The Silvermine Market is kind of like a neighborhood clubhouse. Make that town hall, says Scott Kaluczky, chef and co-owner of the gourmet deli. “Silvermine has a rich history and a strong sense of community,” he says. The quaint area along the Silvermine River strattles the border of New Canaan, Wilton and Norwalk. The Market is an off-the-beaten path place to have a business breakfast, or lunch after a visit to the Silvermine Art Center’s classes and shows. But the Silvermine Market also holds a well-kept secret: on Friday and Saturday evenings, it transforms into a candlelit, table-clothed restaurant serving Italian-American and American fare. It’s called Nighttime at Silvermine.
“People are blown away by the transformation,” Kaluczky says. Screens and curtains hide the soda refrigerators, coffee center and condiment station. Tables are covered with white tablecloths and set with big white plates, wine glasses (everyone loves that it’s BYOB) and votive candles. The window seat cushions are swapped from a country-themed red and white, to soft earth tones. The lights are dimmed and low jazz plays in the background.
“It’s cozy,” Kaluczky says, especially in winter with the antique barn board walls and wood ceilings glow in the candlelight. In summer, there are a couple outside tables. Most of the customers are regulars, coming in several times a week. Everyone knows everyone, and the chef is likely to come out to say hello.
Nighttime at Silvermine’s menu is grounded in Italian-American classics like chicken scarpariello, spaghetti carbonara and veal piccata. New York Strip with potatoes and a fresh vegetable is always on the menu. Scampi is a buttery-garlicky confection of shrimp and lobster.
Nighttime at Silvermine’ dishes are simple. The chef doesn’t want to make “overly-complicated” dishes “laden with 20 ingredients.” “I think simple and fresh always produces the best results,” he says.
He gets creative with seasonal specials. For spring, Kaluczky dresses fresh spinach in strawberry vinaigrette, scatters it with fresh strawberries and almonds, and then tops it with a goat cheese crouton. On any given weekend the special could be salmon papillote with a fig and balsamic reduction, served with julienned vegetables and roasted or mashed potatoes. Osso bucco, slow-cooked for hours, served over parmesan risotto. Double lamb chops marinated in rosemary, pan-seared, then cooked off in the oven, and served with mushroom risotto.
Desserts are homemade. A favorite is “my grandmother’s chocolate-espresso cake,” Kaluczky says. Three layers of moist, light chocolate cake layered with whipped cream and topped with ganache. The New York-style cheesecake is paired with fresh berries. This summer look for homemade ice creams in ever-changing flavors: cinnamon, chocolate, blueberry and classic vanilla bean. “ I want to try corn and cinnamon,” Kaluczky says, “and peach and basil.”
On Valentine’s Day, chocolate soufflés were on the menu. “Someone got engaged here," say Kaluczy, “We got roses and I videotaped them.” The Silvermine Market has become more dear to the community since the Silvermine Tavern closed. The Tavern, which is on the market, operates as a B&B (the restaurant is closed) and event space.
Little did Kaluczky know, when he and his business partner Lou Aloupis, bought the Silvermine Market in 2000 as an investment they intended to flip, that he’d end up flipping pancakes. Kaluczky was a real estate investor, not a chef. Though in college, he cooked for his fraternity, hashing out breakfast, lunch and dinner for 70 guys.
Today the co-owners are important members of the Silvermine community. Kaluczky is on the board of directors of the Silvermine Community Association, which raises money ($9,000 last year) for educational scholarships.
Soon, Silvermine Market’s popular sauces -- marinara, Bolognese, scarparietto, and barbecue -- will be bottled and available for sale.
There are only 25 seats in the Silvermine Market. Reservations are highly recommended. “We don’t have a bar area, there’s no place to wait.” Nighttime at Silvermine is open Friday and Saturday, 6 pm to 8:30 pm. BYO, with $7 corkage fee on the first bottle and $4 on the second.
Find the full menu here.
Silvermine Market 1032 Silvermine Road New Canaan, CT 06840, (203) 966-4050
Lou Aloupis, co-owner
Scott Kaluczky, chef and co-owner
[Photography courtesy of Jane Beiles Photography]