are the best chunks you’ll ever want to find in potatoes. The well-seasoned beef was enveloped inside a crispy and flaky dough that almost had a too-long-on-the-griddle pancake taste. It was all topped with simple steamed spinach (these guys know how to just let the vegetables do the work).
While they’re still working on fulfilling a few of those early promises (I’m waiting as patiently as possible for those real ales on tap), Till has followed through on the majority with remarkable aplomb. Well done, guys.
Till Dynamic Fare
247 King Avenue