San Antonio -- Silo
- Nab Jun 12, 2008 09:26 AM
Silo Elevated Cuisine. The name of this place made me a bit queasy, and I told my driver to go to Buns & Barrels across the street instead. She didn't listen to me.
A buddy of mine from SF was in town and I made a last-minute decision to zip down to SA from Austin to meet him up for dinner. Took him on the obligatory stroll along the riverwalk, slurped some oysters at a place whose name I don't think ever really registered with me. Pretty decent oysters though (Mattitucks, in particular), even if they were poorly shucked.
We then ended up at Silo (with two other companions), which we all thought was a bingo hall from the outside. But inside, they've clearly made the effort to slick this place up, and it is a fairly attractive space once you take the elevator upstairs to the dining room (enjoy the skyline view of the city, and Buns and Barrels).
They make a nice manhattan, and the wine list is nice and varied, something for everyone (including price-wise).
We had an app of calamari which everybody proclaimed "pre-frozen!" in unison. The sauce gave me a temporary bout of diabetes.
The "blue lump crabcake" I actually enjoyed. Sure, there's a goodly amount of filler and other stuff mixed in, but I can enjoy this style of crabcake too, and it was pretty tasty. I liked the addition of corn and roasted tomatoes (which saved me from salmonella!), and other little kibbles and bits.
I had the grilled duck breast topped with Hudson Valley foie gras in a foie gras port glaze with some wild rice, sauteed asparagus and some kind of salad. The duck was cooked perfectly med-rare as requested, but had an unpleasantly chewy texture as if it might have been freezer-burnt or something. Skin not rendered enough either. Two tiny pieces of foie, though for $31 I wasn't expecting a larger serving. Ironically, the little accompanying salad was excellent, and I have no idea what it was dressed with (I inhaled it), but it was a fairly savory and rich dressing (though dressed lightly) topped with blackberries. I tried a bite of the lamb sirloin special which was terribly dry and overcooked (though my diningmate may have ordered it that way, I don't recall). The other plates of salmon and seabass looked nice, I never did try them though.
I don't think I feel any urge to return to Silo. Next time I think I'll check out Buns and Barrels.
Oh, I definitely love the chicken fried oysters. But, I can't think of a bad meal that I've had at Silo. Their fish specials are typically superb! I crave the spinach salad (with fried brie, yum) and the scallops are always perfect. Also, a great lunch spot. Oh, and the bar is a hot spot with the best peach martini (I think it's a peach keene or something like that??) tastes like liquid candy!
Find me the purveyor in San Antonio that doesn't have pre-frozen calamari and I'll go with him to the grave.
But I get your point and agree with you, generally.
Silo has lingered on its reputation and location. It's fine. Nice-looking space. But to me it inhabits the same place as Paloma Blanca does in the city, an overrated concern where you're paying as much for the food as for whom you're NOT dining with.
re: Bring Back the Stein
BBTS, you hit the nail right on the head in your last sentence: "you're paying as much for the food as for whom you're NOT dining with." I got the same vibe at Biga on the Banks (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/49334... ).
Thanks for the review, Nab. I liked the chicken-fried oysters (and not much else) on my last visit to Silo. In the few years since then, I've never felt the urge to return. Your review suggests that not much has changed!
1604 Location review...
Apps- Spring rolls, crisp, not too oily, flavorful. Sauce similar to any chinese resto.
Arinicini (rice balls coated in panko and fried) with artichoke, sundried tom, and goat cheese (3 of my faves)- good but not what I expected. Tasted sim to a parmesean type dish. Sundried tomatoes were lost to me. I was still happy with the dish, great flavors and very tasty- just beware it is basically in spaghetti sauce.
Entrees- Filet with blue cheese gnocchi. I don't know if anyone watches top chef, but the gnocchi were dense, very dense. The blue cheese flavor was great, but no pillowy texture, more appropriate to call them dumplings. Filet Mignon was cooked perfectly and very good.
Duck with Foie Gras, almost missed the Foie, but it was there. Duck was phenomenal. Tender and delicious. Wild rice pilaf and arugula with blackberries all great.
Dessert- Coconut cream pie- light, creamy, and delicious. Perfect ending. Ties with Tom Douglas' well known pies.
We also enjoyed a predinner Mojito and White grape Martini, pretty good, were a bit light on liquor, (heavy on lime- mojito). A bottle of Penfolds Shiraz was superb. Service impecable- ask for Al. Great guy, very enthusiastic. Well set up place, nice decor, now I get the "elevated" cuisine- you take the elevator to second floor.
Not sure how Silo is, but Bun and Barrel is delicious. In fact, maybe I'll stop in for lunch... Anyways, the prices are right and the location is pretty central.