In this restaurant review space, we try to bring to your attention places you may not know in the ordinary course of business. For example, last week we introduced Lolo’s, a new barbecue place in blue collar Avondale.
But we will make an exception for our nearly-neighbor, Silvertron Cafe, that has been around in various manifestations and just passed its 25-year milestone. If it has been 20 years since you have been to Forest Park Village on Clairmont and do not know the latest version, current owner Marco Morosini has been there for the last four years in the old Silvertron TV and Repair location.
Marco is an authentic immigrant (I forgot to check his papers before ordering, so I hope that is not a violation) from Bergamo, Italy who cooked his way to Birmingham via Paris and California, and it goes without saying a true lover of food and wine. He loves to teach about them as well as serve them. He is also a strong supporter of local growers and the cafe’s fare benefits from the fresh ingredients.
When I wandered in off the street for a late lunch to belatedly observe Silvertron’s birthday (I am also still behind on a few thank-you notes, sorry), I just put myself in his capable hands. The only thing he needed to know was how hungry.
I was famished, but next time I will tell him I am only mildly starving. First he brought an appetizer of fried artichoke hearts that, at eight pieces, could have been a meal in itself for little old me. But perfect for group sharing with a round of Moretti.
I have to say I was impressed with the light breading on the chokes that had a perfect even, crisp consistency and not one drip of grease, but was light and airy. The breaded hearts in turn are filled with an herbal cheese sauce. I felt like I got a creamy mushroom soup note out of the cheese sauce but Marco assured me it was only my imagination. The dish is served with a very zesty marinara sauce for dipping that is also distinctly herbal.
That is when Marco really loaded me up--with a fish wrap, which sounds safe enough for my girlish figure. Honestly, it was too big to wrap in the XXL tortilla to fit in my mouth. I couldn’t quite wrap myself in it, either, but that came closer. So I tried just picking through the individual ingredients: seared tilapia, red onion, tomatoes, greens, and cucumber. It came with a light orange-pinkish remoulade-like sauce that I discovered at Silvertron goes by the name of Cajun tartar, so next time I am going to ask Marco about his Mexican and Acadian roots. I left out one ingredient, and not by accident, because it was saving best for last and made the dish: delicious roasted red peppers.
I struggled with the wrap for a while, like my fan mail and a live flounder, and my persistence paid off. Because when I finally found a way to wrap it up and get it to stay, and then went after it with my fork, I was not disappointed. All those ingredients rolled into one definitely far surpassed picking at the parts. One fork-full of peppers, fish, red onion, tartare, all melded into a Tex-Mex Cajun delight.
It just goes to show. Never second-guess your chef. Eat your food the way it was intended, even if it takes a little ingenuity and elbow grease.
I was getting pretty full by now but could not resist trying a fresh peach cobbler, and I did get a little exercise with the fish wrap, after all. I almost feel like I reeled that tilapia in myself, and it was a fighter.
What is there to say about fresh, local peaches? They are the best and need no introduction from me, especially with a melting blob of vanilla. There was an unusual secret spice or herb in the crust, maybe clove or nutmeg, I trust.
The menu carries a number of other fish dishes, and also a range of pastas (with a Monday night special), burgers and sandwiches, and a surprising variety of Tex-Mex tacos and quesadillas for a buona fida Italian. It is definitely a casual place that allows such blurring of borders. Marco even does a whole different thing for Saturday breakfast and Sunday brunch, with omelettes, Benedict and other egg dishes.
I like it, as long as I don’t have to do brunch with some Benedict Arnold. But, after all this time, I think our neighborhood is still safe with Silvertron. It deserves to hang around for another decade.
3813 Clairmont Avenue (205) 591-3707