There are a lot of new restaurants opening up in Nashville right now. So many, that it’s getting hard to keep up! But I did get a really nice preview last night of Silo, thanks to my friend, Beth (she’s a graphic designer) and her friend, Rose, a manager at Silo who invited us (er, Beth +1) to the soft opening.
I have a lot to tell you about Silo, but I’m gonna start with the drinks (as should you, if drinkin’ is your thing). There’s a nice selection of wines and specialty cocktails, all of which are impressive. Apparently, many of the cocktails are named from the list of rejected names for the restaurant. Ha! I started with the French Lick, a refreshing gin drink and followed up with another gin drink, the Esquire. Both are fantastic, but be sure to ask for the Esquire “weak” if you’re planning to drive home (I did both!). Beer wasn’t being served last night, but several local regional beers will be available soon, including Fat Bottom out of East Nashville, Yazoo, Jackalope, and Calfkiller.
Okay, enough of that. Let’s talk about food. The menu is small, but very well-crafted. I don’t mind a small menu when I actually have several options.
For the first course, all but charcuterie can be ordered vegetarian and several are vegan (or veganable). It was tough to decide, but I opted for the field pea salad, which included (I think)
crowder purple hull? peas with a lemon vinaigrette and mixed with fresh parsley and thinly-sliced radish and sweet onion. The flavors were incredibly bright and refreshing. One note, though: these aren’t your grandma’s peas; they are cooked al dente, not mushy. So “chew wisely,” if you know what I mean. Oh, you don’t? Chew thoroughly to avoid being gassy later. A valuable vegetarian tip.
Beth ordered the deviled eggs, two of which were vegetarian and kindly shared with me. I have never met a deviled egg I did not like, but these eggs were definitely among the best I’ve had. I’m not sure what was in the mix, but it was lighter and a little creamier than what I’m used to. And fantastic.
For the second course, there’s only one “official” veg*n entree, the market vegetable succotash with oyster mushrooms and farro salad. I’m certain that if that doesn’t appeal to you, the kitchen could come up with a plate of sides, though. But you should order the succotash. It is outstanding. Love the farro salad, which I—inexplicably—never make at home. And the oyster mushrooms (my second favorite behind maitake/hen of the woods) were perfectly roasted. I cleaned my plate.
I also got a side order of “buttermilk cheddar mac” that was decadent and delicious. Tip: each table has a bottle of housemade spicy vinegar (for greens) and housemade hot sauce. This hot sauce is a great addition to the cheddar mac. It’s got some heat, so start slowly.
Beth ordered the shrimp and grits (she gave it a hearty thumbs up) and the fried green tomatoes as her side. They come with a unique buttermilk herb sauce that was a perfect complement. If you like fried green tomatoes, don’t skip these.
And either wear your stretchy pants or don’t be shy about asking for a to-go box, because the desserts are fantastic, too. We ordered and shared (okay, I admit I ate almost all of both) a roasted pear clafoutis and a lemon tart. The clafoutis was really good, but I love a good lemon tart. It had the perfect lemon flavor. It was a great way to end the meal.
Okay, now for some important details: location, ambiance, dress code, seating, price, and service.
Silo is located on the opposite corner from Germantown Café at 1121 Fifth Avenue North. Parking can bet tight around there, but there’s a complimentarly valet right out front. Fifth is busy, but cars move slowly, so when the weather is nice, Silo’s patio will likely be a great place to hang out for a bit.
The interior is beautiful, though. It is lined with cedar planks (but it doesn’t smell like your grandma’s closet) and there are a couple of “basket” design elements that are a reminder that the food is largely sourced from local farms. Below the basket is a room that can be reserved for private dining/special events (not shown: the doors that can make it private).
There’s also a large farm table that’s appropriate for large parties (I believe it will seat 12-16 people) but will also be seated for “community dining.” So, if you’ve got plans for an intimate dinner, you may want to kindly request that you not be seated at the community table in your reservations.
Reservations? Yes, you’re going to want them if you want to eat there any time soon. The restaurant has been buzzing for days but not officially open until tomorrow, Thursday, August 16th, and they have been turning away lots of hungry diners wanting to check it out. It is not a huge restaurant, either. Not small, but no Olive Garden, y’know. Silo opens at 5pm (the bar opens at 4pm) every evening and serves brunch on Sundays (no weekday/Saturday lunch service).
Speaking of, there’s no official dress code, but Beth and I wore our favorite casual dresses and most people were dressed in business casual and on up. It’s not stuffy at all, though. But it is great for a date. Special attention was given to the acoustics (carefully-selected foam tiles line the ceiling) so that there’s a pleasant din of noise such that you can have a private conversation (ie, swearin’ and cursin’) at a normal volume level and not be concerned about the table next to you hearing anything. Nor do you have to worry about having to hear them. The noise seems to just rise and be absorbed above your head. Beth noted that the lighting was a bit bright, but as a food blogger, I appreciate that. Ha!
As for price, the range on Open Table is exactly what I had calculated in my head; you can expect to spend about $30-50 per person. One alcoholic beverage, one of each course and one side will come to about $50, but you can certainly squeeze out of there for less and still be quite satisfied (and not have leftovers as I did).
Lastly, there’s the staff. Impeccable and clearly experienced. Every question was answered with confidence (menu and bar list) and everyone was attentive without being overbearing. It was easy to forget it was a soft opening; everything from my perspective ran smoothly, without a hitch. We had a great time. And I’ve already made a reservation for my next visit!