The silver review_ a reimagined diner projects modernity — and confusion – the washington post

The Silver in Bethesda seems indecisive: It can’t quite decide whether to fully embrace its new mission or remain true to the classic dishes that make me feel like it’s winter 365 days a year. Avocado and egg toast recipe The menu here features such hearty fare as chicken pot pie, truffle bison meatloaf, 72-hour short rib with mashed potatoes, and hanger steak with chimichurri and horseradish demi-glace. Baked avocado and eggs The main concession to spring are the crab cakes, built with Chesapeake’s finest.


When I ask our waitress in late April about the menu, she indicates changes are forthcoming. Salad with egg and avocado By the end of May, the document remains virtually untouched, and even the list of weekly specials, despite spring touches like lamb and white asparagus, comes loaded with butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, Brussels sprouts and other autumnal flavors. Baked avocado and eggs recipe It’s a menu that mirrors our political climate: confusing and contradictory, asking us to believe in change but giving us much of the same.

The Silver is a sleek reimagination of the diner, designed to take the old chrome-and-neon concept and upgrade it with all the craft-cocktail, local-beer and farm-to-table finery expected by contemporary restaurant-goers. Fried egg and avocado The project comes from the team behind the Silver Diner chain, which should surprise no one. Egg white and avocado breakfast The owners have been rethinking their business model for years, retrofitting the concept for customers more familiar with earbuds and hook-up apps than poodle dresses and sock hops.

Housed on the ground floor of the Flats at Bethesda Avenue, the Silver takes its aesthetic cues from the art deco movement of the 1920s and 1930s instead of the early 20th-century period of prefab dining cars or the “American Graffiti” car culture of the 1950s. Healthy avocado and egg recipes It makes for a handsome, high-ceilinged space, elegant and inviting. Avocado and egg salad recipes Its design comes with its own subtext, too: art deco as a symbol for modernity, for pushing the diner into the 21st century. Hard boiled egg and avocado recipes Silver even comes with a tagline: new American brasserie.

One glance at the menu, and you can see that Silver is riding the farm-to-table zeitgeist like a bucking bronco. Egg and avocado breakfast sandwich Right at the top of the menu, before the entrees, sandwiches or brunch items, executive chef Ype Von Hengst touts the 12 “farms” from which Silver buys ingredients. Avocado and egg for hair One of them is Logan’s, a sausage-making company in Alexandria.

For better or for worse, the beauty of the old-fashioned diner is its lack of pretense — and its mindlessness. Egg and avocado bake You can order a short stack with a sunny-side-up egg at 3 a.m. Avocado and boiled egg and not give a hoot whether the flour was milled locally or if the eggs were cage-free. Egg in avocado hole recipe Silver is a diner that wants you to think about the provenance of your meal, but the more you think about it, the more questions you have. Baked avocado egg bowl What farm, for instance, supplied the out-of-season fruits for that tomato-basil “market soup” in April?

Silver, in short, wants to align itself with the farm-to-table movement without fretting much about seasonality, which is at the heart of almost all agriculture.

Conceptual disconnections aside, you can find some decent food at Silver. Avocado and egg bake Stick with the simpler fare, such as the cheeseburger (loosely formed, well-seasoned and cooked to a beautiful shade of pink), pancakes (fluffy with crispy edges, just as the breakfast gods intended) or even the oddball chicken picatta, a thinly pounded breast that sports conspicuous char as if the meat had been grilled, not drenched in flour and fried golden. Avocado and egg nutrition The chicken arrives with a side of butternut squash puree, the strangest pairing since Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett.

Too many plates strike similar off notes. Toast with avocado and egg The huevos rancheros ditch their rustic preparation for an uptown mashup of chorizo, bison hash, egg, avocado, goat cheese and rice, a combination that has no hope of fusing together without more sauce. Avocado and egg on toast The crab cakes come laced with tarragon, whose licorice voice dominates the sweet whisper of the Chesapeake crab meat. Baked avocado with egg The roasted artichoke “Caesar” piles on so many atypical elements that you can’t see the salad through the pecans, tomatoes, kale and cilantro-based dressing. Avocado and egg for diabetes Likewise, a special of lemon pesto shrimp risotto buries the rice under an avalanche of ingredients, including peas, white asparagus, pistachios and more butternut squash (which should file for overtime pay given how often it’s put to work beyond its usual season).

Chimichurri is a workhorse at Silver, too. Avocado and egg recipes The parsley sauce thickly coats a handful of chicken wings, making them look more like Vietnamese mossy frogs than bird parts. Avocado and scrambled egg Once I got over their appearance, I happily ploughed through the spicy wings. Avocado egg tomato breakfast Chimichurri turns up again with the hanger steak, a flavorful hunk of meat forced to do battle with the sauce and a thick layer of char to get my attention. Avocado egg recipe microwave The steak is served with garlic spinach spiked with — all together now! — butternut squash.

This free-form approach seems to affect all aspects of the restaurant. How long to bake avocado and egg Like the dinner menu, the cocktail list still wants to huddle by the fireplace with such full-throated, wintry tipples as the Mulled-Hattan (bourbon, mulled wine, amaro and brandied cherry) and the Autumn’s Laurel (applejack, Drambuie, vermouth, allspice dram). Avocado and egg toast As if to compensate, the bar also taps into the tiki craze, serving up a surprisingly authoritative mai tai (spelled “my tai” on the menu) mixed with real orgeat. Avocado egg roll recipes Desserts wander all over the place, too, offering a too-salty apple pie (a taste of fall) and a tasty, sweet-tart Mason jar goat cheesecake with raspberries (a taste of summer, served in a hermetic glass terrine).

Silver, this farm-to-table diner with little sense of the seasons, appears to leave everyone a tiny bit befuddled. Sandwich with avocado and egg One night, our server explained that Denizens Brewing Co. Avocado egg nog from “Baltimore” had taken over the taps. Lean in 15 avocado and egg Not wanting to come across as a know-it-all gasbag, I asked the waiter: “Isn’t Denizens based in Silver Spring?”

“Yes,” he said tersely. Egg and avocado breakfast recipes No acknowledgement. Avocado and egg diabetes Not even a joke to try to recover some dignity. Baked avocado egg rolls His mistake was minor, but his clipped, this-didn’t-really-happen reaction struck me as telling: The server, like Silver itself, is more interested in looking right than being right.

Prices: Lunch: $6 to $17 for small plates; $10 to $19 for salads, sandwiches and entrees. Avocado and baked egg Dinner: $6 to $17 for small plates; $12 to $25 for salads, sandwiches and entrees. Avocado and egg baked Crab cakes are market price.