Kingston Station, Marliave, or Silvertone?
Best cocktails? Best prices? Best food? Best atmosphere? Or, an idea of each's various merits?
I've search around but I thought some head-to-head comparison might be nice. Considering this for a good place to get a yummy bite and great, old-school cocktails after work. I will probably end up trying them all!
Or perhaps you have somewhere else to suggest?
Can only compare Kingston Station and Silvertone. Like them both but am really liking Kingston Station these days. I went there for lunch today actually and had the grilled cheese with gruyere, tomato, and bacon served with tomato soup. It was absolutely delicious. Sandwich could have used a tad more cheese - but I'm a cheese fanatic. Tomato soup was one of the best I've had - had an interesting and pleasing texture and weirdly, but pleasantly, tasted faintly of bacon itself.
Prices are very reasonable at both. Kingston Station does get loud after work but so does Silvertone. I've only had wine at KS which they serve in stemless glasses which is different. Silvertone makes a killer, and by killer I mean STRONG, gin and tonic.
Try them all!
In that area I would also suggest Vinalia, while I'm not a fan of their sit down menu, their bar menu (pizzas, calamari, etc.) are great.
Cocktails - Marliave or Silvertone
Atmosphere - really depends. They are all pretty crowded after work, but I find Silvertone claustrophobic and Kingston Station can have kind of a meat market vibe, so I would give a very, very slight edge to Marliave.
Food - this one is also tough. Marliave has those great rarebits, good oysters, and an awesome chowder. Silvertone has some really good salads and I love their tomato soup. I have less experience with Kingston Station food, but my few experiences put it solid, but not outstanding. I guess a slight edge to Marliave, IMO.
I am loving Kingston Station these days. They have a great vibe, excellent cocktails, and the food is good. You have to get the truffle fries there... they are fantastic!
Suze, you picked a great three to compare, I am very positive on all three and would highly rec that you try them all and let us know what you think.
I had been thinking Kingston was particularly underrated here but had my first not-perfect experience there last trip, steak frites was tough and overcooked. Have had sufficient good experiences there to chalk it up as an anomaly.
Kingston and Silvertone are both loud, one needs to like the energy.
Marliave downstairs feels like you have stepped back in time 50 years, worth seeing just for that. Entrees there for me have ranged from good to excellent, sort of like european 'comfort food' if that makes any sense. Silvertone American comfort food, not particularly ambitious menu and always, always quite good.
So we tried Kingston Station on Friday night for dinner, and went to Silvertone for wine later on that night.
Kingston - Yes, the bar area was packed (but I had also stopped iby on a recent Tuesday and it was easy to find a seat). We went straight to a table. Cocktails "B+" for the Pale and Cloudy, nicely done but not enough real ginger taste for me. "A" for the Sazerac, which was yummy. Absinthe is similar to Pastis and went really well with whiskey and bitters, which I would not have forseen but was feeling adventurous.
Speaking of Pastis, the waitress told us that the owner of Kingston Station modeled it after Pastis in NYC, where he used to work as a bus-boy. Bus-boy to owner, good for him!
Food: "A-" The bread was sour dough and the butter was sweet, which I loved.
We thought the truffle fries were great for the first half of the basket, but the cheese globbed together into a tough blob fairly quickly. This happens with all "fries with melted cheese" dishes I have had, though. Also, the truffle flavor disappeared towards the bottom. I know they make it with truffle oil (drizzled on top I am guessing) but a little "toss" on their part would have made it better.
For an entree we had the Coq Au Vin and it was great. The sauce was perfect. The chicken was a little dry, but of course dipping it back in the pot was an easy fix.
Overall, I will be back.
Silvertone - We liked the atmosphere (crowded, but we definitely got a New York sort of vibe and the people there were 'hip'). The wine was a nice price ($22 for an Elk Cove 2006 Pinot, half bottle) and the bar tender was friendly and holding down the fort quite nicely. I'll have to try the food next time.
Next stop, Marliave!
Note on the service at Kingston: I have heard this before, and it's seems to be true that there are issues in this department. Our server only had 4 tables and yet I felt like she was rushed. It took about 10 min for my drink, and I was about to inquire after it, she caught my eye but ignored me and headed to the bar to get it. I figured this was to try and pretend that I didn't have to ask for it, but it felt a little childish. Also we had our bread plates cleared before the entree (we were sharing) by one server, got 2 more from our waitress to facilitate sharing, and then had them almost cleared when the runner brought our dish. We asked him to leave them. None of this spoiled the experience, which was nice, but I do think it's something they need to brush up on a bit.