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October 15, 2007 / Tony

Dinner at Silver Spoon

I had dinner at the Silver Spoon Restaurant on Saturday night.  It is tucked into a larger building that itself is tucked away in a rather obscure place in town for a restaurant.  Inside, however, the restaurant proves itself to be spacious, welcoming, and home-like in a French provincial sort of way.  It is tastefully decorated with rich warm earth tones.  But what is most impressive about the interior is the style of the tables.  This restaurant spared no expense when choosing their furnishing.  The tables were large, heavy pieces that were stained darkly and would be welcome in any fine house.  Furthermore, the tables were spread apart from each other to a greater degree than I’ve ever seen in a restaurant and the tables were set so their guests were comfortably sat as far as elbow room goes.  The table we sat at was set for four but at another restaurant it would have served for 6 or even maybe 8.  Needless to say, the Silver Spoon is a very comfortable and relaxing place to dine. 

The service was just as comforting as the decoration.  Our server was knowledgeable, prompt, and personable.  When prompted, she had a good deal of fascinating information about the owners.  The husband and wife team are from the Czech Republic and have settled in this area because they have family in Pelican Rapids.  The husband was a chef of some repute in the Czech Republic and was the equivalent of an executive chef at a nice hotel. 

But what about the food?  The best adjective I can think of is surprising.  Nothing on the menu or in the salad bar (about which more later), tasted anything like I thought it would taste.  There was always some flavor hidden in the food that was totally unexpected from the description in the menu.  Take for example the mushroom double baked potato that came as a side dish to my entree.  Of course, it was a baked potato that had had its flesh scooped out and mixed with a mushroom mixture.  All of that would have been fine and good but the chef decided to add one more thing to the mixture: caraway seed.  Now let me be clear that I like caraway seed.  But I do not like it with potatoes.  To my mind, the flavor is far too strong to pair with a bland ingredient like potatoes.  Indeed, the caraway seeds absolutely overpowered the other flavors. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  The menu is large and quite varied.  It had sandwiches, steaks, fish, pasta, poultry, and pork dishes on the menu as well as a number of appetizers and salads.  But it would take a monstrously prodigious eater to dare an appetizer when, with each entree ordered, a diner is allowed to partake of the salad bar.  The salad bar consists of about 10 composed salads.  All but two of them were pasta salads and of those, half were mayonnaise based.  These pasta salads had everything from pork to chicken to raw salmon.  The lighter ones like the fusilli pasta with olive oil, chicken, and roasted vegetables were very good but most of the mayonnaise based salads were less than stellar.  (Disclaimer, I generally don’t like mayonnaise based pasta salads anyway.)  The worst was probably the salad with the raw salmon.  The mayo did not pair well with the fish and there was some other unidentifiable flavor (again, a surprise) that did not do the dish credit.  My favorite salad was a pork and pepperoncini salad served in what was basically a pork au jus.  It was deeply flavored with a nice touch of heat.  The final salad was a very mustardy potato salad that was tasty as well.  Here’s a picture of my salad plate:

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The entrees, on the whole, were much better than the salad bar.  My dinner companions had a turkey dish and halibut over pasta in a cream-based sauce.  The halibut was very good.  It was about a 10 oz. piece of fish that came out wonderfully flaky and tender.  It was a very good value for the price tag of about $20.  I ordered the Dijon Turkey Breast.  This dish was grilled turkey breasts served with a dijon piccata sauce (basically lemon and butter) and capers.  The sauce was very, very good; a nice sophisticated take on your average piccata but the turkey was just a little off.  While well-seasoned, the grilling of the turkey made it just a little bit tough and produced some smoky flavors that weren’t perfectly matched with the delicate nature of the sauce.  The turkey came with some very nice sauteed vegetables, which were probably the best part of the meal, and (surprise, surprise) a salad of baby greens.  I can’t say the dishes didn’t work but I can say that I would have never guessed what came out on my plate from the menu.  It made for an exciting dinner.  The next two pictures are of the entrees (notice the huge serving sizes):

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Finally, we had dessert and it was just as surprising as the rest of the meal.  The name escapes me but it was a concoction of ice cream, egg nog, peaches, and (get this) peanut butter cups.  It was a combination that I never would have put together in a million years.  It worked but it was simply so strange that it was sort of hard to enjoy. 

Dining at Silver Spoon is an adventure and I am happy to have eaten there.  It was quite possibly the most unique dining experience I have ever had.  Everything there defied belief in some respect and for the most part, that was a good thing. 

Silver Spoon can be found at 505 40th St. S, Fargo, ND.  Their phone number is (701) 277-3504.  Reservations are recommended for Friday and Saturday nights. 

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5 Comments

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  1. Cheryl Knapp- Fargo / Oct 26 2007 10:04 pm

    To readers,
    Please remember that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and we should respect that. However, I disagree with some of the authors’ comments. My husband and I have eaten there many times. First, please get out of your American “chain restaurant” mind set and open yourself to something new and different. The salad bar is one of our favorite parts of the dining experience there. They always have a wonderful selection of salads and (thank God) do not have any of the “lettuces” up there. They have a great mix of pasta salads AND non- pasta salads. Great flavors from sweet to spicy and everything in between. One time, when we were there I had a smoked chicken breast salad with sauteed veggies- served cold, and it was fabulous!! There are lots of salads there without mayo and if you listen carefully when they take you through the salad bar, many of the dressings are based on plain yogurt. Second, when the author described his entree, he/ she said it came with “surprise, surprise a salad of baby greens”. That is a garnish- Ha! Lastly, I must comment on your dessert. The name that escapes you is “Sunday Orinkoko”. (I called and asked because I couldn’t remember either.) We’ve had it and it’s wonderful!! The egg nog is actually an egg liquor that the chef makes. Our waitress told us this the first time we had it. The combination is not so strange, it was delicious! I don’t know how many fine dining restaurants the author has actually dined at but we’ve been to several. I believe this is world class cuisine.
    Respectfully
    Cheryl Knapp

  2. Tony / Oct 26 2007 11:57 pm

    Cheryl,

    I want to thank you for taking the time for writing an extensive and detailed rejoinder to my review of Silver Spoon. I was initially a little skeptical of the review I wrote because I was worried it was too negative. Perhaps your comment is proof of that. But, after another perusal of the review, I really don’t disagree with anything I said. It may well be that the salads in the salad bar were much better than the ones I experienced and that those salads may have been yogurt-based. It may be that your entrees were among the better on the menu. I am glad that you enjoy your dining experience at Silver Spoon-I try to be as supportive as I can of restaurants just like Silver Spoon.

    There are a few points in your comment, however, that I must take issue with. First, if I understand you correctly, you seem to think I come from an American chain restaurant mindset. That may be true as I have worked as three of such chains. But I hope the rest of my blog is some testament to my love of well-prepared and well-presented food. If you would read my review of Bennigan’s, I think you would see that I am not into cookie-cutter restaurants at all. Second, you poke fun at my “misinterpretation” of the salad on the dinner plate. Perhaps you’re right but to me, a salad still seems to be an odd garnish, especially when dressed. Finally, you question how many “fine dining” restaurants I have been to. I can’t imagine how many the commenter has been at but I can say that I’ve eaten at a number of fine dining establishments and have almost uniformly enoyed them. But even if I haven’t, I hope that the commenter isn’t suggesting that the lack of “fine dining” experiences would disqualify me from having a valid opinion about the Silver Spoon. For that would imply that one must be “sophisticated” enough to appreciate the food there. I hope my review was not based upon lack of understanding but upon a solid understanding of what constitutes a good dish. If I am lacking in this regard, I give my sincere apologies to any reader of this blog.

    Again, I am exceptionally happy that the commenter likes Silver Spoon. I wish there were 100 more alike restaurants in the Fargo-Moorhead area. It may be that we had simply different experiences there-something that is wont to happen at restaurants. I admit to only being there once. But I hope that is the cause of our slight disagreement about the Silver Spoon and not any lack of understanding on my part.

    Thank you again Cheryl for the thoughtful and insightful comment. Here’s to many more great meals at Silver Spoon.

  3. Laura S. / Dec 26 2007 4:43 pm

    Just a quick comment–baby salad greens (often tossed in a vinaigrette) are a very common garnish for an entree in European restaurants. Therefore, I assume that this is simply a tradition the chef has carried to the United States. So, really it’s not so odd at all–just different from the typical American-style garnishes.

  4. Tony / Dec 26 2007 4:59 pm

    Well, thanks for the responses. It’s satisfying to have learned something new. I have been to Europe and travelled through parts of Austria and Germany. I don’t recall seeing salad greens as a garnish but I was a college student at the time and concentrated more on the liquid part of the trip, I suppose.

  5. o_O / Feb 3 2011 9:46 am

    seriously disappointed in the plating. (based on above pictures) O_o

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