As the sister restaurant to Silver Diner, Silver New American Brasserie in Bethesda MD keeps some classic diner touches while taking the food upscale.
Two weeks ago, Oklahoma State had a bye week, and Maryland had a home football game. Couple that with my birthday, and it was the perfect excuse for a weekend back home. I love going to Maryland home games. I get to be 100% fan, tailgate all day, and catch up with friends.
Friday evening I met Emily in Bethesda for happy hour. Emily and I have been friends since we worked together in the football office at Maryland. I’ve lost count of all our funtivities together, and it’s definitely a good thing there was no social media back then!
Bethesda is a high-end area of Maryland, about 20 minutes from my parents’ house. Downtown Bethesda is home to dozens of hotels, shops, bars and restaurants. I never really spent much time in Bethesda until after college; and then, once we became friends with the owners of Caddie’s (a great local sports bar), it became one of our hot spots.
Emily threw out several recommendations of restaurants with great happy hours. After a little research, I chose Silver New American Brasserie. It is on the south end of Bethesda, an area I am unfamiliar with. As a matter of fact, I thought my GPS was wrong when it sent me in the opposite direction of where I assumed I was going.
Silver has a great location in Bethesda Row, a shopping and dining district. Parking is at a super premium in Bethesda, so I was very happy to see a large parking garage next door. Silver has a patio out front, with seating for about 30, and on this night there was a 2-piece band playing. There were a few tall heaters because of the chill in the air, but of course the tables close to the heaters were full.
As I entered, I noticed that some of the lighting and decor is diner-esq. I later learned that Silver is the upscale sister restaurant to Silver Diner, a true 1950’s style diner, with locations in Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey. I’ve eaten at the location near to U of Maryland several times.
Silver is long and relatively narrow inside, similar to a diner. Seating in the dining room is a combination of booths and 4-top tables, and the floor is subway tile. The bar is at the rear of the restaurant, and connects to an open kitchen at the very back. I really like the combination of old-school diner with new-school upscale. There are a lot of diner touches, and that decor works really well with the modern feel.
I arrived first, and waited for Emily before we sat down. The main dining room was full, but we were only there for happy hour. We considered booths in the bar area, but they are not self-seat; so we found 2 open seats at the bar.
Silver is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night. They also have menus for kids, cocktails, and happy hour. Silver opens at 7am- daily, and is open until 2am Friday and Saturday, and midnight the other days. Silver does take a limited number of reservations on weekdays; they also offer call-ahead service, and guests receive an estimated available time.
The Silver menus are large, with a combination of diner-style favorites and traditional restaurant options. Silver sources much of their food from local farmers and purveyors, a practice I really love.
Silver has a $5 Happy Hour, valid on weekdays from 4-7pm in the bar and on the patio, and 10pm-close throughout the restaurant. The specials include a surprisingly wide variety of beverages, and 8 food options.
With the help of our server, we chose goat cheese bruschetta, chimichurri chicken wings, and buffalo bacon bleu cheese fries
The bruschetta was our clear favorite. The tomatoes are sweet and plump, and burst in your mouth. Balsamic vinegar works so well with tomatoes, and the sunflower seeds add a very nice crunch. The cheese was really delicious. I believe it’s ricotta, and it is extremely fresh. I love the deconstructed presentation, allowing you garnish as you want.
The fries were only lukewarm, which was very disappointing. I considered asking for a new order, but our food was already slow to arrive. On the other hand, the fries were delicious, and a very generous portion. The seasoning adds a significant kick, but the ranch tones down the heat. I didn’t let the lukewarm temperature prevent me from continuously eating them.
The wings were good but, like the fries, not very hot. The chimichurri sauce is mild and very flavorful.
Earlier in the evening Richard, one of the managers, walked by us with a tray of desserts. I joked with him that I would take them off his hands. While we ate, he came over to the bar, and we struck up conversation. Emily mentioned my food blog to Richard, and the conversation turned to that. I REALLY need to get business cards, as I didn’t have anything to give him. Sure, I wrote my information on one of his cards, but that just doesn’t cut it.
Richard gave us a complimentary pistachio mousse and chocolate brownie, the same dessert I had seen earlier.
This dessert was fabulous. The mousse is very light, and almost melts in your mouth. It has a very nice pistachio flavor without being overwhelming. The candied pistachios and raspberries add light sweetness, and I love the crunch of the pistachio. The brownie is rich, and is a great contrast in texture to the fluffy mousse.
While we ate, a couple sat at the bar next to us, and about 15 minutes later I smelled a heavenly scent next to me. The gentleman next to me had ordered french toast, and he raved about it.
I am usually not a fan of sitting at the bar, unless it’s just for drinks. Service at the bar often slips when the restaurant is crowded. The bar staff has to take care of you, plus make drinks for the whole restaurant. I feel like that happened during our visit. When we first sat down, the bartender appeared almost immediately. However, as it got more crowded, we saw less and less of either bartender. I’m also wondering if our food sat in the kitchen for too long.
Will I go back to Silver? No question. I want to sit at a table, and get the full service experience. Our food was very good, even though it wasn’t as hot as it should be.
For reviews of more restaurants in Maryland, click on the photos below!