Monday, January 26, 2015

Where Everyone Knows Your Name--Tally's Silver Spoon

Nestled on a corner of downtown Rapid City and tucked behind the statue of a younger President Ronald Reagan, the neon “Open” sign of Tally’s Silver Spoon glows as a welcoming beacon to all who are walking the busy historic streets.  Chef Benjamin Klinkel has found the perfect blend of the homey environment of a traditional diner and the chic food of a modern eatery. One almost expects people to yell, “Norm!” when walking in the doors, which was the chef’s goal when he purchased the traditional diner Tally’s and paid homage to Rapid’s venerable café--first opened in 1930--by keeping Tally in the name.  Though delicacies such as foi gras and mussles can be ordered, this definitely does feel like a restaurant where everyone knows your name.
With Ronald Reagan and the neon sign, Tally's has invited customers in since 1930.

Tally’s Silver Spoon is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is the perfect spot for each meal.  Breakfast is served all morning and until 2:00 p.m., so whether an early meal or a true brunch is desired, the food here meets all needs.  Using fresh and local ingredients, the pancakes, eggs, breakfast burritos, and omelets are all great traditional choices.  I personally loved the eggs Benedict and a signature mimosa—my truly perfect brunch.  However, if a more unusual or unique breakfast is what is craved, the lox plate or the duck confit can be ordered. 
Mimosas...the most important part of brunch!

So gone!
For lunch, the traditional burgers are great choices, coming in both the smaller size—Rosie, quarter pound—and the larger size—Dick, half pound—to cover all appetites.  Onions, peppers, blue cheese, cheddar, ham, swiss, etc. can be added.  A buffalo burger is also an option.  There are, of course, other sandwiches and salads as well, but what customers won’t see on the table is a ketchup or mustard bottle.  This is where the “silver spoon” part of the name comes in; condiments are brought out separately and individually in small ramekins at customers’ requests.  House-made, fresh pastas are also available for the lunch and dinner crowds.

Supper is when Tally’s really comes to life as an upscale bistro.  Yes, the burgers and sandwiches are still available, but many other interesting items are worth a look.  Begin with the curried mussels—the signature starter.  For the entrée, try the Black Cow, a coffee-encrusted steak recommended by the server to be cooked medium-rare (is there any other way it should be cooked?!) or the Autumn Oak Pheasant, on a bed chestnut stuffing and Brussel sprouts.  Both are great dishes worth trying.  If these options aren’t unique enough, try one of the pork options for which Tally’s is known.  Tuesdays are Pinot and Pork nights, with a different pork dish every week paired with Pinot Noir.  Tally’s chefs have won the South Dakota Pork Producers competition on several occasions, including being named restaurant of the year by the group again in 2015—they know their pigs!  Tally’s is the only place (or one of very, very, very few) in the Black Hills that has foi gras on the regular dinner menu—yes, silver spoon for sure!  There is also a chef’s tasting menu called the “Indecision Menu” that can be ordered with two, three, four, or five courses that can then be paired with wines. 

The Black Cow

Beautiful Autumn Oak Pheasant, with burning leaf on top--don't worry, that part isn't eaten!
Speaking of wines, Tally’s wine list is impressive for a small diner.  To start, there are fourteen white wines and twenty-one reds for by-the-glass options.  Port, late-harvest, and ice wines are choices for dessert.  Then there are many quality and unique whites, reds, sparklings, single-varietals, and blends for by-the-bottle purchases.  As I already mentioned, Pinot Noir has a special place in Chef Benjamin’s heart, and though the entire wine list is impressive, the list of quality Pinots impressed me…a real Pinot Noir lover. Of course, all wines are served in Riedel stemware, showing that this establishment takes its wine drinking very seriously. 

Whites and reds on the list, all served in beautiful Riedel stemware. Yes, I'm a wine glass snob!
No good meal would be complete without dessert, and Tally’s hits the mark here, too.  There are multiple options for sweets after the meal—if a diner has room to eat more!  The ‘Smores Pot de Crème was a rich, sweet treat; however, Date Night was over-the-top delicious!  Date cake, date ice cream, caramel sauce, and toffee bits (ALL house made) are served in a bowl with a purple salt rim (the salt is tinted purple so it is easily seen and added to each delicious bite taken).   Truly a sensation for all of the senses, I enjoyed every last bite of this. 

Date Night and 'Smores Pot de Creme

Get a bit of salt with every delicious bite!
Chef Benjamin has done a perfect job of pairing an inviting ambiance with contemporary, excellent food.  Keeping the familiar name Tally’s and the familiar feeling of friendliness, Tally’s Silver Spoon is a must-stop for all Black Hills area foodies.  Ronald Reagan and the neon sign welcome all to the historic Duhamel Corner, no matter what time of day.  For breakfast, lunch, supper, dessert, or drinks, Tally’s definitely feels like the place where everyone knows your name. From the Le Cordon Blue culinary institute to Rapid City, Chef Benjamin Klinkel—who also owns the currently-being-remodeled Delmonico Grill—has made his name known for excellent food!