It was a late Sunday morning and I’d just completed a three mile run. Before my workout, I only ate a small granola bar, and was in dire need of something to refuel me.
The day before, I made some changes to Silver Diner’s menu on Expressgrub.com, and felt my mouth salivating while reading the descriptions of their new menu items. Without further thought, I knew where I wanted to go for lunch.
The renovated diner was just beginning to fill up when I was seated at a booth by the window. There were vintage jukeboxes at each table, allowing diners to chose from old-school hit records by Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and more. Such a cool atmosphere.
It took me a split second to look over the menu before ordering the local kale and bleu cheese salad as my appetizer. For my entree, I wanted something I’ve been dying to try. I took a plunge and ordered the bison burger. Certain cuts are said to have less fat, calories and cholesterol than beef, chicken and turkey, so, why not? For dessert, it was a juggle between Silver Diner’s famous milkshakes or a new local goat cheese cheesecake they were offering. Being a little health conscious (if that’s even possible with dessert), I went for the cheesecake. That way, I could eat a small portion of it and box the rest up. If I would have gotten the milkshake, it would have been finished in minutes, defeating the purpose of my morning run.
When the salad came out, I took a second to admire its beauty. The forest green kale, bright green apples, deep red cranberries, earthy farro and shreds of perfectly orange carrots made this one photogenic dish. I liked its size as well. It wasn’t big enough to stuff you, but it was a perfect before-the-meal snack. The entire thing glistened with moisture from the citrus champagne that I could smell permeating the veggies. Thankfully, it tasted even better than it looked.
The sweet and tangy champagne was the perfect way to dress the bitter, crunchy greens. There was so much bleu cheese in the salad, that I tasted its salty pungency in every bite. I love bleu cheese, but towards the end of the salad, I found myself purposely picking out the cranberries to get more sweet and less salt. The grainy farro provided more of a filling factor, though it remained a light dish. Solid way to begin a meal.
I was so excited to try my bison burger. If I watched Andrew Zimmern eat another piece of bison that I’ve yet to try, I was going to disown myself as a so-called foodie. I decided to have it prepared medium-well with the basic burger toppings; lettuce, tomatoes, raw onions, pickles, mayo and ketchup. I wanted to really taste the meat without interruption from any tyrannical flavors.
When it came to the table, my bison looked like a regular burger, and smelled like one, but would it taste like it? It absolutely did! I was amazed at how similar tasting it was to a beef patty. I was willing to bet money that it would taste unbearably gamey. So, I was ecstatic that my hypothesis was disproved.
Since I ordered it medium-well, it had a nicely charred outside and a juicy center. It was painfully under-salted, though. I asked the waiter for some honey mustard, not just because I’m a honey mustard connoisseur, but because the tangy sauce would help add a little more flavor, without having to pick up the salt shaker. All the toppings and condiments masked the lack of sodium in the meat. Overall, I did enjoy my burger and would definitely order it again, perhaps with fancier toppings.
I finished half of the burger and was prepared for the denouement. The goat cheese cheesecake looked fantastic, with the indigo compote oozing down the sides. Like the salad, it was the perfect size, so I wouldn’t feel guilty about eating it.
The goat cheese gave its characteristically sharp and smooth taste. I loved that it wasn’t packed with pounds of sugar. It was more than enough sweetness to curb a craving, but not to send you bouncing off the walls. I do wish there was a bit more moisture, as it was a little overcooked. For this reason, the edges were a little hard, but the crust at the bottom was to die for. It tasted like a traditional graham cracker crust and I found myself moving the cake over just to get to it. Unlike a traditional cheesecake, the texture was far more crumbly than firm, which was to be expected. Maybe they should deconstruct it, and have pieces of that amazing crust with fresh tart blueberries, making it a goat cheese cheesecake crumble instead (This was my idea!).
There were a few technicalities in my lunch from Silver Diner, but I really did enjoy it. I appreciated the flavors, freshness and imagination. I will certainly be back to try more of their salads and to finally get one of those luscious milkshakes.