Our first attempt at dinner at the Ticonderoga Club was the weekend of the Inman Park Festival. But when we arrived, Krog Street Market had “sold” all their parking places to the festival. And they wanted $20 to allow us to park there (although KSM merchants could validate your parking and you could get $10 back). We just drove away…
This Sunday, there was no festival and we found a parking place pretty easily. As we walked into the “camp store” front, they asked if we were there for the happy hour limited menu and drinks. We didn’t know that such a thing existed, so we weren’t. We went inside and were seated at a table. The idea behind Ticonderoga Club has been two years in the making and the colonial-feeling tavern was created in reaction to the spread of upscale Southern food experiences (I saw it referred to as the “bespoke shotgun South”). Their idea:
“We have made a place where you will receive excellent food and drink and genuine Southern hospitality, and you will leave that place with absolute certainty you got good value for your money, so good you will want to come back tomorrow and think you might actually have the money left to do it”
along with a table for six. You can see, from all of these photos, that they didn’t spend a fortune on the interiors.
This is a tavern, owned by partner bartenders, but with a serious chef (and partner), David Bies, behind the menu. Bies was chef de cuisine for four years at Restaurant Eugene (still one of the nicest dinners in the city) and has a distinct vision. The menu is small (seven starters, seven entrees and five sides) and interesting – heavy on seafood. I ordered a side of smashed potatoes to go with my entree – a boiled potato that is then smashed and finished off on the flattop.
This was a really interesting dish, very heavy on the sour cream. The special of the day was a tilefish, served with charred spring ramps (if you’d like to know more about ramps, check out the great Eater article here) and lemon.
The fish was cooked perfectly, firm yet flaky. My beloved ordered the vegan noodle bowl,
which was a cold noodle dish full of spring vegetables (bok choy, scallions, lotus root, and beets) topped with peanuts. She enjoyed it thoroughly and it was one of those dishes that seemed to grow. She kept eating and the bowl stayed full. The word I would use to describe this dinner was “comfortable”. And not in a bad way – like dinner at a friend’s house, if your friends served you instead of eating with you and also owned really cool tavern.
Paul Calvert, one of the owners, was at the cabana as we left and seemed spoke to us. He seemed genuinely happy that we’d chosen to eat there and made sure that we knew that. I know that I was glad we had eaten there.