When you hear that a restaurant or bar is an industry spot, there's a good chance that it is worth going to since those in the know are spending time there. So what exactly is an industry spot? Typically it means that chefs, restaurant owners/managers, and others who work at local dining and drinking spots go there on their off-hours. A great example of this was the long-closed King Fung Garden in Chinatown, a hole-in-the-wall where some big names would go for such tasty items as Peking duck. Another place in downtown Boston that has been seen as an industry spot over the years is Silvertone, a retro-feeling basement restaurant and bar in Downtown Crossing that seemed to get a lot more notice a number of years ago, but which has dropped off the map just a bit since it changed ownership in 2016. The good news is, this hidden spot has retained its quality when it comes to comfort food and cocktails, and it still attracts people in the restaurant biz along with nearby office workers, locals who live in DTX and Beacon Hill, and those who do their research.
Slivertone is a bit like a speakeasy in some ways, as its sign out front is easy to miss and upon entering the spot, you walk downstairs into a snug, cozy subterranean space with lots of nooks and crannies. An attractive bar sits near the bottom of the staircase while the dining area is mostly set up to the right of the bar and includes booths along the back wall. To the left of the staircase is a small room with a long table that is perfect for large groups, and beyond this section is a larger room that is used for events, parties, and functions and can also be used as an overflow area if the dining room is full. The overall feel of Silvertone is that of a private club or even someone's home, and with no light coming in from any windows (remember, this is a basement space), it has a dark and moody vibe that's quite appealing overall.
Industry spots often focus on comfort food, perhaps because when chefs and others are done for the day they simply want something tasty and simple without having to think much about it, and Silvertone takes comfort food (and drink) almost to an extreme, Not one, but two of the region's best comfort food dishes can be found here, as the old-school macaroni and cheese is nearly legendary at this place while the steak tips rival such favorites as Newbridge Cafe and Floramo's, both of which are located in Chelsea. The restaurant also does great takes on nachos and wings, the latter of which can be ordered with Buffalo or Rochester-style sauce (Rochester wings are a mix of sweet and spicy flavors), and old-fashioned sandwiches such as ham and cheese, tuna melts, and BLTs are offered as well. For those who love the taste--and smell--of truffles, Silvertone serves truffle fries and they also offer truffled tater tots on special, while a couple of seafood appetizers include fried calamari with a spicy sauce and steamed mussels in a garlicky white wine broth. A few of the meals offered continue the comfort food theme, including an outstanding house-made meatloaf with plenty of mashed potatoes and gravy, a tasty brick chicken with mashed potatoes and a zesty lemon sauce, a classic fish and chips plate with tartar sauce, and a simple but delicious 8-ounce burger that can be ordered with bacon, Swiss cheese, and guacamole. The drink list is offbeat and fun without being overly precious, and it includes "happy meals" where you can order a Miller High Life with a shot for a set price (options include Fernet Branca, Amaro Montenegro, and Jameson). Those who are looking for a cocktail have a lot to choose from here, such as a raspberry fizz, spiced sangria, cocoa Manhattan, and a Shaddock, the last of which is made with gin, aperol, St. Elder, and lemon. The beer list at Silvertone is relatively basic, while the wine list is much more extensive, featuring about 10 wines by the glass and many more by the bottle.
Industry haunts are often hidden gems that fly under the radar, which makes a lot of sense because the last thing a restaurant worker wants after a long day is to be fighting hoards of people in order to get a table or a seat at the bar. And while Silvertone is one of those "partial" hidden gems that's well-known to chefs, cooks, restaurant critics, and food lovers who know their restaurants, this is still a mostly unknown place to many others--especially those who live in the suburbs and might not spend much time along the dark and narrow streets between Downtown Crossing and Boston Common.
Copyright © 2018, Boston's Hidden Restaurants (www.hiddenboston.com).