La Silhouette Brings 4 Star Food to Hell’s Kitchen

I have a friend who hates where I live. He refers to it as “tourist central,” and when he comes into Hell’s Kitchen for dinner or drinks, he almost has a physical reaction. He just doesn’t think of it as a real part of New York City. He certainly doesn’t think of it as a destination in any sense of the word. 
He is about to eat crow. 
La Silhouette is a French-inspired fine dining restaurant in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen that is helmed by chef Matthew Tropeano, formerly of La Grenouille. It is a French inspired restaurant that takes classical French ingredients but prepares them in exciting and innovative ways. 
The decor at La Silhouette belies its cooking. It is all straight lines, muted colors with pops of red, and utilitarian decor. It looks like a restaurant hat would serve modern American or trendy Italian food, not one that would serve such fanciful and decadent items as these:
 Spicy Candied Almonds
These nuts at the snack bar are like none I have ever had. At first, they were delightfully sweet-candied, like pralines. Then, the warmth of cinnamon and the quick, shocking hit of cayenne. These are addictive and I ate way too many before I even got to my table.
 Duck Croquette
This is the first hint of Chef  Tropeano’s technique. The golf-ball sized croquette has a crispy crust that hides incredibly moist, sweet duck. Not at all gamy or greasy, the duck is tender and mild. The rosemary aioli underneath brings out the deeper tones of the duck. This is crunchy, soft, and meaty all at once. 
 Bread Cart
I wanted to try the seven grain and the foccacia, but I couldn’t tear myself away from the warm sourdough. A light, thin crust outside fluffy, warm insides. This is good enough to enjoy alone, but with the soft, unsalted butter, it is really a perfect example of French food. Good bread, good butter…what is more appetizing than that?
 Foie Gras “A La Botero” with Sweet Plantains, Roasted Pineapple-Shallot Confit, and Coffee Jus
Seared foie gras is my favorite food on the planet, so I knew I had to get this. 
Best decision of 2012, thus far. 
The foie is cooked perfectly, with a thick, salty crust outside and a slightly pink, melting center inside. It is meaty, sweet, and incredibly savory. The texture is perfect – smooth and crunchy all in one bite. The coffee jus has a pleasing bitter quality to counteract the pineapple confit’s sugar, and the plantains are revelatory. They tone down the pineapple confit’s sweetness while bringing out the rich tones of the foie. I can’t wait to cook with plantains at home. This foie gras is easily the best I have had since Paris, and the best I have ever had in NYC. This dish is worth going to the restaurant alone. 
Wild Mushroom Risotto with Truffles and Parmesan 
Risotto is so easy to screw up.  This is perfect. The rice is creamy but still retains its integrity – no mush here. Thyme mixes in with nutty Parmesan, and there is no skimping on the truffles here. The thick shavings send up an intoxicating, heavy scent that explodes in a purely umami taste in your mouth. The risotto is perfection and not to be missed. 
 Veal Sweetbreads with Fennel and Roasted Garlic Ravioli, Pine Nuts, and Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
A shell similar to fried chicken, with a thick, crispy coating, surrounding soft, creamy meat. It is more mild and a bit firmer than foie, but with the same iron-y, mineral rich taste. It tastes like meaty, tender chicken fingers – that’s the best way to describe these. And though dunking them in ketchup or honey mustard might obscure the subtle taste of the veal, the bright, acidic Meyer lemon sauce added zip and elevated the dish. The roasted fennel is sweet and tender, as is was the soft, supple ravioli. Try this dish and you will be shocked how good a young cow’s pancreas can taste. 
 Cheese Plate
From left to right, there is a creamy, mild goat cheese, a sharp, nutty sheep’s milk cheese, and a pungent, very ripe blue cheese. Served with various accompaniments (including an incredible sweet cherry compote), this is a fantastic pre-dessert course.
 Chocolate-Marshmallow Cake  and Craham Graham Cracker Ice Cream with Toasted Marshmallow
A S’mores oriented ding dong on Michelin crack.
A few petit fours finished off the meal.
La Silhouette is changing the way that Hell’s Kitchen eats. The service is elegant and unobtrusive, the wines by the glass are excellent, and the food is absolutely four star. It is the best meal I have had in Hell’s Kitchen since Danji. Of course, because it’s in Hell’s Kitchen, the prices are incredibly cheap – if this restaurant were on the UES, the meal would have cost easily 3 times as much. Also because it’s in Hell’s Kitchen, there is a prix fixe lunch option. And take out for lunch. This is the best kept secret in NYC – a Michelin level meal right in Hell’s Kitchen, served by a pedigreed chef at unbelievably fair prices. 
Unfortunately for my friend, they don’t serve humble pie. 
*Note: My meal was paid for by the restaurant.  I was not paid or required to write a review, and my opinions are my own and, I feel, impartial.*

Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    Looks like I need to spend more time in Midtown ;)

  2. Hungry says:

    Wooo! I'm going here next week. So excited! I have my eyes on that foie!

  3. Anonymous says:

    You'd be hard pressed to find someone who eats at La Silhouette more frequently than I do, and who thinks more highly of it's crew and food, but you are doing the restaurant no favor when you misrepresent the cost of meals there. This is a high-end restaurant with high-end prices, likely higher than you'll find anywhere else in Hell's Kitchen. IMHO, the prices match the quality of the food. They are not, however, as you suggest, "incredibly cheap."

  4. Tasty Trekker says:

    I've been meaning to try that place out. BTW they sell almonds like that at Kalustyan's. It's my go to dinner party snack.

  5. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Sarah-oh yes you do!

    @Hungry-It was so, SO good!

    @Anon-I see your point. It is not as cheap as anywhere else in Hell's Kitchen, but for the quality of the food and service, I do find it an wonderful deal. This meal would cost an arm and a leg anywhere else in the city, and though it is not cheap on its own, it is very inexpensive in comparison to restaurants of a similar caliber. But, like I said, I see your point completely!

    @TastyTrekker-heading to Kalustyans as we SPEAK!

  6. whozyerdanny says:

    This place looks incredible…lucky you !

  7. Justine Kidding says:

    Absolutely fantastic

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