In the Groove
Q's Southern Bistro has now earned its place in Silver City's dining scene.
By Donna Clayton Walter
Q's Southern Bistro has found its niche and honed its "elevated pub" menu to excellence to serve its fun-loving, casual dining crowd. Operated by chef Anthony Quintana, Q's opened this past May to a tourist-filled Silver City thrumming to the beat of the annual Blues Fest and hungry for new food options. My first couple of visits to the establishment had some hits and some misses, reflecting the eatery's newness and ambitious opening menu.
My companion and I tried Q's the first week it was open. My seared ahi appetizer with wasabi crust was fresh, perfectly rare in the middle and artfully drizzled with a roasted pepper sauce. I was in heaven on the first bite. The second bite, however, revealed an overly salty Asian slaw — a disappointing bed for such perfectly prepared fish. Happily my main dish, a Classic Caesar salad ($7) with added grilled chicken ($3), was fresh, crisp and dressed perfectly with just the right amount of garlic. The salad was cold and the chicken hot from the grill. Bravo!
My dining companion started off with the BBQ Shrimp Skewers ($9) — tender, tasty and spicy! — then enjoyed the Napa Alfredo ($12) with added grilled salmon ($4). In the entre, linguini was tossed generously with creamy, cheesy Alfredo sauce. Roasted garlic and red peppers added zest and the asparagus spears were delightfully crisp-tender. The salmon, requested rare, was a bit over-done but still flavorful.
The biggest disappointment that evening was that there was no dessert available. None.
In those early days, chef Quintano appeared frequently in the dining room, asking his patrons for feedback. To his credit, the chef has taken his customers' suggestions to heart and developed a varied menu to please his casual-dining clientele.
Now, the large selection of appetizers ranges from thick-cut Beer Battered Onion Rings with dipping sauce ($6) to the generous Miner's Nachos ($8) layered with beans, cheddar, sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo and topped with a sprinkle of Cajun spice. (Add grilled Cajun chicken, beef or shrimp or some pulled barbecued pork for $3.) Feel like indulging a guilty pleasure? Go for the Bacon Jalapeo Bites ($6), Cheesy Quesadilla ($6, add $3 for the extras) or, if you dare, the sinfully rich Chili Cheesy Fries ($7).
Redeem yourself by following up with one of Q's virtuous fresh salads: House Green, made with crisp baby greens, julienne carrots, cucumbers and the like ($7), the Pesto Pion made with Romaine lettuce and tossed in a creamy pesto sauce ($8) or the Grilled Salmon Salad with cranberries and tangy cranberry vinaigrette ($13).
The Southern part of the restaurant's name is favorably reflected in its offerings of a spicy chicken and shrimp gumbo ($7), a Louisiana linguini dish ($12, add Cajun shrimp or chicken for $3), Deep Fried Southern Chicken ($11) with a side of sweet Jack Daniels gravy dipping sauce — yum! — and a couple of Po' Boy sandwiches. Choose from the New Orleans with spicy shrimp and grilled onions ($12), the Pulled Pork or Brisket Po' Boy ($8).
My New Orleans-loving friend was deeply satisfied, from tongue to soul, with the Pulled Pork Po' Boy. It was spicy, tasty and deliciously juicy and served up with honest-to-God fresh-cut French fries that were hot and flavorful.
I ordered the Berkeley Burger ($9), a half-pounder made of Angus beef with Swiss cheese, avocado, grilled onion and more on grilled sourdough. Though I requested it rare, and my server promised it would be, the burger came out no less than medium. It still was tasty and ample. And, oh, those fries!
We washed it all down with some of the beers on tap, ranging from Sam Adams to Sierra Nevada to Fat Tire and more ($3-$4).
And now diners can finish things off with dessert — yes, dessert! Crme brle comes topped with a chocolate caramel sauce, Cheesecake Xango is topped with caramel, dulce de leche smothers the Q's Cookie Cake, and simple ice cream is topped with chocolate, caramel sauce and pecans (all $6).
As we walked away happy, it was clear that Q's has hit its stride.
Q's Southern Bistro, 101 E. College Ave., Silver City, 534-4401.