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Silver Palm/Matchbox
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  • Silver Palm/Matchbox

    Post #1 - March 25th, 2006, 12:11 pm
    Post #1 - March 25th, 2006, 12:11 pm Post #1 - March 25th, 2006, 12:11 pm
    My mom is in town this weekend, so for our first evening out we went to Silver Palm. First, of course, we stopped at the Matchbox, which wasn't too crowded, relatively speaking. Of course, crowded at the Matchbox only takes about 16 people...

    My mother's town in Kentucky only recently became wet (she refers to it as "damp" since only restaurants can serve alcohol; there are no bars there, officially)so I wanted her to experience the heaven that is a Matchbox cocktail. She had a Maker's Mark manhattan and I had a vodka gimlet, both of which were perfect, as usual. And of course, in this day of weak $10 cocktails, a bargain at $6 apiece.

    It is almost impossible to linger over a drink at the Matchbox, as they are really too good to be drunk slowly, so we soon headed next door to its sister establishment, the Silver Palm. We sat in the train car, which has been remarkably preserved from its days in service on the railroads. The chairs are surprisingly comfortable, the lighting is nice without being too dim, and the volume of the Rolling Stones on the stereo was just right. We ordered a cheddar burger and a duckbreast club sandwich to share, both opting for roasted vegetables on the side instead of fries; my mom got an Abita Turbodog to show support for our Louisiana friends, I got a Fin du Monde to show support for...um...tasty high alcohol content beers. When our food arrived they had already split the sandwiches onto four little plates, which was really nice. The sandwiches themselves were great. The cheddar burger was done just the way we had asked, nice and red on the inside with a nice bit of char on the outside. It came on a good, substantial bun, and the cheese was copious and nicely melted. The duck club (easier to get into than the Stork Club, so I hear :wink:) had a nice thick layer of juicy-but-not-too-greasy duck breast, some good bacon, and three slices of good toasty bread. Both sandwiches had non-mayo slaw on the side with a slice of pickled tomato. Condiments on the table included ketchup, a strong, grainy mustard, and sriracha sauce. The generous sides of roast vegetables were divine, as usual, including beets, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, and rutabegas. I continued to eat them long after I was full.

    Service was quick and friendly, the beers were good, the train car was fun and comfy (and smoke free, unlike the bar), the food was high-quality and definitely filling, and our bill came to $33 with a big tip included. A very good meal altogether.
    Anthony Bourdain on Barack Obama: "He's from Chicago, so he knows what good food is."
  • Post #2 - July 12th, 2007, 6:58 am
    Post #2 - July 12th, 2007, 6:58 am Post #2 - July 12th, 2007, 6:58 am
    LTH,

    Took a visitor from Los Angeles, whose main Chicago experience has been straight up tourist, a little off the beaten bath yesterday, the one-two punch of Matchbox and Coalfire Pizza. A most excellent introduction to there is more to Chicago than Michigan Ave, Rush/Oak street.

    Matchbox drinks were, as Geli say, "perfect, as usual" but the surprise, at least to me who has never eaten at the Silver Palm, was the calamari we ordered as a bar snack*. Generous portion of light tender crisp greaseless squid body and leg pieces served with a couple of dipping sauces. Just a few bites of calamari has put the Silver Palm high on my try list.

    Coalfire was spot-on, they seem to have hit a steady groove both food and service wise.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    *One can order Silver Palm food at the Matchbox.

    Matchbox
    770 N Milwaukee Ave
    Chicago, IL 60622
    312-666-9292

    Silver Palm
    768 N Milwaukee Ave
    Chicago, IL 60622
    312-666-9322

    Coal Fire
    1321 W. Grand Ave
    Chicago, IL
    312-226-2625
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #3 - July 12th, 2007, 7:54 am
    Post #3 - July 12th, 2007, 7:54 am Post #3 - July 12th, 2007, 7:54 am
    Ask for a side of the homemade salsa. It's addictingly good. It's a tie for salsa for me, Hollywood Diner or this one. I crave them both. The apple pie at the Silver Palm is insane. They make it with bacon grease.
  • Post #4 - July 12th, 2007, 9:14 am
    Post #4 - July 12th, 2007, 9:14 am Post #4 - July 12th, 2007, 9:14 am
    nicinchic wrote:The apple pie at the Silver Palm is insane. They make it with bacon grease.


    Wouldn't bacon grease impart an unpleasant bacony flavor to the pie crust?
  • Post #5 - July 12th, 2007, 9:28 am
    Post #5 - July 12th, 2007, 9:28 am Post #5 - July 12th, 2007, 9:28 am
    aschie30 wrote:Wouldn't bacon grease impart an unpleasant bacony flavor to the pie crust?

    Aschie,

    Unpleasant bacony flavor? Hard to imagine. :shock:

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #6 - July 12th, 2007, 9:42 am
    Post #6 - July 12th, 2007, 9:42 am Post #6 - July 12th, 2007, 9:42 am
    It's hard to describe and when I smelled it for the first time, I thought, I'm not going to like this, but I couldn't stop eating it.
  • Post #7 - July 12th, 2007, 10:59 am
    Post #7 - July 12th, 2007, 10:59 am Post #7 - July 12th, 2007, 10:59 am
    Every Christmas Eve, as a "surprise" for my grandmother, my mom makes her mom's favorite cookies--ginger snaps made with bacon grease instead of butter or shortening. Hard to keep it a secret when you're cooking bacon at midnight, but it's a tradition. They've got a nifty name, but I'm drawing a momentary blank... :?
    Anthony Bourdain on Barack Obama: "He's from Chicago, so he knows what good food is."
  • Post #8 - July 12th, 2007, 11:04 am
    Post #8 - July 12th, 2007, 11:04 am Post #8 - July 12th, 2007, 11:04 am
    Is the name "Pure Concentrated Awesome?" 'Cause that's what it sounds like to me...
  • Post #9 - July 12th, 2007, 11:29 am
    Post #9 - July 12th, 2007, 11:29 am Post #9 - July 12th, 2007, 11:29 am
    When I was a kid, I had a friend whose mom made popcorn with bacon grease. As a kid I thought it was weird, but maybe I would have a better appreciation for it now.

    As to the subject of the thread, when the Silver Palm first opened, being a Burlington Zephyr fan, I was pretty excited. However, my first couple of experiences there were rather disappointing food-wise, although I loved the train car. I largely ignored the place for a couple of years, until a friend of mine insisted I try it again. He claimed the Silver Palm now serves one of the best burgers in the city. I followed his advice, and I am glad I did. He was absolutely right. Unfortunately, I think the rocky start damaged the restaurant's reputation. Anyhow, if anybody else was underwhelmed by their original experiences at the Silver Palm, I highly recommend you give it another shot.
  • Post #10 - July 12th, 2007, 12:26 pm
    Post #10 - July 12th, 2007, 12:26 pm Post #10 - July 12th, 2007, 12:26 pm
    geli wrote:Every Christmas Eve, as a "surprise" for my grandmother, my mom makes her mom's favorite cookies--ginger snaps made with bacon grease instead of butter or shortening. Hard to keep it a secret when you're cooking bacon at midnight, but it's a tradition. They've got a nifty name, but I'm drawing a momentary blank... :?


    You so, so, so cannot post stuff like that on this forum without a recipe...I have another poster's secret Velveeta Fudge recipe which, paired with your bacon grease cookies, sound to me like a good finish for an all-cheese and bacon dinner...tell your Mom I'll come over and do chores if need be...
  • Post #11 - July 13th, 2007, 12:36 pm
    Post #11 - July 13th, 2007, 12:36 pm Post #11 - July 13th, 2007, 12:36 pm
    There was a recent "Save this restaurant" notice in TOC about the Silver Palm. Business has apparently slowed recently due to all of the construction on Milwaukee. I hope it works out for them -- I'm a big fan.

    That being said, unless you specify, their Manhattan comes with brandy, not bourbon. The horror!
  • Post #12 - July 13th, 2007, 12:40 pm
    Post #12 - July 13th, 2007, 12:40 pm Post #12 - July 13th, 2007, 12:40 pm
    danimalarkey wrote:There was a recent "Save this restaurant" notice in TOC about the Silver Palm. Business has apparently slowed recently due to all of the construction on Milwaukee. I hope it works out for them -- I'm a big fan.

    That being said, unless you specify, their Manhattan comes with brandy, not bourbon. The horror!


    Interesting. I haven't had that experience, but night before last, the server did ask me what I wanted in it, and I did specify bourbon, bitters, no cherry juice, etc. Odd. Wasn't sure why she asked, but I guess that was why.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #13 - July 13th, 2007, 3:56 pm
    Post #13 - July 13th, 2007, 3:56 pm Post #13 - July 13th, 2007, 3:56 pm
    At the risk of tipping this toward the "something to drink" forum, I must stand up in defense of the brandy Manhattan as a regional specialty.

    Wisconsin is a major brandy state, rumor has it the largest per capita consumer (actually not true -- Washington DC passed it in recent years). Brandy Manhattans are a mainstay of the supper club scene in small towns across the state. My family used to own several bars in a northern mining town, and my father's elderly bartender cousin once sweetly taught me his methods for producing "the" family drink. I've heard stories of various other relatives (Italians) making brandy up north during Prohibition.

    I'm a bourbon fan, too, and feel no need commit either way. But I do think the brandy Manhattan is quite excellent, especially on a chilly night (on occasion I prefer mine on the way to "perfect," finding the dry vermouth a nice balance to the brandy, but that depends on the day).

    Even Wikipedia's entry on the Manhattan notes the Wisconsin brandy variation (I didn't plant it).

    Until doing a bit of research on this, I had no idea of Korbel's grip on the WI market. They ship about 1/3 of their brandy to the state, and the brand far leads WI consumption (my dad included). In the mid-1960s, according to the Milwaukee Journal, WI consumed 49% of the national market in brandy.

    That's not to suggest that the brandy Manhattan is superior, only that it's just the kind of regional variation that many readers of this forum relish.

    I'm prepared for the horrified responses. Maybe I'll curb the sting by reading with a nice brandy Manhattan in hand.


    PS:
    A thread on Manhattans is:
    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=8774
  • Post #14 - July 16th, 2007, 9:25 am
    Post #14 - July 16th, 2007, 9:25 am Post #14 - July 16th, 2007, 9:25 am
    As a burger lover, I will agree that Silver Palm does it right. It is one of my favorites. They actually do pretty much everything really well, and the atmosphere is fun and different. It's not good for a group of more than 4 people though.
  • Post #15 - July 16th, 2007, 11:57 am
    Post #15 - July 16th, 2007, 11:57 am Post #15 - July 16th, 2007, 11:57 am
    jcat wrote:At the risk of tipping this toward the "something to drink" forum, I must stand up in defense of the brandy Manhattan as a regional specialty...

    I'm a bourbon fan, too, and feel no need commit either way. But I do think the brandy Manhattan is quite excellent, especially on a chilly night (on occasion I prefer mine on the way to "perfect," finding the dry vermouth a nice balance to the brandy, but that depends on the day)...


    That's not to suggest that the brandy Manhattan is superior, only that it's just the kind of regional variation that many readers of this forum relish.


    Interestingly, the bourbon Manhattan is also a variation from the original recipe Manhattan, which calls for rye whiskey. So, to each their own!
    ...Pedro
  • Post #16 - July 16th, 2007, 12:28 pm
    Post #16 - July 16th, 2007, 12:28 pm Post #16 - July 16th, 2007, 12:28 pm
    David Hammond wrote:
    danimalarkey wrote:There was a recent "Save this restaurant" notice in TOC about the Silver Palm. Business has apparently slowed recently due to all of the construction on Milwaukee. I hope it works out for them -- I'm a big fan.

    That being said, unless you specify, their Manhattan comes with brandy, not bourbon. The horror!


    Interesting. I haven't had that experience, but night before last, the server did ask me what I wanted in it, and I did specify bourbon, bitters, no cherry juice, etc. Odd. Wasn't sure why she asked, but I guess that was why.


    Also, she probably wanted to know whether you wanted sweet or dry vermouth, or a perfect manhattan. Having had many of them at Matchbox I think they make the one of the best examples I have had in Chicago, although the sugar rimmed glass may also help in that regard...
  • Post #17 - January 10th, 2008, 8:40 am
    Post #17 - January 10th, 2008, 8:40 am Post #17 - January 10th, 2008, 8:40 am
    As a long time fan of Silver Palm, I must say that I was disappointed last night after dining there. It just didn't seem like the same restaurant that we have been enjoying all these years. At around 7:45PM we were one of only 2 tables occupied in what used to be a cozy, romantic spot. That remained the case throughout our nearly 2 hour dinner. Lighting was changed, and where I used to have a tough time reading the menu there are now harsh white halogen downlights. Pisco sours were characteristically excellent, as always. Waitress was friendly, but just didn't seem to have the "oomph" that our old regular server always had. Felt more like she was killing time.

    Speaking of time, in a nearly empty restaurant, it took almost twenty minutes for our Caesar's salad to arrive. It was actually pretty good. Although I missed the visible anchovies that used to be served on it, the dressing had a definite tang of anchovy that I appreciated. Then it was another twenty minutes before our entrees came out. My sweetheart's walleye (which she orders every time) was broiled skin-side down this time, making the skin into sort of a slimy glue. The fish itself she declared fine otherwise. My perch was good, but not the "excellent" that I would have normally declared it. The usual oven roasted root vegetables were done as large juliennes rather than the diced version I remembered, and they were tasty but just didn't work as well.

    We had been discussing the sense of mild disappointment we were feeling, so we asked our server if there was somebody new in the kitchen. She replied that there had been a few different people working in there recently, and that she had never seen our specific cook before that night. She also said that she had heard about a chef that used to be there (before she worked there) that everyone raved about. That was not really what we wanted to hear. We had always felt like the place was "our little secret" and we didn't want to tell people about it because we didn't want to see it overwhelmed. As we walked away, we decided that now we didn't want to tell people about it because it just wasn't that good any more. It's kind of a shame.
    ...Pedro
  • Post #18 - January 10th, 2008, 10:08 am
    Post #18 - January 10th, 2008, 10:08 am Post #18 - January 10th, 2008, 10:08 am
    YoYoPedro-

    Were they enforcing the smoking ban in the bar when you were there?
  • Post #19 - January 10th, 2008, 10:14 am
    Post #19 - January 10th, 2008, 10:14 am Post #19 - January 10th, 2008, 10:14 am
    aschie30 wrote:YoYoPedro-

    Were they enforcing the smoking ban in the bar when you were there?


    We were in the train car, where I've never noticed anyone smoking in the past or last night. But usually I'm assaulted by smoke as we leave, walking through the bar area. I did not feel that way last night. But I can't swear that nobody was smoking. However, in the past few days I've been happily surprised going into two of my favorite bars (Emmitt's Pub @ Grand & Halsted and Hackney's Printer's Row) and noticing not one lick of smoke. Makes it a lot nicer out there!
    ...Pedro
  • Post #20 - January 10th, 2008, 12:00 pm
    Post #20 - January 10th, 2008, 12:00 pm Post #20 - January 10th, 2008, 12:00 pm
    They are enforcing the smoking ban in both the Silver Palm and the Matchbox.
    Anthony Bourdain on Barack Obama: "He's from Chicago, so he knows what good food is."
  • Post #21 - January 11th, 2008, 8:35 am
    Post #21 - January 11th, 2008, 8:35 am Post #21 - January 11th, 2008, 8:35 am
    Had a drink last night at matchbox. IMHO, cute, but not worth a destination for a drink.
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #22 - January 11th, 2008, 8:42 am
    Post #22 - January 11th, 2008, 8:42 am Post #22 - January 11th, 2008, 8:42 am
    jpschust wrote:Had a drink last night at matchbox. IMHO, cute, but not worth a destination for a drink.


    As a destination, it's better in the summer when you can chill outside. But in terms of drinks, their margaritas and pisco sours are both very well executed. As someone who loves a good pisco sour, I have to say that there are very few places in the city that even offer one, let alone a great one that rivals the ones in Peru.
    ...Pedro
  • Post #23 - January 11th, 2008, 8:52 am
    Post #23 - January 11th, 2008, 8:52 am Post #23 - January 11th, 2008, 8:52 am
    YoYoPedro wrote:
    jpschust wrote:Had a drink last night at matchbox. IMHO, cute, but not worth a destination for a drink.


    As a destination, it's better in the summer when you can chill outside. But in terms of drinks, their margaritas and pisco sours are both very well executed. As someone who loves a good pisco sour, I have to say that there are very few places in the city that even offer one, let alone a great one that rivals the ones in Peru.
    Executing a good margarita isn't particularly rocket science (I can think of about 3-4 different places off the top of my head that make solid ones). You're certainly right about the pisco sour- I can only think of a few places that make really great ones (Violet hour is one of them). It wasn't bad by any means- it's a cute bar, but no place I'd really go out of my way for. If we're in the area in the summer, I'd go there to get a drink if we were nearby- we were at Coal Fire last night so we were close.
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #24 - January 11th, 2008, 9:05 am
    Post #24 - January 11th, 2008, 9:05 am Post #24 - January 11th, 2008, 9:05 am
    jpschust wrote:Executing a good margarita isn't particularly rocket science (I can think of about 3-4 different places off the top of my head that make solid ones).


    I enjoy a nice margarita execution as much as the next guy, but I've witnessed many that would most certainly be considered cruel and unusual punishment. :lol:
    ...Pedro
  • Post #25 - January 11th, 2008, 9:47 am
    Post #25 - January 11th, 2008, 9:47 am Post #25 - January 11th, 2008, 9:47 am
    Yeah, that can be said also for pizza, bread, steaks, BBQ. Not rocket science by any means. Some people have all the luck, I guess, because I can't think of many places that make nearly as good a margarita.
  • Post #26 - January 11th, 2008, 9:52 am
    Post #26 - January 11th, 2008, 9:52 am Post #26 - January 11th, 2008, 9:52 am
    Manhattans, sidecars and negronis also good @ The Matchbox. Could The Violet Hour do those as good or better than the Matchbox? Perhaps. But sometimes I'm not in the mood for all the pomp and circumstance at The Violet Hour (as much as I like the place).

    (By the way, jpschust, you're the first person I've heard describe the Matchbox as "cute." Dumpy and cramped are the usual words used. :wink: )
  • Post #27 - January 11th, 2008, 1:03 pm
    Post #27 - January 11th, 2008, 1:03 pm Post #27 - January 11th, 2008, 1:03 pm
    Had a drink last night at matchbox. IMHO, cute, but not worth a destination for a drink.


    Out of curiosity, what kind of drink did you have?
    Anthony Bourdain on Barack Obama: "He's from Chicago, so he knows what good food is."
  • Post #28 - January 11th, 2008, 1:23 pm
    Post #28 - January 11th, 2008, 1:23 pm Post #28 - January 11th, 2008, 1:23 pm
    I, for one, love the cramped, dumpiness of Matchbox and I can't wait to go back now that there's no smoking. To me Matchbox is just a "regular, neighborhood joint" and, as such, serves really great drinks (never had the pisco sour, but I'll try it next time).

    we were at Coal Fire last night so we were close.


    We were at CF last night too - after a job (9:30 or so) so we were still in our chef coats. Easy to pick out. When were you there?
    FIG Catering, For Intimate Gatherings
    Our website
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    molly@FIGcatering.com
  • Post #29 - January 11th, 2008, 1:56 pm
    Post #29 - January 11th, 2008, 1:56 pm Post #29 - January 11th, 2008, 1:56 pm
    figmolly wrote:I, for one, love the cramped, dumpiness of Matchbox and I can't wait to go back now that there's no smoking. To me Matchbox is just a "regular, neighborhood joint" and, as such, serves really great drinks (never had the pisco sour, but I'll try it next time).

    we were at Coal Fire last night so we were close.


    We were at CF last night too - after a job (9:30 or so) so we were still in our chef coats. Easy to pick out. When were you there?
    We were there earlier actually, and we forgot the bottles of wine so diet cokes for everyone. I agree with your assessment of Matchbox.
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #30 - January 12th, 2010, 12:22 pm
    Post #30 - January 12th, 2010, 12:22 pm Post #30 - January 12th, 2010, 12:22 pm
    This restaurant/lounge has been on my short list for a long time and with a need to treat a good friend to a nice dinner the trip was made.

    What a cool place! :) I am also a railfan and having dinner in a restored rail car was a bonus treat.

    We arrived about 6:30 pm om a Sunday and the place was comfortably full. A nice crowd in the bar area and about half the tables full in the dining car. Seated right away, menu's in hand and drink orders in.

    There has been some attention paid to the Three Piggies sandwich and this was my must order for the night...

    Image
    Three Piggies Sandwich as served

    Image
    Three Piggies Sandwich assembled

    Boy, oh boy! Taking about porky goodness. It took me a few minutes to figure out my approach on this one almost resorting to a deconstruction but in the end I gave it a good smashing down.

    A good balance to the three meats. The onion ring topping could of been left off as it, for the most part, just added height to this festival of meat.

    My Bride has been on a Bleu Cheese Burger kick as of late...

    Image
    Bleu Cheese Burger as served

    Image
    Bleu Cheese Burger as served

    ... to which she enjoyed. Just the right amount of Bleu Cheese and the burger cooked a perfect medium rare. The vegetable side was nicely stacked with nice grilling.

    My friend looked past the sandwich menu and got the Pork Chop dinner...

    Image

    A nice sized chop. Flavorful, juicy with a nice taste of wood smoke from the grilling. The potatoes had some vegetables mixed in as well did the rich and savory gravy. I had a taste and I am eager to give it another try.

    As mentioned before the onion rings were off the scale...

    Image

    The slightly spicy and creamy sauce on the side complemented the rings nicely. Light breading and not too greasy.

    By the way, The Silver Palm mixes an awesome adult beverage! My Whiskey Sour, made from scratch, set a high standard of which the others will be judged and even My Brides simple Perfect Manhattan had her proclaiming it to be the best she has ever had.

    A great place for great food and drinks. What more could you ask?
    "Very good... but not my favorite." ~ Johnny Depp as Roux the Gypsy in Chocolat

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