My boyfriend and I ate at La Silhouette last month and enjoyed their tasting menu of citrus-soaked daurade, veal that melted in our mouths, and the biggest chocolate soufflé I’ve ever seen. I gave the food 4.5 donuts but mentioned that the kitchen was still running a little slow with only two weeks of service under its belt, so co-owner Sally Chironis invited us back for a second chance.
Ironically, we had been looking for an upscale brunch spot only the Sunday before but had found every restaurant we thought of closed. Had we remembered that La Silhouette is now serving brunch, we would’ve been treated to:
Hell’s Kitchen Basket: croissant, pain au chocolat, pound cake, muffin, baguette, butter and jam
I love a good bread basket, and this one had some real high points. The chocolate-banana muffin was the major one thanks to the crunchy sugar topping and the crust of chocolate chips. The buttery croissants flaked apart in our fingers, and the trio of fruit spreads that accompanied the basket were all delicious with the soft marbled pound cake.
This cocktail put your usual brunch mimosa to total shame. It was super sour and loaded with peaches, raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, and what my boyfriend thought was rhubarb. Rhubarb!
Bloody Mary a la Silhouette with clam juice
Unsurprisingly, I don’t drink bloody marys, but my boyfriend assured me this was a good one. He loves a little protein in his cocktails and welcome the baby shrimp, which even I tried and liked when swiped through the Old Bay Seasoning on the rim of the glass.
Classic Croque Madame
It’s funny that the menu called this the “classic” croque madame, because it tasted quite different than others I’ve had. I don’t think I even knew what a croque madame or monsieur was until a few years ago, and now it’s hard for me to imagine anyone eating anything else at brunch. It’s basically just a grilled cheese sandwich. Filled with ham. And then covered with more cheese. With a fried egg on top. What could be better, right? The difference with this one was that where most croques I’ve had have been mostly cheese-flavored, this one was heavy on the ham. Instead of a single slice, there was a big pile of thinly-sliced ham between the buttery slices of crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside bread.
The other plus was the side of Dijon mayo for dipping. I actually thought it was some sort of wasabi mayo, but of course a French-influenced restaurant went the Dijon mustard route. The chef noted the European fondness for mayonnaise on French fries but wanted to add a little kick to it. Oui!
Norwegian Eggs Benedict, smoked salmon, lemon paprika Hollandaise
My boyfriend has been wanting smoked salmon for breakfast lately, so this dish was perfect for him. Even I, usually so wary of the extra-seafoodiness of smoked fish, thought the flavors were very well-balanced. The smoke wasn’t overpowering thanks to the lemony Hollandaise, and I liked the way the firm English muffin provided a substantial base.
La Silhouette Sundae
The night before, we had been to Serendipity 3, arguably the most famous dessert restaurant in the city, and we thought this sundae not only stood up to the one we had there but surpassed it in some ways. There’s a time and a place for over-the-top, brimming-with-every-topping-imaginable sundaes (more often for me than most people!) but Sunday afternoon is not one of them.
This felt like a sundae for adults. A sundae with lighter, better ingredients. It started with the crunchy pink meringue on top, which we later found tiny chunks of throughout the sundae. There was the Chantilly (vanilla) cream, the large slices of beautiful strawberries, the dark chocolate syrup, and the thick vanilla bean ice cream, too. I’m not usually one to praise desserts that don’t knock me over with richness, but this was just a great way to end brunch.
It doesn’t take much to make me happy when it comes to cupcakes, but these were just so-so for me. I didn’t think the cake portion of the red velvet one was moist enough, but the cream cheese icing with its bits of cake topping was incredible. The coconut cupcake was fine but not memorable. I loved the peanut butter cake of the chocolate-peanut butter cupcake, but the icing was like eating straight shortening. Peanut butter and chocolate are two of my very favourite flavors in the world, but this was my least-favourite cupcake.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t a huge fan of the cookies, either. I’ve been thinking about blondies for a couple of weeks now, so you can imagine my pleasure at receiving these. Only they were waaaay too dry for me. The double chocolate chip cookie crumbled in my mouth, as well. The coconut macaroon was the best part of the plate with its chewy interior and chocolate-dipped exterior.
La Silhouette was such a nice departure from the overcrowded, two-hour-long wait you get at the usual brunch places in the city. The sunken dining room was filled with natural light highlighted by a wall of electric candles, the noise level was low enough that we could enjoy quiet conversation, and our server was kind, professional, and impeccably dressed. I would certainly order the croque madame, eggs Benedict again, and even the $18 bagel with smoked salmon seemed like a deal when we saw how much fish was on the plate. I would skip the cookies and cupcakes, though, and order two of the La Silhouette Sundae instead.
362 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019 (map)