What you're eating: You can enjoy dishes from around the world at The Silk Road, including fare from obvious cuisine hubs like France and Italy. As a Nordic dish, gravlax is a little more unusual, and might be overlooked. It shouldn't be. It's a light, delicious appetizer of sliced, house-cured Copper River salmon served with capers, red onion, cucumber and grapes over endive with lemon dill dressing that will cleanse your sinuses. $9.
A brief history: "Grav" means "grave" and "lax" means "salmon" in the Scandinavian region. In the Middle Ages, fishermen used to salt the salmon and bury it underground—like in a grave—and let it ferment. Gravlax isn't fermented anymore, but it is buried in sugar, salt and dill for a few days to create a brine.
What you're drinking with your fish: There's no aquavit on the menu, but any light microbrew, especially a wheat beer, tastes great with cured fish. If you want to be a little fancier go for the restaurant's gewurztraminer blend at $7.75 a glass.
When to eat it: The Silk Road is open every night at 5 p.m., but on weekends it's best to make a reservation. Or, just show up and grab a seat at the bar where you can chat up staff and random locals in the cozy space decorated in warm red colors, Persian-style wall hangings and strings of lights. It's a good spot to pre-game before seeing a concert or play at the Crystal Theatre, located in the back of the restaurant, like this weekend's production of The Importance of Being Earnest, which begins at 8 p.m. Fri. and Sat. nights.
How to find it: The Silk Road is at 515 S. Higgins Ave. on the Hip Strip.
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