A brief perusal of the cocktail menu at Silk reveals a preponderance of purple prose: Jade Julep? Evergreen? Hanoi Summer? Is this a bar or the fragrance counter at Nordstrom?
Oh, wait. Here’s something called a Numchuck—which, despite the martial moniker, turns out to be an avocado smoothie with pineapple rum.
The frothy nomenclature at this Pearl District drinkery doesn’t appear to stymie the clientèle, a mix of gainfully employed bohemians and empty nesters from Condoland. But the abundance of such brow-furrowing ingredients as chrysanthemum, cilantro, green tea liquor and lychee is certainly enough to warrant a few extra moments to mull over the menu, when ordinarily a laconic vodka tonic would do the trick.
With décor that suggests West Palm Beach modern, Silk proffers the illusion of a tropical holiday—sans sunset wallpaper and tiki heads—inviting guests to lollygag over fruit-drenched refreshers designed to complement the simmering burn of its Vietnamese cuisine. (The adjoining restaurant space was formerly called Pho Van.) A perfect foil for a bowl of pho is the towering Vault of Heaven—a hefty pour of vodka that somehow stands up to juices of lemon, lime and grapefruit, as well as raspberry and lychee purées, without degenerating into Hawaiian Punch. Likewise, the Myers’s dark rum, grated ginger and lime in the Midnight Storm co-exist in perfect harmony, the latter two elements giving charge to the drink’s stubborn molasses.
The precise control over such exotic components is no fluke; indeed, it appears to be the bedrock upon which Silk rests. But the conservative consumer will likely be reassured by the presence of some familiar names—albeit dressed up in their cabana clothes: the cilantro kumquat gimlet and the “Thom-Thom” mojito, which brazenly substitutes pineapple for lime. And well before it’s time to order a second round, patrons will have come to view Silk as a welcome destination for frequent fliers rather than for reluctant tourists.