The newest fixture at Cleveland Park’s Cathedral Commons complex, Silver, falls somewhere between Parisian bistro and all-American diner, serving classic comfort food and exotic small plates from breakfast until late.
The “new American brasserie” opened at 3404 Wisconsin Ave. NW for dinner Aug. 29, and breakfast and lunch are due to follow Sept. 12.
Silver is an upscale version of Silver Diner, a Rockville, Md.-based chain that debuted in 1989. Silver Diner was concocted by chief operating officer Richard Giaimo and executive chef Ype Von Hengst, and today the restaurant has 14 locations in Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey.
Two years ago, Giaimo and Von Hengst opened upscale spinoff Silver in Bethesda, aiming to provide families with affordable, quasi-fine dining. That’s the concept the company brought to Cathedral Commons for the company’s first foray into the District.
While Silver traverses a range of cuisines, courtesy of Norwegian-born chef Von Hengst’s distinctive style, color emanates from each dish. From tuna poke salad and goat cheese bruschetta, to hearty bison meatloaf and chicken pot pie, to a healthy children’s menu, Silver hits various culinary bases. And guests won’t want to forget dessert. The brasserie’s unique take on sweet classics including a campfire sundae, Mason jar cheesecake and butterscotch pudding are difficult to pass up.
Richard Torres, Silver’s larger-than-life bar manager, began busing tables at Silver Diner as a teenager and quickly ascended the ranks. After months of concocting new drinks and fielding prospective employees, Torres said he couldn’t wait to open the restaurant.
Among Torres’ favorite cocktails are the lemon-and-honey “pear blossom,” and the flagship “silver smash,” served with cucumber, blueberries and raspberry rum.
Silver is looking to tap into D.C.’s enthusiastic brunch crowd with breakfast offerings such as buttermilk pancakes, French toast, eggs Benedict and fried chicken and waffles — all day, every day. The prospect of early-morning dining was a major selling point when Silver first announced plans for the new establishment, given the scarcity of current offerings in the area.
Silver’s happy hour is held weeknights between 4 and 6:30 p.m., with most tapas, desserts and drinks priced at $5 apiece. The restaurant’s patio features an extensive underground heating system and is fitted with wicker chairs and blue umbrellas reminiscent of a French bistro. Acoustic outdoor music is slated to play twice a week between 4 and 8 p.m.
Silver almost missed out on its Wisconsin Avenue NW venue due to zoning regulations that required the project undergo an extensive review process. But Giaimo was determined.
“It wasn’t easy,” Giaimo said. “But the neighborhood was very supportive.”