The Silo Restaurant is in upstate New York, in Greene (map), near Binghamton. That’s about midway east-west in the State, not far north of the border with Pennsylvania. It is in a rural area with not much but pleasant rolling hills in view. Relative isolation has not stopped it from becoming a local institution.
We set out for the Sunday Brunch Buffet at the Silo on a snowy January day, our rental car having Mississippi license plates and the slickest never-a-thought-of-snow tires ever invented. We slid backwards on the last uphill drive to the parking lot. One of the restaurant principals advised getting a running start from his driveway across the street. “You need momentum.” The resulting suborbital excursion landed us neatly in the lot, ready to eat.
It’s a big place. We arrived soon after opening, and only handful of patrons were rattling around.
But after a while a good crowd built. People in these parts are not much deterred by snow. Nothing like 10 degrees and snow to build an appetite. The cuisine was traditional American, with a nod towards New England. We are talking pickled watermelon rinds, turkey, squash, and cranberry sauce. Do you know how hard it is to find a good pickled watermelon rind in California? You can imagine.
Watermelon rind pickles are sweet and sour, and spiced with cinnamon. They are traditional all along the Eastern seaboard, and in the South. Traditional foods with good optical properties should always be encouraged.
They were carving prime rib and ham as well as turkey, all buffet standards. The surprise was the turkey and biscuits. It is a simple enough idea, akin to biscuits and and cream gravy. Turkey naturally wants to become fiberboard, and what made the dish exceptional was that the transformation was avoided, and it tasted of fresh, tender turkey.
They will cook up Eggs Benedict upon request, and there was excellent bacon, mini-bagels with smoked salmon, cold shrimp, salads, and an elaborate omelet station. Standard brunch fare, nicely done.
Snow swirled outside the picture windows as we munched away. A quartet of snowmobilers drove up for the brunch.
A dessert spread lined one window. A tray of biscotti caught my eye.
This was an excellent brunch. Straightforward food well prepared. Great service from a friendly staff. At $16, juice and coffee included, it was an outstanding bargain, worth a trip through ice and snow.
It was time to face the outdoors again. Going downhill is really easy.
There are many recipes for pickled watermelon rinds on the web. The recipe from Yankee Magazine should be trustworthy. Jar of pickles are heavy, so if you order from the web you may want to get a variety of different kinds, unless you are really sure you will enjoy a case. One source is the Amish Country Store.