Our reservation at Tilth was for 9:15, admittedly late for a woman who likes to get into bed by 10pm with a good book, but with a short nap under my belt, I was ready to be impressed by good food, lively atmosphere, and exceptional service. Tilth did not disappoint. Our evening started with a wait in the outer area longer than we expected, but general manager Adam Chumas took good care of us, while a few tables of people lingered longer than expected. Adam brought us a delightful appetizer on the house, and made up a cocktail that included lime and crushed fresh ginger.

When we sat down, we decided to share the small plates on the menu, which ranged in price from $8 to $18, and since we couldn’t decide which ones we should have, we tried them all. My favorites were the Morel Mushroom Plin, a delicately stuffed pasta with sheep sorrel, green garlic and cipollini onion, the Carrot Carnaroli Risotto, the Pan Seared Wild Alaskan Halibut, the Grilled Eel River Ranch Sirloin, and the Creamy Mustard Spaetzle. Truth of the matter, I could have named every small dish we sampled as my favorite, because they were all delicious.

For dessert, Bob was smart enough to order the Avocado Mousse, with candied ginger, cilantro syrup, and lime, because it sounded so unlike any dessert any of us had ever imagined. It was outstanding, and a memorable way to end a great meal. The service at Tilth was outstanding, and the lovely house that the restaurant occupies is charming. Chef/Owner Maria Hines was the 2009 James Beard award winner for Best Chef Northwest, and Tilth was named by the New York Times in 2008 as one of the top 10 best new restaurants in the country. Tilth, 1411 North 45th Street, 206-633-0801, www.tilthrestaurant.com.