Hanna Raskin says Skillet Diner is a hint of "restaurants informed by food-truck culture" might look like. The fixed-location expansion of Skillet Street Food "remains a captivating, bacon-drenched place to eat," even when "stripped of its variable schedule and inclement-weather concerns."
Granted, there aren't really any appetizers on the menu, and "the relentless emphasis on comfort food, which reads as clarity truckside, can foster monotony" when ordering a bunch of items off the menu:
But only fools and food critics are likely to lard their tables with breakfasts and burgers and entrées and a sea of side dishes. The vast majority of Skillet guests will surely understand that, in true diner fashion, the dishes are meant as one-shot affairs. It's the rare Dionysian who's likely to trundle into the Capitol Hill restaurant after midnight with a craving for a mannerly meal that starts with a salad and ends with sorbet. Diners come here for a high-end grease fix, a hankering that doesn't need to be stretched out over lots of dishes.
And since the word 'grease' "sounds like a slur in a restaurant review," Raskin clarifies that "Skillet intends for its dishes to glimmer with butter and swell with pork fat." While the cocktails "undulate unreliably," the service is strong and the kale caesar "attests to the restaurant's willingness to muse beyond muscular ingredients." Her conclusion: "Perhaps the legacy of food trucks will be to bring restaurateurs and their staffers closer to their customers." [Seattle Weekly]
Paul Constant's in the driver's seat for this week's Stranger food outing,contrasting his "soul-crushing" visits to newly arrived sandwich chain Potbelly's to Columbia City's Chelsea Deli. Constant is full of sandwich wisdom: "When you eat at a sandwich joint for the first time, always order the sandwich that's named after the restaurant." In this case, the Chelsea sandwich is "a meaty, sloppy delight, sweet and spicy in equal proportions." Bottom line: "You'll never find a starker case study of relative consumer advantage and satisfaction in buying locally than sandwich shops." [Stranger]