Smile Politely

Beautiful fine dining at Silvercreek

When my wife and I want to treat ourselves to fine dining, Silvercreek in Urbana is one of our favorites. Their food is remarkably fresh and consistently excellent. They also have some very budget friendly options.

Whether you are dining al fresco or in their greenhouse (the business was a nursery before it became a restaurant), the atmosphere is wonderful, and the pace of the meal relaxed. Silvercreek also typically has live music outside which adds more fun to the dining experience. The water features, plants, and flowers in the greenhouse make for a serene setting, and if you choose to dine al fresco, you can typically hear the Boneyard Creek waters rippling.

In the Greenhouse at Silvercreek, there are many white circular tables with white folding chairs and white tablecloths. Photo by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

Think you cannot enjoy fine dining on a budget? Think again. We both enjoyed items from their three-course prix fixe menu ($29.95 each). Sometimes I am leery on the portion size when it comes to these types of specials, but I can tell you these courses were not only delicious, but they were generous. If you saw my portly figure, you know I wouldn’t steer you wrong when it comes to defining generous portions.

For our first course, we could choose from the first course options on the 3-course menu were: fried shrimp and calamari, burrata crostini, cheese curds (yes, please!), Caesar salad, or cup of soup du jour.

Fried shrimp and calamari are in a basket lined with parchment paper on a white table. In the basket, there are two small metal cups of dipping sauces. Photo by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

We chose fried shrimp and calamari and cheese curds with chipotle ranch dipping sauce. The fried shrimp and calamari came with fried jalapeño, sweet chili pepper sauce, and spicy marinara. The shrimp and calamari were lightly breaded and fried on the outside and tender on the inside. If you don’t think you like calamari because you think it will be rubbery, try this and you will be pleased. The shrimp were excellent, and the fried jalapeño were a nice surprise. My wife is not a jalapeño fan, so I got them all! (#winning). Both sauces provided were outstanding. The spicy marinara had such a wonderful flavor, and it was a real treat, but we both found ourselves gravitating more to the sweet chili pepper sauce. It was truly exquisite and perfectly balanced.

A ceramic boat of fried cheese curds sits on a white tableclothed table with a glass side cup of Ranch dressing. Photo by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

What can I say about fried cheese curds? Hard to go wrong with this selection. What made these unique to me was that the batter was lighter than most curds that I have had which allowed more cheese taste to come through and not get lost in the coating.

The choices for our second course were: grilled salmon salad, gourmet mac and cheese, potato-crusted whitefish, Caprese stuffed chicken, and beef tenderloin medallions.

A beautifully plated dish of Caprese stuffed chicken with fingerling potatoes and haricots verts with a pale yellow citrus cream sauce pooling at the bottom. Photo by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

For my second course, I chose the Caprese stuffed chicken with fingerling potatoes and haricots verts. Haricots verts are awesome, and you sound really kick ass and first class when you order them. Don’t come at me saying they are just green beans. They are thinner, better tasting, and younger than regular-cut green beans. These were cooked perfectly and had great texture and taste. I enjoyed dipping them in the citrus cream sauce.

The chicken was a bone-in thigh (my favorite), and the chicken was stuffed with tomatoes, Mozzarella, fresh basil, and a balsamic reduction. The chicken’s texture and flavor were excellent, and the stuffing was the perfect compliment. The fingerling potatoes were crisp on the outside, soft and pillowy inside, and wonderfully seasoned. I also enjoyed running these potatoes through the citrus cream sauce, and they also were great on their own. I was going to lick the citrus cream sauce off the plate, but then I remembered I wasn’t at home.

On a white, circular plate, there is a hashbrown encrusted fish with mushrooms and a cream sauce. Photo by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

My wife’s second course was potato-crusted Michigan whitefish with asparagus, carrots, pancetta, cremini mushrooms, and that devilishly good citrus cream sauce. I ordered this on a previous visit because it sounded so different, and I couldn’t picture what it would look like. Imagine awesomely cooked hash browns on top of a perfectly cooked and flaky whitefish. My wife was kind to share with me — as to help my memory. The crunchy potatoes were a great contrast to the tender and moist whitefish. The fish was served on top of the asparagus, carrots, pancetta, mushrooms, and sauce which made it easy to get everything in one bite. This dish was a real flavor bomb. I rarely order fish at a restaurant, but this dish I will order again and again. Did I mention the citrus cream sauce?

Third course options were the pastry chef’s trifle of the week, seasonal ice cream, or sorbet.

In a tall dessert glass, there is a chocolate cake with cherries and whipped cream. Photo by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

For the third course, I chose the pastry chef’s trifle of the week which was made of chocolate, cherries, and whipped cream on top with chocolate shavings. The whipped cream had a wonderful flavor and texture. I rarely have scratch-made whipped cream and forget how much better it tasted than store bought. The chocolate cake had great flavor and was moist, and the cherries were the perfect match. My favorite part was when I was toward the bottom of the trifle where all the flavors melded together in one gooey bite.

In a shiny, silver martini glass, there is a orange mango sobert with freshly sliced strawberries and raspberries. Photo by Carl Busch.

Photo by Carl Busch.

My wife chose the mango sorbet topped with strawberries and raspberries which was served in a beautiful, silver-stemmed martini glass which kept the sorbet super chilled. The mango flavor was better and more pronounced than any other sorbets I have tried. The fresh fruit brought a nice fresh element and paired well with the sorbet. 

Choosing the three-course prix fixe menu option was not only budget friendly ($59.90 plus tax and tip for two), it was a fun experience being able to try and share six menu items with my wife. It also allows someone to tip generously as servers in most restaurants today are working harder than ever due to staffing levels. Let’s face it, it was already a hard job pre-pandemic, so please do what you can to show your appreciation and be kind.  

Silvercreek Restaurant
402 N Race St
W-Sa 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. + 5 to 9 p.m.

Top image by Carl Busch.

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