I have been to Italy and am longing to return.
Until then, I have The Silver Spoon.
That’s exactly the feel co-owner spouses Giuseppe and Nanette Nirta were going for.
And they got it. From the soft yellow walls like the hills of Tuscany to the dishes and lighting imported from Italy, The Silver Spoon feels far removed from the little corner of Rochester Hills it occupies.
Like most of the best restaurants in Italy, you’re going to have to work a little bit to find it. There’s no huge flashing neon sign pointing the way. But when you find The Silver Spoon tucked away in the corner of the Papa Joe’s plaza, you’ll be glad you made the effort.
Let’s start with the food: It's spectacular
The menu is broken down simply with cold and hot appetizers, salads, fresh and dry pasta, meat and white meat and fish. There are a lot of good-looking choices so the knowledgeable wait staff comes in handy.
Our server Anthony, who came with a very nice accent, steered us to the spinach salad and I discovered how creamy fresh gorgonzola cheese could be. It was melt-in-your-mouth good. Paired with walnuts and topped with a light balsamic dressing it was an amazing way to start a meal.
For our entrees I ordered the mushroom risotto. It was rich, buttery and delicious and served with a clamshell shaped crepe.
My husband got the seafood pasta and I have to admit, I couldn’t keep my fork to myself on that one. With scallops, calamari, mussels and shrimp, there were just too many temptations to resist.
I would apologize for over indulging in his meal, except he had his revenge when it came to our dessert. Usually we "share" a dessert — he takes a bite, or maybe two, so I don't feel guilty about ordering it and then devouring the rest. This didn't happen when it came to our chocolate and hazelnut gelato: it was a battle to the last bite. Next time we're ordering two.
Romantic? Yes! Casual elegance? You bet! Kids? Um, maybe a good night for a sitter
The Silver Spoon is the first restaurant venture by the Nirtas and you can tell it is a labor of love. The attention to detail, from the fresh flowers in the foyer to the hand-selected staff, give an evening a particular glow.
It's the perfect place to dress up and have a date night. It's also welcoming enough to go casual with a group of friends. And although the staff is very accommodating, there is no kid menu, crayons or covered sippy cups at The Silver Spoon, making it an ideal time to contribute to your babysitter's college fund.
Bringing a piece of Italy to Rochester Hills
The Nirtas have lived in Rochester Hills for 18 years and the old Tom's Oyster Bar was their favorite place to drink and dine with friends. When it closed, they decided to create a new hangout with an Italian flair. They were very hands on with every aspect of the decor. "It all started with the covers on the bar stools. Then came the diamond pattern wall and from there it took on a life of its own," Nanette said.
Former software developer Giuseppe Nirta taught himself hammered copper design. His first project was the copper wheat stalks on the Silver Spoon logo. He's added stunning copper elements throughout the restaurant.
And if you notice the gorgeous photography hanging on the walls, it's fun to note that both the pictures and the restaurant general manager, Rito Lisi, are from Cisternino, Italy.
Five Fun Facts about The Silver Spoon
A few last tidbits to nibble on:
- The restaurant is named after the most famous cookbook in Italy. It was finally translated to English only five years ago.
- The menus and wine menus were homemade by the co-owners and their children. There are 52 unique versions. See them by the copper hostess stand, also made by co-owner Giuseppe Nirta.
- The manager Rito Lisi, sous chef Mauro Querio and head chef Daniele Dell'Acqua all worked for the legendary Il Posto Ristorante.
- The giant silver spoon that hangs on the wall is from New Orleans. Two more signature pieces of decor from Italy are still stuck in customs.
- The Silver Spoon has twin busboys with lovely singing voices. Mention if you're celebrating a birthday to get a special serenade.
The Silver Spoon is in the Papa Joe's plaza at the corner of Tienken and Rochester Roads. It opens at 4:30 for dinner except Monday when it is closed. Reservations, especially on weekends, are highly recommended. Call 248-652-4500.