Yes, I'm the restaurant writer - this is my beat - but honestly, I have no idea what's going on at Silver in Park City.
After being assured it would be open to the public in January, it only opened for Sundance events starting on January 15.
After a lot of fanfare and publicity about Todd Mark Miller's return to his native Utah as ...chef?...part owner?...his glam photo has disappeared from the restaurant's website, leaving only owners Lisa Barlow and Mary Lisenbee's starlet-style images.
Pre-opening, it was hard for me to get a fix on what the restaurant was going to taste like, although there were definite plans for its looks:
Blue mohair walls! Silvered floors! Wall jewelry!
Okay, so I gave up on wondering about Silver until I could actually get there.
Meaning, I was as in the dark and curious as anyone else when we went for a first Silver visit on Monday night.
An unfashionably early reservation - 6:45 - meant we had the place to ourselves for awhile and could check it out and take pictures:
The wall jewelry. The see-through wine cellar. The glowing blue sinks in the WC.
And it is genuinely stunning. Seated upstairs, in what used to be the outdoor terrace, we could see the terraced streets of Park City, a view that redelivered the antique mining town appeal which has been nearly obliterated by awful suburban-looking developments. Daylight savings meant the big skylight functioned until late, giving a glimpse of how nice this will be when you're seeing sun shine instead of snow fall.
Oh, and about the food.
I'd checked out the dinner menu online ahead of time. Miller's pre-Silver gig had been at STK, part of The One Group's super-snazzy restaurant portfolio, with locations in New York, Miami, Las Vegas and L.A., so I checked out that menu, too.
STK LA highlights: local butter leaf salad with roasted corn, pumpkin seeds and date vinaigrette. Foie gras French toast with green apples, almond brioche and sherry gastrique. Smoked beef short rib with marrow, carrots and squash. Bone-in filet. Duck breast with gooseberries, foie gras and puff pastry.
Silver highlights: Butter leaf salad with roasted corn, toasted pumpkin seeds and spicy basil vinaigrette. Foie gras French toast with Granny Smith apples, almond brioche and sherry syrup. Bone-in filet. Muscovy duck breast with caramelized fennel, braised endive and ginger-shallot confit. Slow-roasted beef short-ribs with smoked parsnips, cipollini onions and celeriac.
Both restaurant menus feature entrees or composed plates complete with sides, and a section of steakhouse-style a la carte big meat with separate sides.
So whatever Miller's role is/was at Silver, he wasn't being paid for huge originality.
Still, execution is what really counts, and our food was terrific. We didn't choose any stand-alone steaks - the bone-in filet is $48, not necessarily too expensive per se, but more than we wanted to spend.
We ate gorgeous short ribs in a perfect block like a slab of chocolate cake, rich but not as "killer" rich as Greg Neville's at Lugano. A sweet 6-ounce filet with syrupy reduction to add some jazz. Utah trout on risotto. Little medallions of ruby-rare duck breast on chunks of caramelized fennel and barely bitter endive with a breathtaking confit of shallot and ginger threads.
Nobody needs dessert after a meal like this, but I always feel obligated to try something - I wished for some less hefty dessert options, but we tried an over-the-top "bread pudding doughnuts."
Service was friendly but professional; although we were not anonymous. Still - and this was Monday, remember - the dining room was full and tables near us were happy and cared for, even with such unusual-for-Utah requests like decanting wine.
Like all cool new places, Silver has an artisanal cocktail list - expected, since owner Barlow also owns Vida Tequila. And, like most of the artisanal cocktails I've tried in Utah, these were on the sweet side - although I was properly impressed to note that Buffalo Trace was one of the liquors used.
The oddest thing about our dinner was the music - suitably low for conversation during the early part of our meal, pumping up to shouting level 80s dance volume while we ate our entrees, then abruptly softening later, lending a kind of aren't-you-ready-to-leave-now signal.
We had fun. We had good food. We had a luxe night out. Silver's nowhere near its nearest neighbor, Talisker on Main, in terms of food originality and pure kitchen panache - and it's not an earnest restaurant like Forage, Pago or The Farm, but it's a festive, glittery night on the town, a dose of star-struck Sundance glamour available year-round. Frankly, dining here had a feeling of opulence and frivolousness I realize I've missed during the last few lean years in Park City. I mean, this is supposed to be a silver town - it deserves a little shine.