Our a la carte entrees were equally delightful. Pepper-seared Sonoma quails ($28) presented a multitude of juicy little legs, cleverly matched with a fricassee of rich sweetbreads, bright forest-green bacon-scattered chard, and more of the juicy morels, sauced with a lightly saged poultry jus. Shrimp-crusted Chilean sea bass ($24) was a large, creamy square of top-quality white fish whose browned topping contained both whole and chopped shrimp and fresh herbs. It sat atop a thick mattress of succulent black forbidden rice from China, dressed with a light kafir lime sauce.
The hotel's ownership is Chinese, and the model for the pampering service at Silks subtly differs from the feudalistic intimidations of many European and American luxury establishments. Staffers seem deeply considerate, in a style neither servile nor intrusive. When we told our server we'd be sharing everything, we didn't have to ask for extra soup spoons -- she brought them automatically. The bussers didn't hover to hurry us to the finish, but between courses they not only crumbed the tables and replaced all needed silverware, they even twinkled a little.
The tasting menu's classic cheese plate (without accompanying wine, alas) featured a nutty cheddar, a tangy goat, and a triple-cream, all from New York state's Egg Farm Dairy. Dessert choices are standard -- gussied-up tiramisu, ice cream sampler, chocolate extravaganza, etc. I chose a trio of miniature creme brulees: Tahitian vanilla (intensely vanilla, what else to say?); chocolate, tasting a lot like Jell-O pudding; and passion fruit, with a jolting sweet-sour intensity that was exhilarating at first bite, exhausting after the second. My companion's lemon-blueberry tart was conventional. The espresso was world-class.
Catch Dante Boccuzzi as a rising star, before he becomes a shooting star and commands month-in-advance reservations. Our dinner was grandly enjoyable -- even including the dishes that didn't work completely -- and served so graciously that it left us glowing with pleasure.