Providence Cicero likes Skillet Diner so much that she gives it three stars and begins her review with the exclamation, "Kale Caesar!" Chef Brian O'Connor and his crew "don't go in for dainty 'small plates,'" The decadent grilled cheese sandwich is marred by "bits of funky rind" but Skillet's signature bacon jam "puts a smoky-salty-sweet scrim between the triple-rich cheese and the thickly sliced brioche." And then there's breakfast:
The aptly named "big boy biscuit" is a marvel of biscuitry. Its crumbly nature is ideal for soaking up sage gravy, but not for the heavy-lifting needed for a sandwich stacked with baconlike guanciale, two over-easy eggs and American cheese. The savory cornmeal waffle, on the other hand, offers stalwart support to a fried egg and soft, maple-glazed pork belly. Add syrup and something magical occurs.
And as for that Caesar, "Adding a fried-chicken thigh to the mix is a $5 investment you won't regret."
Servers are "nice-as-pie but oh-so-urban." While the canning jar glassware "doesn't do any favors for Walla Walla's Proletariat wines," those same jars are "a nice bit of schtick" as water glasses, which hold flatware rolled in a kitchen towel until diners sit down and press them into service. Cicero says these touches, along with the skillets on the wall and the servers plaid shirts is "the kind of branding that makes me wonder if Skillet Diner is destined for duplication. I hope it is." [Seattle Times]
Hanna Raskin's review of her review of Little Sheep Hot Pot examines the concept of copycat restaurants by harkening back to her youthful days of working at an establishment with the dubious name of Dairy King. While indeed a ripoff, that restaurant "felt more personal than any corporate chain." Similarly, Raskin finds a few things she likes better at Little Hot Pot, the confusing-on-purpose imitator of Little Sheep. "The smaller restaurant has its charms, and a few excellent dishes you can't get at Little Sheep." [Seattle Weekly]