The Silo

Categories: All American, Eat-in, Fancy
Comments: No Comments
Published on: August 14, 2010

A friend of mine has retreated from the hectic pace of Manhattan to the more bucolic surroundings of Chenango county.  To celebrate his birthday, the wife and I went to visit at his place on a private lake (not as fancy as it sounds).  I’ve reviewed a number of places in the area, but this time we were looking for something a little more upscale.  We made a reservation for the Silo Restaurant, which is technically in Greene, but actually closer to the hamlet of Coventry.

There was a wedding going on there that day.  And no, I don’t mean just “wedding reception.”   We were offered an 8 PM spot in the upstairs dining area because the wedding party was using the larger downstairs area, and we jumped at it.  This time of year, the sun is already setting earlier, so we were treated to a sweeping view of the grounds and the surrounding area for less time than I would have liked.  Right outside, next to a small fountain, the chairs and pavilion for the wedding ceremony were still set up.  We’ve walked the grounds previously, but I never thought of having a ceremony there.  Apparently it’s a regular thing for them.

There were two parties already seated upstairs, but they left within a few minutes of us sitting down.  I guess we can really clear out a room!  That left us alone with Andrew, our waiter, and the view.

Andrew was a delight – at least, we thought so.  His humor is dry and sarcastic, much like mine.  I can see, however, how other guests might be put off by his deadpan delivery and slyly sarcastic observations.  He was dressed, like the rest of the staff – male and female alike – in black vest and pants and white shirt.  We were definitely underdressed for the place in shorts and sneakers.  Most of the rest of the patrons wore what might best be described as “business casual.”  On Saturday nights, especially after 8 PM, the crowd tends to be older, more inclined to think of visiting the Silo as a dining experience.

While the others declined apps, I started with a crock of the French onion soup.  As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m a sucker for good French onion.  While this was just a tad salty, the smoky taste of the cheese made up for it.  There was a distinct tastes of vermouth (I think) – something lightly sweet, but not like port.  The onions were cooked, but not mush.  Don’t drive out to the sticks just for the soup – but if you’re there, you’ll probably enjoy it.

The salad bar was down stairs in the main area.  While I thought the number of offerings was rather large (around 20 plus dressing and toppings), I also thought they were uninspired.  The greens were a mixture of lettuce and spring greens, and there were add-ons like broccoli florettes, sliced cheese and diced beets.  Solid middle-of-the-road salad fare.  I would have liked to have seen something a little more “exotic” – edamame, anyone? – or at least touted as locally/organically grown.

We each had different entrees.  The wife had “Surf and Surf” – large freshwater shrimp in the shell, butterflied and grilled, along with a small (rock?) lobster tail.   She found the shrimp cooked perfectly, and better tasting than the lobster.  I tried a bite of the lobster (she smacked my hand when I reached for the shrimp) and found it. . . okay.  I suppose that’s the most damning thing I can say.  It certainly wasn’t rubbery and briney, like they can sometimes get.  But it lacked the smooth mouthfeel and sweeter taste that I enjoy in a good Maine lobstah.

Our friend had the chicken marsala, and pronounced it excellent.  He ordered it without mushrooms, and that’s just the way it came.   The chicken was apparently tender (he was sitting at the other end of a 4 person window table) and the marsala was tasty without being overpowering.

I opted for something a bit off the beaten track – ostrich saltimbocca.  The prosciutto  was a tad salty in spots, but the rest was very good.  Ostrich is a very lean meat.  I’ve heard people describe it as tasting like duck or lamb.  My portion was cut into strips and served as the bed to the rest of the entree.  The flesh was firm, but not tough.  A couple of the edges were a bit dried out, but rather than being tough or crispy, they were just slightly firmer than the middle.  I would describe the portion I had as having a taste resembling duck, but lighter.  I didn’t find it “lamb-y” at all.  And no, it doesn’t taste like chicken.

The sauce was mostly marsala wine, but it didn’t overpower the rest of the tastes.  The mushroom slices didn’t really add much, but I probably would have missed them if they were left out.

Each of us opted for a baked potato as our starch.  We received a large bowl of mixed beans (I saw green and wax), but I never got any.  Frankly, I didn’t miss them either.  I know, I know – I skipped my greens!  I’ll have some next time, I promise.  My wife had water with lemon,and my friend and I each had a Diet Coke.  We declined coffee and dessert.

The bill was somewhat less than I expected – apparently my friend’s marsala was $10 less than either of our dishes.  The bill came to $85 and change after tax, and before tip.  Andrew was attentive and professional throughout, only stopping to talk when we asked him direct questions.  (He’s been there 7 years, he told us.  An old hand.)  We tipped him just over 20%.


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