The Good Silver likes to keep things simple. A straightforward menu of bar-room classics, an equally straightforward menu of brunch offerings, a highly selective cocktail menu and only four beer taps. It’s the Occam’s Razor of neighborhood bars; the simplest solution is the best.
“Simple,” however, should not be confused with “easy.” In the District where a new bar opens every weekend, having a pared-down menu is actually a bold move. We’ve become spoiled with our options in D.C. It seems like a new bar opens every weekend, and with every opening comes a new menu, with new flavors, new combinations, new concepts… and it all begins to feel like a Michael Bay film for your mouth.
Carrie Dzwil and her team at the Good Silver are going in the opposite direction; rather than bombard their guests with an overwhelming selection of needlessly excessive “fusion” dishes, Chef Rémi Gottheil sticks to the classics. Burgers and beer for dinner, beignets and eggs benedict for brunch. The staff here doesn’t want to take you to a faraway place when you walk in the door; They want to bring you home.
There are a few twists and turns in the dishes, but none of them feel particularly flashy. They make sense. Rather than hollandaise (which is almost impossible to keep), the eggs benedict are topped with a cauliflower-parmesan purée. Similarly, the deviled eggs are brined in a beet purée leftover from another dish, yielding a screaming violet egg white, and also cutting down on waste. You’d think this kind of thing would be common sense for a lot of restaurants, but food waste is still a huge problem in the industry. It’s refreshing to see a new restaurant with a conservative approach for this kind of thing.
Also in the spirit of simple living, Good Silver shops locally for everything they put on your plate. The bacon, delicious and unavailable anywhere else in D.C. (for now) comes from Epicuring. The buns for the burgers were baked only a couple miles from the front door. They even have an egg guy. His name is Ned, and no one will tell me where I can get his eggs.
The mac and cheese is as comforting as ever, cleverly disguised as pompous elegance. In its cast-iron skillet, and bubbling broiled cheddar top, it looks like something that would be put in front of you at a Brooklyn biergarten. Looking just a little closer, though, you’ll find crumbled Goldfish crackers as croutons in the top layer of cheese. I’ve never thought to use Goldfish as a topping for pasta, let alone be so bold as to combine two of my favorite cheese-related comfort foods. This is a skillet full of happy.
The smash burger is a force to be reckoned with: 100% ground beef on a toasted and buttered bun, with spicy brown mustard, togorashi mayo, a house-made tomato jam, cheddar, bacon, white onion, house-made pickles, caramelized beets and onions, and a few shreds of romaine, which I assume is for humor. The beauty of this burger is not just the flavors that work together without competing for attention, but also the camaraderie in the textures. The edges of the smashed beef are still crispy under the melted cheese.
When the menu goes off the beaten path, it’s never to be showy; it’s more like the staff letting you in on a little secret. The “I’m the Captain Now!” cocktail strings cachaça and Aperol together with half a dozen other ingredients, turning into a gorgeous drink that will knock you flat on your ass. Even here, though, the spirit of simplicity is thriving. The cocktail’s Don Ciccio & Figli Mandarinetto is D.C.-based, and the blackberry shrub is made in-house.
It’s the little touches from home that make the tiny menu at The Good Silver shine. Brunch is a great time to stop by. Dinner, too. Or for Saturday night football. Or if you’re just hungry.
The Good Silver is located at 3410 11th St NW. They’re open Tuesday – Thursday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Friday from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. and Saturday – Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.