Like nearly every restaurant in town, Tonic offers a burger, this one topped with bacon-mustard jam. A crisp Parmesan frico, or wafer, is a fun departure from the usual melted cheese. French fries are thick-cut, steaming hot, yet entirely, mysteriously flaccid. Guess they need Fry-agra.
There is inequity in the burger department. Our tiny patty swims in its bun. At every other table, people are eating burgers nearly twice the size. And there is a burger at just about every other table. Despite Tonic’s culinary ambition, a simple sandwich seems to be what many of its guests still want.
One evening, as we share a very nice creme brulee and a vegan berry shortcake with soy whipped cream (it tastes just like tofu), several people wander in looking confused.
“Is this the Dogwood?” one woman asks.
“No,” replies the host with a slightly pained smile. “No, ma’am, it’s not.”
Devra First can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.