Chef Interview

Noshing by the Fire in Fall River

Kicked up pub food goes gourmet at The Tipsy Toboggan

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Timothy Smith’s journey to becoming a chef started in an unlikely place: the front of the house. The kitchen and the dining room of every restaurant are understood as two completely separate worlds – the former for screaming and punching tickets, the latter for smiles and popping corks. But when opportunity knocked, he couldn’t pass up the chance of running the kitchen and bringing his own creative ideas to the table of the Tipsy Toboggan.

I never thought I’d find a ski lodge-inspired restaurant in Fall River. How did that concept come about?
I think it all began with the Tipsy Seagull – the original waterside bar and restaurant on a barge in the middle of Borden Light Marina. But, as you can imagine, once the summers end so does the fun, so [owner] Michael Lund turned his attention to winter fun. And what’s more fun than aprèsski? So the Tipsy Toboggan was born – a restaurant with a big fireplace, live music, great food and drinks.

What are some menu items that play into the cool atmosphere of the restaurant?
We have a lot of appetizers for friends to share, like wings, nachos and calamari. But we also have meals for the folks that have been out on the slopes of Fall River, like big burgers, steaks or seafood dishes. One thing customer’s keep coming back for is the Pork Osso Bucco. It’s huge and the meat falls right off the bone.

Where do you get your inspiration for your cooking style?
From two things I love: travel and dining. I’ve had some great meals all over the world, but my favorite foods are always simple, fresh and local. I like to cook with quality ingredients and source locally as much as possible. I also watch a lot of the Food Network.

What is a must-try dish at the Tipsy Toboggan?
If you are going to try one thing, you have to try the Tenderloin Gorgonzola. It’s a delicious combination of blackened tenderloin and crispy potato pancakes in a pool of Gorgonzola cream sauce.

I see that there’s salmon glazed with Maker’s Mark bourbon on the menu. Tell me about this heavenly creation.
The Maker’s Mark Salmon is delicious. We start with the freshest wild Atlantic salmon. We grill it until it is about medium rare, top it with a sweet brown sugar and Maker’s Mark Bourbon glaze, then finish it in the oven. It is out of this world.

Are you more of a surf or turf kind of guy? Tell me about dishes that would satisfy your cravings for either.
I am definitely a turf guy. There is nothing I like more than a nice grilled steak. The Steak Au Poivre is my favorite. It is lightly peppered and finished with a sweet brandy demi-glace, served with a side of our hand-cut French fries. Folks that try it the first time usually get it every time they come back.

Do you prefer pub-style food over high-end, fussy cuisine?
I enjoy both. But I love to settle up at the bar for a high-end meal. To me, it’s the best of both worlds.

What do you love about this line of work? (Besides eating the delicious food)
I like the fast paced environment, but I really enjoy putting the smiles on people’s faces when they try my food for the first time.

What do you think about Fall River’s food scene nowadays?
With the revitalization of Fall River, the opportunity has opened up for some great restaurants. Not only for the famous Portuguese cuisine, but Italian and seafood restaurants as well. Even the pubs are putting out great food; there is a lot of competition out there.

Tell me about the perfect meal here. What dishes would you order for appetizer, entrée and dessert? And what would you wash it all down with?
If I get a night off I would come and sit fireside and start with a big fat martini. Then I would get a bowl of French onion soup. I really believe it is the best I have ever had. I would follow it with the Steak Au Poivre and a glass of Pinot Noir. For dessert I would finish with a chocolate martini or the chocolate cake: both are to die for.

Tipsy Toboggan
75 Ferry Street
Fall River
508-567-0550