As I recounted earlier, Friday night was the time to celebrate my birthday. My lovely girlfriend Donna treated me to a movie, Inception, which turned out to be good but not great. That would become a theme for the evening as we moved on to our final destination, the hoity-toity Silver Moon Supper Club. This is the one fancy-pants place in the area I had not dined at. It had gotten good reviews from people I know who had eaten there, and as it was the one place I hadn't tried, I said why not.
It is right in the heart of downtown Fargo, which is kinda cool. The downtown area is in year four of Fargo's 900-year revitalization plan and things are going well so far. There's still the threat of hobo attack down by the old train station, but that's become pretty rare. All in all, they're trying so I have to extend some credit where it's due. But back to the Silver Moon.
This restaurant is billed as "simply the finest dining experience in the world" (or something similar) in its ads. Needless to say, my expectations were high. The Silver Moon uses a Chinese restaurant approach to its menu, allowing you to choose one from columns A,B and C for one price, two from each column for another price, or simply pick anything you want from anywhere all willy-nilly at ala carte rates. Interesting approach and it works fine, I think.
Donna and I like to order different things so we can each try the others' dishes and this was mostly no exception. I had one fancy kind of salad and she had another; hers was clearly better, and quite good. I have no idea what it was called. Mine was a strawberry and lettuce concoction which was fine but nothing too exciting. So if you go there and want a good salad, ask for the one that isn't the strawberry one. That will give you a 33% chance of getting the good one, as there were four to choose from. You could try asking for the one that Donna had that one time, but I don't think we made that much of an impression on the staff during our visit, so, you know, it may not work.
Next we both tried a lobster and crab bisque which some lady in the bar called the chef out from the kitchen to rave about. I'm not kidding. When we heard this, Donna and I were all, "we've got to try summa that" and we were poised to get all orgasmy when it hit our pallettes right in the G- and A-spots, respectively. It was not to be, sadly. While it was really very good (honestly!) it also more closely resembled a pretty good tomato soup, albeit one with actual fresh basil as a garnish, with a few chunks of seafood for show. Really good, just not "I simply must extend my personal compliments to the chef" good. And I've called a chef out of the kitchen to rave about a chili dog before.
Next up were some fish tacos (for Donna) and blackened scallops (for me). My portion was pretty small, but I can't lie; the scallops were really good and cooked just right. I have it on good authority from Donna that the fish tacos were good, though I can't personally attest; they were gone before I could ask to sample them. Happy birthday to me!
Our last course was beef. I hesitated to order this, but my earlier courses were so seafood heavy I did it any way. I kind of wish I hadn't. This is not a knock on the Silver Moon, but I have officially learned my lesson: if you want to eat beef (and pay obscene amounts of money for it) just go to Norman's and be done with it. There is no slab of beef of which I am aware that can hold a candle to Norman's ribeye. I've eaten beef everywhere in the area, I've eaten it in the Twin Cities, I've eaten it in South Dakota and I've eaten it in Boston and none of them are as good. It sounds strange to say that the best steak I can find anywhere is in Fargo, but there it is.
However, with all this said, I haven't spoken of the staff. We had a couple cocktails at the bar beforehand, and let me tell you that the barkeep there knows how to make a mutha-truckin' old fashioned. Just really excellent. Tip-the-bartender-like-money-doesn't-mean-anything-to-you good. I had a couple more (hey, I wasn't driving) and wow. Just really excellent. Go there now and have one. Then go to Norman's and get a steak.
What took the cake though was our waiter. Donna described him best, saying he looked like when he leaves work he goes home to the renaissance fairs. It wasn't the pony tail or the dark eyes, though these things certainly added to the vibe. It was the way he kept slipping antiquated verbiage into our conversation that cemented the image. He used words like "mayhap" and "perchance". He kept calling me "my good sir" and Donna "milady" and "gentle madam". I briefly contemplated the possibility that those drinks had opened up a wormhole right there in the restaurant and I had been transported to 1629, but discarded it. They didn't have vinyl seats back then.
All in all, I'd say the the Silver Moon ranks somewhere below the upper echelon of Fargo restaurants, and I'd (sadly) have to rank them below the second tier when you factor in costs. The food was good -- in some instances very good -- but I can't say the entire meal was worth the price.
All this downerism and negativity may lead you to think I'm crapping all over Donna's efforts to show me a good time on my birthday, but nothing could be further from the truth. The movie may not have been great, but I really wanted to see it. The food may not have lived up to expectations, but I absolutely love trying new restaurants, especially when they offer something I haven't seen before. And really, it's the only place in town where you can 1.) get a first-rate old fashioned and, 2.) get waited on by an actual pre-Enlightenment commoner.
It was a birthday where I got to get dressed up, do what I wanted, experience new things, drink as much as I could and not drive myself home. It was an incredible evening and I have Donna to thank for it.