By Corinna Lothar
Call it Cleveland Park or Cathedral Heights. The Wisconsin Avenue corridor from Macomb Street to Idaho Avenue is now a trendy restaurant row, running from Cafe Deluxe at one end to Starbucks at the other, with a choice of Indian, Mexican, French, Asian, Spanish, and American cuisine in between.
Silver, a grown-up version of the Silver Diner, is one of the newcomers, described by Chef Ype Von Hengst, who prides himself on locally sourced products, as modeled after La Coupole in Paris. But Silver shares little in common with the famed Parisian brasserie. Nevertheless, Silver is an informal, attractive, large space with booths and tables, an informed staff, and a menu of well-prepared dishes. It is also a good place to come with children.
My favorite starter is the avocado toast, a mixture of avocado, queso fresco, cilantro, and pomegranate seeds on lightly toasted sour dough bread, topped with a slice of radish. It’s a delicious mix of flavors and appropriate for sharing. (Eggs are extra.) Another sometimes favorite is crispy Brussels sprouts. At a meal a few weeks ago, the sprouts were crispy and hot, mixed with dried cranberries, apricot slivers, and pecans, dusted with cinnamon and served with house-made ranch dressing. At a recent dinner, however, the sprouts arrived at room temperature and on the soggy side. They were merely adequate, lacking the piquant quality of the earlier version.
Main courses include hefty salads, such as a chicken avocado Cobb and an Ahi tuna poke with quinoa, radishes, and cucumber. Warm entrees include chicken pot pie, short ribs, crab cakes, hanger steak with fries, and several main courses containing fewer than 600 calories. Among the latter is a lemon chicken piccata and a dish of oven-roasted tomatoes over quinoa, leeks, and butternut squash. Both dishes are very good and the additional calories are not missed. The chicken was tender and its garlic-lemon sauce is enhanced with capers for a brisk touch; the dish is served with garlicky spinach and a mild cauliflower mash. The roasted tomatoes on the quinoa are buttery and tasty. They add a richness to the other ingredients of the dish.
Silver prepares a fine hamburger and serves brunch—huevos rancheros, short rib hash, French toast, and smoked salmon omelet—all day. The breakfast and weekend brunch menus are more extensive.
Desserts include a superb goat cheese cheesecake and a pleasant butterscotch pudding topped with whipped cream and Heath bar crunch. The apple beignets are heavy and doughy.
Silver offers fresh juices, house-made sodas, and milk shakes, including low-fat and spiked shakes. The restaurant has a limited but well-chosen American wine list, and a selection of local craft beers.
Silver: 3404 Wisconsin Avenue NW, (202) 851-3199
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 7 am to midnight; Friday and Saturday, 7 am to 1 am; weekend brunch 7 am to 4 pm
Prices: Starters $7 to $11; entrees $13 to $27; desserts: $7 to $10
Parking: 2 hours validated free parking in the Giant lot