By Christopher A. Pape
Casting a large and delicious shadow over midtown west is no easy feat and yet that’s exactly what La Silhouette, a relatively new restaurant on 53rd street, does. Serving classic French fare that is sophisticated without being stuffy, La Silhouette brings haute to Hell’s Kitchen, ensuring diners leave with smiles on their faces.
Owned and operated by two alumni from Le Bernardin and helmed in the kitchen by Executive Chef Matthew Tropeano, formerly of La Grenouille fame, the restaurant ignites the imagination and the palate with cleanly crisp flavors that bring France to mind. And with only the freshest seasonal ingredients, their dishes piqued our palates.
Thanks to a unique layout, the restaurant is suited for any function. Enter to find an upscale bar, perfect for an evening drink. Walk in further to sit in the cozy alcove for a romantic dinner or just beyond is the main dining room, bordered by the restaurant’s signature red-striped wall and giving needed formality to the restaurant’s presentation.
As for the food, each of the five-course menu we had (my guest and I receiving different dishes each course) was spectacular. For example, the pâté de campagne, foie gras, pistachios and sour cherries was beautifully presented and a classic of the French repertoire. Of course, it was an ideal representative of the kitchen’s skills. With sour (from the cherries), fatty (from the bacon in the pâté and the foie), salty (from the pistachios) and crunchy (also from the pistachios) elements, it was a marvel to our eyes and to our stomachs.
Another favorite was the veal sweetbreads with butternut squash agnolotti, pumpkin seeds and sage. Here Mr. Tropeano showcased his Italian heritage to great effect. Not only did it sing of fall but brought back memories of a trip to the Piedmont region I had gone to earlier in the year. The agnolotti, similar to ravioli, was tender and its filling, the butternut squash was smooth and nutty – a true gem. But this sage fanatic, loved the earthiness that herb imparts and I loved how they used it in this dish.
I could extol the virtues of La Silhouette until I’m blue in the face and that may never prompt you to go. But for once do take my advice and try it for yourself. You might not only see that I was right in praising it, but you will almost certainly leave full and satisfied.