What the Fork: The Silk Road
By Janna Geier and Amber Shaffer
This week, Amber and Janna hit The Silk Road in Missoula – just before it closed.
The Silk Road has been a facet of the Hip Strip in downtown Missoula for seven years, and will have its last day Oct. 1. The owners will be focusing on their line of cooking sauces and spices, as well as their catering business.
So why would What The Fork review a place that’s closing its doors, you might be asking yourself? Well, we couldn’t let Janna miss out on experiencing the deliciousness that is Silk Road! Since they will continue as a catering business, you can still enjoy their fabulous food. Just book them for your next event.
What we love about The Silk Road:
Amber: The Silk Road is one of the first tapas restaurants I had ever been to; now it seems they are everywhere. I loved getting to try a little bit of everything, with the menu changing seasonally, but always keeping some old favorites in rotation.
I have always appreciated the knowledgeable and friendly staff. When we would debate between items, the servers would give details about each dish and also recommend a wine to pair it with. Over the years, you recognize some of the same servers from your first visit, which says a lot about the business and its owners in a town with as many restaurants as Missoula.
Simple dishes such as the pork schnitzel or the Togarashi skewer have so much flavor, you understand why their spice business is doing so well! I will not, however, miss dinners here with my husband, who absolutely refused to share any of his six or seven choices.
“If you want mushrooms that’s fine. Just get your own because I am not sharing, even if it is our anniversary!” After having the mushrooms though, I totally understand.
Janna: Let me start out by saying I don’t know whether to be mad at Amber for not introducing me to The Silk Road sooner or to cry because they are now closing. Anyway, I digress…
The Silk Road satisfies every one of your senses. The décor, sounds, smells and, of course, TASTES of this establishment take you around the world in one visit. The staff members are ready to make your dining experience pleasant and are happy to answer any questions, right down to explaining the dishes and suggesting wine pairings.
With that said, the staff member who stood out the most to me was the owner. As I sat enjoying the smells and sounds, I watched him go from table to table, shaking hands or giving hugs to his longtime customers. What I witnessed was that he had built lifelong friendships with his clients and that these relationships went way beyond the food.
Ambers favorites: Crab dip – I have attempted this one at home but it just isn’t quite the same. Tonight our server offered extra pitas so we could scrape the pan, and trust me- we did!
Pork schnitzel: That breading is perfection!
Mushrooms: Not everyone can make fungi a ‘MUST ORDER’ menu item.
New favorite: Bacon beignets – honestly, we knew we wanted the calzone and only chose the beignets because we wanted to order two items for variety. The beignets blew the calzone out of the water! The bacon was a perfect addition to the dessert! It was not overwhelming as it so often is these days as we try to add bacon to anything and everything (I’m looking at you bacon chap-stick).
The raspberry was a wonderful compliment to the maple/bacon of the beignets as well. It’s perfect to share with a friend over a glass of wine, or if didn’t make it in before they close, at your next catered event!
Janna’s favorites: Pork Shnitzel – coming from a person who has raised pork for consumption in the past and is known to brag about the quality of meat coming out of our pens, I have to say that I am admitting defeat on this.
I have never in my life had a piece of pork melt in my mouth like this one. Topped with a rich and creamy cognac sauce, it’s definitely one of my favorites.
Sherried Mushroom Saute: I guess I’m a bit of a fungi-freak. This dish is not your run of the mill sautéed mushrooms though. Tangy, sweet mushrooms cooked just long enough… FABULOUS. I would highly recommend this to any mushroom lover.
I have to agree with Amber on the Bacon Beignets. With bacon going into everything these days (vodka…ew, gross!), it’s easy to come across a number of epic fails with bacon creations. This dessert was probably one of the best I have ever had. The bacon paired with maple and finished with a berry sauce is a combination that turned this dish into a masterpiece!
About Amber and Janna:
We are two Missoula girls who love exploring the food scene in the Missoula area!
Amber: Having grown up in Missoula, it has been fun to see new restaurants opening up around town. It’s a tough market – even some of my favorite places haven’t made it (Missoula Salad Company – I still miss you!) I love going on adventures both close to home and abroad. I have enjoyed trips to England, France, Switzerland and Mexico.
When traveling I try to keep an open mind and will try anything the locals think I should try. I’ve been most pleasantly surprised (Foie gras in Paris? Delicious! Who knew?) I come from a large family who places a lot of importance in sharing meals together, and that has spread to my relationships with friends as well. I’m excited to share our experiences at both old favorites and new restaurants in the Missoula area.
Janna: Growing up in a small town like Helena, options for “great food” were limited. Don’t get me wrong, Helena has some great restaurants, but they are somewhat limited in variety. After graduating high school, I traveled around, living in different places including California, Colorado, Alaska, Arizona, and North Dakota. My travels allowed me to become a bit of a “foodie.”
I’ve found everything from the best hot wings and rattlesnake (…. yes, I said rattlesnake) in Phoenix, to the freshest and best tasting seafood at Humpy’s in Anchorage. Trying new food and new places has become one of my favorite pastimes, and I enjoy sharing the experiences with family and friends. I’m anxious to continue this tradition here in Missoula. I want to hear from my fellow foodies about your favorite places for me to review!
See more photos from our adventures on Instagram @406forks. Want us to come try out your restaurant? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach us #406Foodies. Thanks for joining us on our foodie travels around Missoula!