Dazzling. That’s the word to describe Park City’s newest big-budget eatery: just dazzling. Lisa Barlow—co-owner, along with Mary Lisenbee—knows a thing or two about design and décor. You need look no further than the stylized look and packaging of her Vida Tequila to see that she’s got a great eye for design.
Silver is one of the most beautiful restaurants I’ve ever set foot in, including some of the best that New York City, Paris, Las Vegas and Los Angeles have to offer. Designed in collaboration with New York-based Rockwell Group, the restaurant consists of three levels of private and public dining rooms and lounges that are simply eye-popping. Even the elevator will blow your mind.
Barlow likes blue, so Silver is outfitted in various shades of blue, along with subtle purples and golds, earth tones, original bricks from the historic 1926 building and some of the most creative lighting design I’ve seen. I was told that the ceiling lamps in the main dining room cost about $500 apiece. Fireplaces seem to be suspended in midair. Even the chairs are dramatic: Is that real alligator? No expense was spared in creating Silver, the name of which is an homage to Park City’s silver-mining legacy, with silver veins streaking through the interior and exterior walls of the restaurant.
So, the place looks fantastic. But it got off to a bumpy start, when, just weeks after opening during the Sundance Film Festival, chef/owner Mark Todd Miller—who’d returned to Utah from New York City to open Silver—had a falling out with his restaurant partners and split. Frankly, I wasn’t too disappointed, since the Miller menu at Silver looked to me like a carbon copy of STK in New York City, where he served as executive chef. The cuisine is much more interesting now, looking less like a steakhouse and more like a showcase for contemporary American cuisine.
Some of it works, and some doesn’t. How could you go wrong, for example, with an appetizer of foie gras French toast ($17)? It’s a generous portion of seared foie gras on almond brioche with Granny Smith apple and sherry syrup. Mussels ($12) steamed in India Pale Ale with leeks and heirloom tomatoes are simple, but satisfying. Less so is the beef carpaccio ($15).
See-through thin slices of Australian Wagyu beef are served with fried, crispy mushroom pieces and pickled sunchokes, which tasted great. However, the carpaccio was buried in an overwhelming dressing that tasted so strongly of anise that I couldn't even tell I was eating beef; it could have been tuna, or kangaroo. Sometimes less is more. When I order carpaccio or tartare preparations, I really hope to taste the main ingredient, not sauces and accoutrements.
Casey Bulkley runs the show at Silver—and, as was the case when he managed Donovan’s Steakhouse, his service team is impeccable, from servers like Grant and the sommelier, Victor, to bussers and bar backs like Sam. It’s a top-notch team that provides first-class table service. Our busser made sure we had a constant supply of Silver’s primo Parker House rolls, baked in-house and drizzled in melted butter, with chive oil for dipping alongside. I ate more than my fair share of those rad rolls.
And the wine list is fun, too, and about to get even better. There’s plenty of breadth already, and wines to fit every budget, but things are going to get more interesting with Silver’s acquisition of some private collections, which include nearly impossible-to-obtain Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon and Harlan Estate Bordeaux-style blends. An intriguing glass of Simcic Pinot Gris ($14) paired beautifully with a large lump crab salad ($14), brimming with Dungeness crab meat and dressed with fresh lime and a ginger vinaigrette, accompanied by green melon balls. This dish was plenty for two to share. A single, quinoa-stuffed quail with grilled baby bok choy ($14) was another very pleasing dish.
Although I do love the look, feel and service of Silver, including the uber-swanky bar, it is a hip and happening place—which tends to translate as “noisy.” A deejay is on duty most of the time, so there’s no escaping pounding music for someone in search of an intimate dining experience. However, for many people, the high-energy buzz and bustle are all the more reason to visit Silver. Just be forewarned.
I enjoyed the grilled local red trout ($25) much more than my wife, who felt it was sauced a bit too heavily with ponzu brown butter; shiitake shrooms and braised scallions rounded out the dish. A slam-dunk—easily my favorite menu item—was tender, juicy, slow-roasted boneless beef short ribs ($28), which melt in the mouth and come with smoked parsnips, cippolini onions and celeriac. This is comfort food with a contemporary spin. A side order of deliciously creamy macaroni & cheese ($8) complemented the short ribs beautifully. Other side-dish options include Parmesan-truffle fries, roasted Brussels sprouts (yum), haricots verts and sweet corn pudding. Oh, and for serious meat lovers, there is also a big, 20-ounce dry-aged rib eye on the menu, priced at $48. I wasn’t feeling carnivorous enough to tackle that steak, but I certainly will upon a return to the restaurant.
The desserts are excellent, especially a modernist twist on bananas Foster. So, I suggest ordering an after-dinner glass of Sauternes or Tokay to sip and enjoying Silver’s contemporary take on classic s’mores, or even just homemade sorbet or ice cream—the pistachio is exceptional. Another good option is the fruit and cheese plate, with crackers and olives to nibble, featuring locally sourced cheeses.
If you’ve grown weary of Park City restaurants with ski-lodge ambiance and Ralph Lauren furnishings, sleek and contemporary Silver restaurant offers a gorgeous and dynamic alternative from the ordinary. Bring a camera.
508 Main St.