Good Vibes, Victuals at 93 Til
If I were to open a restaurant, bar, or brewery, I'd make music an important part of the experience. I'd show off my record collection, make some Spotify playlists, and find songs and albums that correspond to special events. All of this is to say, I really like Montrose's new 93 Til.
The restaurant at the former Night Heron property, co-owned by two chefs with the same last name (Gary Ly, formerly of Underbelly and the Momofuku brand, and Lung Ly, who's worked across the country and is not related to his business partner), takes its name from '90s hip-hop group Souls of Mischief's song "93 'Til Infinity." Take that song as a foundation for the music the restaurant plays—you'll hear hip-hop and rap, funk, soul, worldbeat, classic rock, African jazz, and much more, sometimes in one dinner service.
As an example, one night included a playlist of music from hip-hop group De La Soul, rapper Common, funk pioneers Funkadelic, and the '60s-hits-heavy soundtrack to the 1983 film The Big Chill. I know this because the playlist is printed on the menu; here, the tunes are as necessary as the food.
The idea of it all is to chill. Have a cocktail or glass of wine (right now 93 Til is waiting for its liquor license, so bring your own bottle for now), vibe out with some tunes, and, in the meantime, dive into fried frog legs with salsa macha, have some beets with goat cheese, or pick apart an awesome-looking clam toast with sausage and egg yolk bathing in clam ragout.
I had a couple of great dishes. First was chicken liver mousse with fennel marmalade and smoked trout roe, served in a shallow bowl with gently browned toast. Try not to mop up all of it before running out of toasts—it's a game. It's also plated like a piece of art, but that won't stop you from going hard on this rich classic.
Then came pork cheek shepherd's pie. I didn't expect anything like shepherd's pie at a place like this, but what I got was a personal-sized ramekin capped by a golden layer of lightly torched potato. The pie was steaming hot and filled with tender pork bits, some leeks, carrots, peas, and parsnips, whose bitter tang really took over in the best way.
I imagine, especially once public life is a little safer, I'll be back to sink into one of the mid-century couches or chairs at 93 Til, fall into a dream with some PM Dawn, and order more tiny riches. It's my kind of spot.