The Germantown neighborhood of Nashville has much to be proud of lately, especially when it comes to locally owned restaurants.
Silo has been on my go to list for a while. Silo is a farm to table eatery self described as elevated Southern cuisine. Southern inspired restaurants are all the rage here in Nashville which used to bother me because I didn’t want to eat the same menu in every locally owned restaurant. That has been put to rest, as Silo has etched out it’s own Southern charm and personal style, starting with handsome decor, good cocktails, and ending with beautifully plated, chef driven cuisine, just fussy enough to please the foodie in me, yet simple enough to be a place for nightly supper.
The decor is surprisingly smart and comfortable. As soon as I walked in the door, I noticed the creative and artistic intention that was employed to create a cozy, yet sophisticated neighborhood bistro . There is nothing cliche in the design. The walls are floor to ceiling red cedar wood, but it’s not a rustic decor. It’s warm and inviting, yet has a slight urban feel to it. Not too fussy. Handsome. Comfortable, yet still a touch modern and innovative. I know I am gushing about the look, but as a former decorative artist, I so appreciate good design and craftsmanship.
We were seated at a table right behind the bar and near one of the two outdoor patios which had a fire going. It was a beautiful atmosphere, and while tables for two are not always that comfortable, Silo gets decor and comfort just right.
Our server was friendly and enthusiastic, as if she was a part of a team that was happy to be there. These little things matter.
I put Silo at the top of go to list because I saw they had hot chicken on the menu. Hot chicken is a Nashville local specialty. Up until recently, people ventured to Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, which created the dish years ago, and waited for an hour choosing mild, medium or hot. Hot so hot, people would cry. Now, hot chicken and hot fish have become trendy and found in various eateries from food trucks to finer dining. It’s always served on white bread with pickles. Not to be mistaken with hot wings, hot chicken is a Nashville specialty.
Let’s start with cocktails. I had a Classic Old Fashioned and then I had a second one. It was perfectly balanced and I will go back just to sit at the bar and have this drink again, although that SILO Cobbler looks good too.
There were courses I loved and courses I didn’t love. The ones we loved, we really loved, and it looks like Silo is working hard to bring honest, delicious food to customers that will want to come back.
Each night, they serve three different kinds of deviled eggs. We didn’t order these, but I wish I would have after the couple next to us seemed to enjoy them so much. This is one of their most popular dishes.
We ordered the kale salad which was a very ample size, but I wasn’t wild for it. (Sorry for the bad picture)
I like the lacinato kale, not the curly kale and I should have asked about what kind of kale was in the salad. In all fairness, if you follow my cooking, you know I make kale salad a few times a week, and I’m stuck on my own recipe. This was a little acidic and too sweet for my taste. I also think it needed to be chopped a bit more. However, we swooned over our entrees.
My husband ordered the Black grouper, brussels sprouts, bacon, pickled vegetables. I’m so happy that brussels sprouts are finally getting their glory and popping up on plates all over Nashville. Some restaurants put one or two brussels sprouts on a plate. Silo is very generous with their vegetable portions, making this Spinach Tiger quite happy.
If I could recommend one dish you should run to Silo for, it’s the Braised Oxtails, natural jus, served over Falls Mill white grits. Nothing could be improved in this dish. Oxtail meat, which is basically the tail of the cow, is fatty and flavorful. Each bite of meat was like eating granny’s best roast beef dinner. The carrots and root vegetables were equally as good, as was the bit of crispy onion atop the dish. I’ve made veal osso bucco over these very grits before and they are the perfect mound of comfort to go with a braised meat. It was filling and I only could eat half. I had a a happy lunch the next day.
There are five ala carte sides to choose from, which are served family style.
We chose the mac N cheese. I should have asked more questions first. It’s described as a Sweetwater Valley Buttermilk cheddar mac. I didn’t realize it would be milky. Actually, it was grainy and curdled, and we chose to send it back and not order another side. This could have just been a fluke in the kitchen that evening, although the milky part seems to be the way they choose to serve it. Mac N cheese is one of those dishes that everyone has their own perfect vision of. My vision is the cheesy, gooey kind with a crunch on top. That’s what I was hoping for. This won’t stop me from returning, as there are other sides that caught my eye, like cast iron jalapeno corn bread.
I mentioned above that I chose Silo because I wanted hot chicken. Hot chicken is deep fried and then spiced with heat, which is typically lard and cayenne pepper.I never ordered it because our server who very attentive and accommodating, rightfully talked me out of it. She told me that it was very hot. Very very very hot. The heat comes from habaneros and ghost peppers, not cayenne pepper which is typically used for hot chicken.
We often strike up conversations with other couples, which is part of the fun of dining out.When I found out the couple next to us ordered it, I had to stay and see what he thought. This was a foodie couple who shared our passion for dining out. They didn’t mind one bit that I asked to take pictures of their entrees. He ordered the deviled egg trio and an old fashioned while waiting for the chicken.
Before his hot chicken arrived, we talked about the warning of the heat. There is no choice for mild or medium. Silo only serves hot hot chicken. He was a big guy from Texas and said he was used to heat, and had participated in hot chicken wing contests. The chicken arrived and it looked so good, I was now sorry I didn’t order it. The serving was huge, a double boneless breast served traditionally on white bread with pickles and a side of cole slaw. We watched him take his first bite. “It’s hot.” We watched him take his second and third bite and he looked pained. His cheeks flushed. He tried to be a trouper, but I could see that he was uncomfortable. He said he was going to have a hard time sleeping. Not the best entree for Valentine’s Day. I asked him to scale the heat from 1 to 10 and he gave it a 9.5. Oh baby, that’s HOT!
I would love to order hot chicken at Silo, but for me it needs to be a 7 to 7.5. He was an experienced heat eater and I doubt he’ll ever go back for the hot chicken. I’m trying to understand why there aren’t choices for the heat because a 9.5 heat index is very limiting for a restaurant that only has 8 entrees on the menu. I’m hoping this will change because I would be back to order a milder version.
The gal had ordered the pork chop, which again, was very generous in size and looked amazing.
We didn’t order dessert because there was a red velvet cheesecake waiting at home. All in all, we had a good experience. Our entrees were delicious. We didn’t leave hungry and the prices are very reasonable for the type of slow food Silo delivers.
This is the view we had of the fire place on the patio, and I know I’ll enjoy a return trip in warmer weather to enjoy the patio, the fire and another Old Fashioned.
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