Silver Fork, a Library Restaurant with Global Flavors

We all have a personal story to tell, some of us more literally through written words and oral traditions, and some of us through more creative avenues. Take Mark and Melody French, a couple who strive for excellence and celebration in their story through the means of food. Their story is one of global reach, experimental tastes, and an eye (and heart) for detail at their restaurant, The Silver Fork. I arrived in the town of Manchester Village, Vermont, on a brisk autumn evening, where I discovered it. The restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows granted a peek of the cozy couples and families dining inside. Once I found my way in, I experienced Silver Fork’s curated-yet-homey atmosphere.

At the hostess stand was a woman with flowing blonde hair and a warm smile, and as I introduced myself, I learned it was none other than Melody herself! We chatted while she led me to the bar area, where I would be wined and dined for the next hour. Melody explained that the restaurant’s site used to be a library before she and her husband bought the building. The kitchen previously was the old stacks! (As a book lover, I gushed over this fact).

One of the walls featured articles about the duo in a variety of languages, all with rave reviews. I knew this was going to be a dining experience out of this world!

After I was seated, I watched the bartender shake up drinks with vigor and grace. I was pleasantly surprised by the diverse selections on the menu, which included appetizers, cocktails, entrees, and desserts.

After some long menu consideration and chats with the bartender, I placed my order and nestled into my chair. The bartender suggested the Siren Song cocktail (which I happened to be eyeing), one of Silver Fork’s signature drinks. Crafted with tequila, creme de violette, lemon, egg whites, Wolfpeach, and magical mermaid dust (dried rose petals and sea salt). I watched as the bartender poured the purple liquor, layered the egg whites, and shook the mermaid dust onto the center of my violet drink. On the first sip I was taken aback by many thoughts: “It is herbal yet salty, yet floral, yet sweet…” I kept sipping and discovering new tastes. The foamy top (egg whites) were perfectly smooth with micro-bubbles and evoked a sense of the sea. The addition of creme de violette not only added the floral notes, but a delightful lavender hue that was impossible to not keep admiring. Salty notes of the mermaid dust tickled my nose, adding an unexpected variation to the experience of the Siren Song.

Not soon after sipping on my amethyst-colored beverage, out came a dazzling food runner with an equally dazzling dish.

Crusty bread reaching the sky, puffed souffle, and an itty-bitty dish with a mauve jam. This was the all-popular Goat Cheese Souffle With Chutney & Homemade Melba Toast. I broke the thin shell top of the souffle to reveal a whipped goat cheese center steaming up with scents of tartness from the goat milk and its cheesiness. I spread the souffle onto the Melba toast alongside the fig chutney. Sweet, tart, fruity, and savory flavors danced over my taste buds as a jazzy tune floated through the air. Before long it was gone, and I sipped on my cocktail while people watching, as couples and families shared meals.

The food runner appeared in a blink of the eye with my entree: a savory Mushroom Strudel. When ordering I wasn’t too sure what a strudel actually was, but the bartender explained it was a puff pastry with a filling inside, and this time around it happened to be a mushroom filling with lion’s mane, shiitake, and other locally grown mushrooms from Vermont. It was the special of the evening, so I had to order it, and once I took my first bite I was glad I had. The strudel was flakey and deliciously buttery, while the mushrooms added a mouthwatering umami flavor that was just as (if not more) savory as meat. Alongside the strudel was a bed of mashed potatoes and green beans for a nice balance to the dish, along with a full-bodied sauce to tie all the elements together. As a massive fan of mushrooms, this dish could easily make me a vegetarian if I could eat it all the time!

On to the sweet finale… Caribbean Bread Pudding Souffle, which I ordered 30 minutes in advance so the kitchen would have time to prepare it. When it was brought to me I audibly gasped, to which the food runner replied, “That’s a fantastic reaction!” I was in awe of the presentation: the aroma of spicy cinnamon floating into my nose, caramelized bananas and a sprinkle of sliced almonds that looked like stars. Accompanying the dessert was a Coconut Creme Anglaise in a real coconut! I scooped some of the souffle onto a dish since a puff of steam escaped when I started digging in. I drizzled the coconut creme and took my first bite, which was a heavenly experience that was gooey and sticky thanks to the bananas, raisins (to add that classic sweetness), and toasted sliced almonds for phenomenal texture. A slice of pure indulgence – and I could not finish it all. I got it to go, and enjoyed a few more minutes with my Siren Song. A man in an apron with a kind face peered out into the dining room, and I recognized him to be Mark, the head chef and mastermind behind all of the exquisite dishes I savored that evening. I thanked him for the hospitality and scrumptious experience before heading on my way.

Melody and Mark French have made Silver Fork their life’s work – and I was beyond thankful to share a part of their world, and their story of all-embracing flavors, which they offer every evening. Stop by this remarkable restaurant at 48 West Road, Manchester Village, VT 05254.