Food Scoop "Birmingham"

Food and Travel

“Silvertron Cafe”: A Birmingham Icon

Posted by bhamfoodscoop on September 21, 2010

“Silvertron Cafe” is a Birmingham icon, that has been around for many years. The current owner, Marco Morosini, took over the restaurant in 2007 and made only a few changes to the menu. Marco is from Italy, and has lived in San Francisco, California; Panama City, Florida; and Birmingham, Alabama. He has had plenty of experience in the restaurant business, therefore, he brings that expertise with him to “Silvertron Cafe”.

The restaurant is located in the Forest Park neighborhood, which is an area filled with charm, prestige, and a bohemian flair. We arrived here about 7:30pm; parking was not a problem. The restaurant was not too busy at all, so the hostess immediately took us to a corner table that overlooked the restaurant, and Clairmont Avenue.

Upon sitting down, I couldn’t help but notice the 1920’s character of the interior space. This is funny, but I felt like I had been transported back 80 decades because the furniture, lighting, and decor all reflected an era from decades long ago.

“Silvertron Cafe” seems to be the neighborhood spot, to unwind with a glass of wine and catch up with your friends. They have an extensive menu that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also have special menus such as, Sunday Brunch, Monday Night Pasta, and Tex-Mex Tuesdays. The prices are very affordable.

If the walls at “Silvertron Cafe” could talk, they would have much to say. Today, these same walls hold pictures of the past and present. The current pictures come from local artists that are affiliated with the Naked Art Gallery, next door.

Right after we sat down, the waiter came to take our drink orders, and to explain the Birmingham Restaurant Week menu. I couldn’t decide what to get, so I let the waiter choose for me. Here are the three courses that we ordered:

First Course: Mini spinach salad (Tossed in warm bacon vinaigrette, topped with candied pecans, mushrooms and fried goat cheese)

The presentation of the spinach salad was awesome. I forgot to tell them no mushrooms, but that was no big deal because I picked them off. Upon tasting this salad, I became confused because I didn’t know if I was tasting an actual “bacon vinaigrette” or “bacon grease”; and that just turned me off. Personally, I think a dish like this would be better with cooked spinach because part of the spinach, on my plate, was cooked by the heat of the warm “bacon vinaigrette” and the other part of the spinach was just cold. I didn’t like that combination. Also I think the dish would’ve been better if there were a sweet taste to compliment the bacon taste. This dish also came with two pieces of fried goat cheese, which is an acquired taste but I did like it

I did not eat all of this, and my mom didn’t like it either.

Second Course: Grilled Mahi Mahi served over garlic mashed potatoes with sauteed mushrooms. Topped with a rosemary mayo.

The presentation of this entree was so blah! And that is exactly how this dish tasted, blah. My garlic mashed potatoes were served luke-warm and I could hardly taste any garlic. I do agree that everyone doesn’t enjoy a large garlic punch, in their potatoes, but I feel that there should at least be enough garlic in the potatoes to call them “garlic mashed potatoes”. Next, the Mahi Mahi tasted like it was barely seasoned, even though it appeared to have seasonings on it. However, I did like the wood-grilled, smokey taste that it had.

I sent this dish back; at this time the waiter got the manager to come check on us.

Third Course: Apple-walnut crisp topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel. We also had the White chocolate bread pudding, topped with whipped cream and raspberry sauce

The “crisp” part of the Apple-walnut crisp, was burned and had a burned taste. When this dessert came out, is the same time the manager came over to our table. I briefly explained to him that I just didn’t care too much for the food, and he was very understanding. He said that maybe, the cooks didn’t mix up the salad dressing correctly; and he wanted my opinion on what other seasonings he could add to the Mahi Mahi, to make it better. For dessert, Marco ordered the “White Chocolate Bread Pudding” for me to try. This is “Silvertron’s” signature dessert, and it was ranked as the 4th Best Dessert in Birmingham.

The “White Chocolate Bread Pudding” was the highlight of my night. Ya’ll, this was served warm and it tasted exceptional. I feel that Marco was determined to see me pleased before I left. In my opinion, Marco is the epitome of a great manager and restaurant owner!

The customer service at “Silvertron Cafe” is amazing. They are very personable, and they really care about making your experience the best. Even though I didn’t enjoy the majority of the food that I ordered, I did enjoy my experience. Therefore, I will visit again, and I recommend that you give this place a try because there is a whole lot more on the menu, and even though I consider myself to have a neutral palate, you might like the stuff that I don’t like!

FYI: I’ve gone back to Silvertron Cafe since this incident, and my food was absolutely delicious.

Silvertron Cafe on Urbanspoon




12 Responses to ““Silvertron Cafe”: A Birmingham Icon”

  1. marco m. said

    ok, where to start….
    THANK YOU for your review about Silvertron and considering Silvertron to be a “Birmingham icon”. I am also very happy to read about the wonderful things that you said about me. But now let’s focus on the important stuff. My name is Marco Morosini and I am the owner of Silvertron Cafe’. I love to read and hear what people are saying about the restaurant (good and bad) because it is a great way to improve the restaurant’s food or service. However, I have few issues with what you wrote and here they are:

    1- You are considered a “food critic”. I went out onto the internet and found a good definition of this job title for you. “To be a food critic, you must have an incredible and adventurous palate. You must be curious and be prepared to try every kind of food and drink. You might have to be brave at times and go way out of your comfort zone. It really helps to be the kind of person who has tremendous zest for life – willing to have as many adventures as risks. This job is not for the faint hearted. Try anything and everything you come across, no matter how strange or foreign it may seem, and record your impressions as descriptively as you can. Training your palate is like exercising a muscle. You need to be able to detect the subtle nuances of flavor and seasoning in food.” I will show that you are not there yet…

    2-You wrote about the spinach salad that you didn’t like the combination, but you NEVER explained WHY! You mentioned “I think the dish would’ve been better if there were a sweet taste to compliment the bacon taste”, and what do you think that the “candied pecans” are? salted?!

    3- You mentioned about the mahi that it is “blah”. If you are a true food critic the word “blah” needs to be eliminated and replaced with an actual thought. As a real food critic, you cannot dismantle a dish and order it differently because you don’t like a particular ingredient. The dish was created with many ingredients that are designed to work together. “Grilled Mahi Mahi served over garlic mashed potatoes with sauteed mushrooms. Topped with a rosemary mayo.” There are 4 components on this dish. Garlic mashed potatoes (I can respect if you enjoy more garlic than others, but garlic can overpower many, many flavors – that’s why it has been kept to just a touch). The fish (“Mahi Mahi is a great, mild fish available all year long.”, is grilled and seasoned with Kosher salt and pepper). The mushrooms (I use a mix of portobello -” they are so big on flavor, especially when roasted, grilled or sautéed at high temperature”, oyster -“This mushroom’s taste has been described as mild with a slight odor similar to anise”, and shitake -“rich, smoky flavor”) are sauteed with garlic, salt, pepper, fresh parsley and dry white wine. The last component is the rosemary mayo. Everything in quotes I pulled from various internet sites – just doing the research for you.

    You ordered the fish without mushrooms and with light mayo. Now, remember how the internet describes “food critic”? Let me remind you…”Expand your curiosity and be prepared to try every kind of food and drink”. I can clearly say that you missed the point.

    4-dessert, “Apple-walnut crisp topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel. “. You described it as “burned”. Perhaps the server or I should have better explained that it has toasted pecans….oh no, I actually told you that, but you still go on and write about it! Well, the pecans are toasted. So perhaps the flavor might have come from there.

    To end this long response to you, I think that you need to wipe the milk from the corners of your mouth. You are young, and don’t seem to have a clear picture of what a food critic needs to be. I worked in great restaurants in Paris (Ledoyen, Lucas Carlton) and when a food critic came in he ordered lots of food and tasted all of it. He never had a description such as “blah!”. He/she always paid for the food (not like you) and TIPPED!!!!!! (Your tab was $26 and your mom left $2) You didn’t even have the decency to treat the staff with respect. Your mom had to try to do it for you! What is wrong with you?!

    You described the service as thus: “The customer service at Silvertron Cafe is amazing. They are very personable, and they really care about making your experience the best”. So, until you make it up to the server who took such good care of you, you are not welcome back. And no, this is not sour grapes. I’m Italian, I know what to do with grapes. Dislike anything you wish – after you taste it as it was meant to be tasted, after you talk with us about preparation and ingredients, and after you treat your server with respect.

    If there is anything that I can do for you, you know where to find me….

    p.s. I found free courses about how to be a food critic online! Shall we sign you up?

  2. Thanks for this post! However, I had a hard time viewing your post in Internet Explorer 8. Just wanted to bring that to your attention! Best regards.

  3. Rachel LaMonte said

    I have just finished reading both posting from the food “critic” and the response from Marco.

    I am neither a food critic nor a restaurant owner. However, I have a long history with Silvertron, beginning with the day it first opened on late October of 1988 (I believe), I was a hostess, and the restaurant was half the size as well as an instant success. I also lived in Forest Park, and the restaurant is definitely an icon. I don’t know whether the comment about feeling like you were in the 80s was meant to be positive or negative, but I can tell you that it is a relaxing place to eat and does not constantly change based on the latest fashion trend.

    The atmostphere is friendly and has a rich history of Bimingham displayed on the walls. I agree that if walls could talk, Silvertron’s would have many tales to tell.

    But, enough of the past. I rarely respond to things I read on the internet, but in this case, I felt that it would be well worth it.

    So, my observations are the following:

    1. I have never heard a food critic (or an adult) use the word “blah” to desribe anything unless he/she is quoting a child with limited vocabulary. Bland, tasteless, or even unflavorful would be a little more helpful

    2. Having been a hostess, waitress, and manager in the restaurant business for many years in the past, I believe that if a diner does not like the food served, he/she needs have enough respect and courage to say something about the quality of the food immediately. I realize that you did mention some of your complaints to the manager, but it might be more helpful to be a bit more specific. For example, based on personal experience, if you preferred more garlic in your garlic mashed potatoes and requested that they be made with stronger flavor, you would have most likely been served some of the most garlicy (if that’s even a word) potatoes you’ve ever tasted!

    There is NO way a cook can know that the food being served does not meet the standards of the clientel unless he/she is made aware of the problem.

    2. Marco Morosini is probably the most “hands on” restaurant owner I have ever met. I read once that his pet peeve is going to a restaurant and not being spoken to by the manager.

    He makes it his personal mission to speak to each table of diners while they are in his restaurant and to make sure that they are satisfied with their meals. There is no excuse to leave Silvertron unhappy with the food because he does everything in his power to make his customers happy. Yet, that does require the customers to be “brave” and speak up if they are not happy.

    3. You might consider choosing your own food since you know what you like and what you don’t.

    4. If the customer service was as good as you said, I am appalled that you left such a stingy tip – less than 10%??? I agree that that the staff at Silvertron is among the most courteous and respectful group of people in the restaurant business. As a waitress, I remember feeling personally offended if my tips were small mainly because I equated the tip to my service.

    Yet, I have discovered that if customers aren’t satisfied with the quality of their food, they often leave a small tip – which accomplishes nothing since the wait staff does not cook the food. Yet, I do not believe in my many years of waiting table did I receive a tip below 10%.

    5. Finally, it sounds like you are a bit conflicted. Your post was fairly or even mainly – negative. Yet, you would like to return to Silvertron because you enjoyed the experience, but you did not enjoy the food. While I am glad that you are interested in returning, I do wonder what you lan on eating there!

    • I’m so glad that you felt compelled to comment! However, I feel that any wise person should try to get both sides of the story with an unbiased opinion (it seems as if you’ve known the owner for a while) before making such a detailed conclusion. For example, we left more than a $2 tip, everything including the service would’ve had to have been terrible, for me to leave such a poor tip. Also, I don’t know what makes you think I’m a food critic, I’m a “food connoisseur”. Which means I continuously learn about food, and apply that knowledge in my restaurant adventures. This title offers me the flexibility of being adventurous as well, so I love to try new things. Now, if I don’t like what I try, then it’s simple as that. Lastly, I tell my personal opinion on my personal blog. There is no manual that I follow on how to be a “food connoisseur”; this is strictly me and what I think, Mrs. LaMonte.

      Also I wish you would’ve read the blog entry a little closer because I said that the restaurant reminds me of the 20’s era, which was filled with rich history; it’s actually a compliment!

      The owner should be glad to have such a great support system who thinks that he does no wrong and who also thinks that he is one of the top cooks in the nation. I thought this at one time, however, I beg to differ now because I’ve witnessed a side of him that wasn’t professional and a side that doesn’t try to learn from others opinions, like he says.

      You seem to be an educated woman, so I’m sure since you read the comment that he wrote to me, you can see how unprofessional and almost threatening it was. And that is why I have this tainted view of the restaurant and its owner. Have a great day Ms. LaMonte!

  4. Local eater said

    I keep trying Silvertron. I want to like it – I really do, because I live in the neighborhood and eat out a lot. I think blah is the exact right word to descibe the menu and the food. Everything about it is boring, underseasoned and, well, blah. The last time my husband and I ate there it was at the request of some friends who work nearby. Once again, completely uninspired food. Bonus, one of our party got food poisoning. No more excuses. No more second/third/fourth chances. It’s not enough to have a great atmosphere and friendly service. You have to actually want to eat the food.

    • I’m glad that I’m not the only one that feels that way!

    • marco morosini said

      I would like to apologize but you are mentioning “no more excuses”. i am SORRY that i disapponited you, i really am. Anytime that somebody feels ill after eating at a restaurant they should always call the restaurant management. i have had no calls from any of my customers, so i have no idea what he/she ate that day.
      Please contact me at the restaurant. Marco

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