Silver City is a remote town, located at least an hour's drive from the nearest interstate highway and two-and-a-half hours from the nearest large city. It's a place one goes to get away to enjoy beautiful scenery, quaint shops and to relax in the thin mountain air.
When my wife and I recently drove there from our home in Southern California, our expectations for sophisticated cuisine were non-existent. As a pair of foodies, we resigned ourselves to enjoy all the town has to offer, but fine dining was not on our agenda--that is until we came upon a restaurant called Shevek & Co.
We went there mid-week, the first week of July 2013. What we found was an owner/chef who is passionate about enlightening the palates of wayfarers and locals through exciting Mediterranean-style cuisine in which flavor and nuance are the stars of every single dish.
Because the menu is so diverse and eclectic, we opted for the Chef's selection of tapas. We wanted to sample as much of what Shevek has to offer as possible. Personally served by Chef Shevek himself, we went with his recommendations on which tapas to try. After focusing on our culinary preferences, he headed for the kitchen to oversee preparation of our meals.
First out was a soup of our choice. My lovely wife had a rich, savory seafood bisque and I the cooled cherry soup. How can I describe my soup? It was chilled perfectly and was a creamy burgundy color with an enticing fragrance. Floating in it were plump, sweet locally grown pie cherries. The mixture was made from three different wines and subtle spices that creted a harmonious medley of sweetness and refreshment on a hot summer evening. Left to my own devices, I would have had a gallon of this luxurious fruity mixture.
Next, the tapas began a parade to our table, with an explanation of how each was prepared from Chef Shevek. First was a duck dish, spiced in a middle-eastern Mediterranean style with mint, herbs and a rich honey glaze. The duck was cooked to perfection and the flavorings were subtle and satisfying. Next came a cold calamari dish to offset the heavier duck. Light, tangy and tender, the calamari was among the best I've had anywhere in the world. Then came a beef dish prepared using Lebanese-style seasonings and herbs that are typically used for roasting lamb. The technique works perfectly, with the exotic seasonings coming to the forefront without overpowering the tender perfectly cooked beef. As our last dish we were presented a lovely Portuguese chorizo that featured overtones of smoke and peppery spiciness. For dessert, we had the dark chocolate mousse, which again highlighted the rich Belgian chocolate without any cloying sweetness. Of course, our dishes were accompanied by a flight of wines selected by Chef Shevek, and each were paired perfectly with our dishes.
A grand feast such as this would result in a weighty tab in New York, San Francisco or Chicago. In Silver City, it is a bargain at under $100 for the two of us.
How or why Chef Shevek came to Silver City is a mystery to me. He could have successful restaurants in any city he chose. We are very glad we came across his bistro in Silver City. It was indeed an unexpected and pleasant surprise.
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