The Curmudgeon recently had the occasion to visit Silo, a newish restaurant of “elevated southern” cuisine in the Germantown district. It’s an interesting place.
And by interesting, I mean infested with hipsters.
Oh sure, the décor is interesting in a kitschy southern way, with a giant faux-wicker bar header, unfinished cedar walls, and tin light fixtures that were taken up to a farm in Kentucky and shot full of bullet holes1. But the flannel-and-tight-jean clad wait staff with sallow-chested flimsy-bearded men and women with tiny hair felt far too metropolitan and gave it far more of a pretentious coffee house vibe as opposed to a down-home feel.
This is the South, people. Big hair is de rigueur.
Of course, The Curmudgeon cares less about the plaid-clad Decemberists fans on the wait staff and more about the food. Granted, it would be nice if the aforementioned hipsters would actually learn what ryes are carried by their bar. It should not take eight minutes to obtain enough information to order a proper Manhattan.
Silo seems to pride itself on a decent charcuterie selection, so the duck liver pâté was on order, as well as Silo’s apparently incredible deviled eggs. Well, incredible deviled egg would be more accurate, as only one of them really was amazing (it involved celery seed of some sort). The other two were perhaps varying degrees of good but not what The Curmudgeon would consider incredible, really.
The pâté was more than serviceable and came as a very generous portion. Standards like olives, honey, and nuts accompanied the plate, as well as the traditional crusty bread on which to slather the frappe’d innards of this poor animal2.
The bread, an unsung hero of the charcuterie plate, actively offended The Curmudgeon. Dry to the point of being stale, completely flavorless, and committing the unforgivable sin of having too open a crumb3 and being sliced too thin to hold anything.
Hopefully The Curmudgeon’s faithful readers are all intelligent to put together why a combination of giant holes and very thin slices is a losing combination for bread that has to carry a load of pâté from plate to mouth, yes? Good. The Curmudgeon will not belabor this point further.
The main course consisted of chicken-fried rabbit and the Silo’s take on the traditional hamburger. The burger, which included local beef and bacon (Benton’s, natch), was well-cooked and quite delicious. Mrs. Curmudgeon rated it one of her top three burgers in town, and this curmudgeon would be hard-pressed to disagree. The horseradish aioli, in particular, added a nice bright note to what is otherwise a traditionally heavy food.
The chicken-fried rabbit was a voyage of highs and lows. The breading, spices, cooking oil, what have you, combined to form the single best tender-style breading that The Curmudgeon has ever had the privilege to taste. Spicy, light yet crunchy, and bursting with crusty goodness. Silo could serve a deep-fried shoe and if it was encased in this stuff, it might be their best-seller. The rabbit it so lovingly enveloped, however, lacked any sort of flavor and was, frankly, overcooked. KFC does this better!
The accoutrements fared similarly. The homemade tiny biscuits (so cute!) that contained a dollop of homemade hot sauce were incredible in ways that the two other deviled eggs were not. The bed of garlic mashed potatoes4, on the other hand, were on the gummy side and provided no interesting or unexplored facet to consider. Sure, sometimes a potato is just a potato, but at this price The Curmudgeon expects standard items to be executed perfectly, not “I’ve made this better at home.”
Dessert looked appetizing at this point but the atmosphere was reaching dangerous levels of hipster-gen, and was therefore abandoned in an expedient fashion. Well, relatively expedient; apparently espying a credit card is not a thing at which hipsters excel. Too much bartering and too little actual money usage, perhaps.
All in all it was a good experience, and The Curmudgeon will probably return at some point, but with the hopes that some kinks will have been ironed out in the meantime. Mostly in the wait staff. Busing them in from Tullahoma5 or somewhere similar would probably be a good start.