Four years ago, when Skillet Street Food’s shiny silver airstream trailer first appeared, in Seattle’s Lake Union neighborhood in a parking lot near a construction site (if I remember correctly), I went the first week they opened. Delicious food that’s bad for you, cooked with heart. I was smitten. Poutine! My god! French fries with cheese curds and brown gravy! And bacon jam! It was a sunny day and I took the afternoon off from work and played Cornhole with Skillet’s genius co-founders. (Never heard of Cornhole? Nor had I. It’s seriously fun.) So perhaps you can understand my level of excitement when friend Z reported that Skillet was opening a diner (a diner!) a mere THREE BLOCKS from where I used to live in Seattle. During my recent visit, going there for brunch (a meal it’s hard to find done well in London) was a no-brainer.
For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure (and I assure you, it is a pleasure), poutine is STILL ON THE MENU. I’m afraid I didn’t order it though, because I was too busy eating this:
That’s the cinnamon roll ($6). “Slathered” is a word that gets thrown around a lot, especially in blog posts about restaurants. But this cinnamon roll was as big as my face and SLATHERED in fluffy sour cream frosting. Moist, gooey, sticky-sweet, and served warm. Ace.
Friend Z, who knows his way around the Skillet menu, ordered the Little Rob ($9), which is like a McGriddle, except imagine that the McGriddle was the best thing you’d ever tasted, a platonic ideal of a McGriddle, a down and dirty stack of silky fried egg, bacon, and American cheese sandwiched between two airy buttermilk pancakes. Don’t forget the maple syrup.
As you may be starting to understand, Skillet is one of those places you read about in an envy-inducing Bon Appetit article (or maybe you heard Jane and Michael Stern tell Lynn Rosetto Kasper about it while you were stuck in traffic, and it made you hate your life). It’s one of those restaurants that makes you say, “How come I can’t have brunch like that in MY city?” It’s like looking at pictures of food porn, except the food is RIGHT THERE, IN FRONT OF YOU. Perhaps it’s time for the money shot:
That’s the cornmeal waffle with maple braised pork belly and two eggs (you can also get it with sub fried chicken thigh, $13). I loved this dish, although (greedy bitch that I am) I thought that the piece of pork belly should have been bigger.
I could go through everything everyone ate at my table, but it would get tedious, and it would make you hate us. It’s clear, isn’t it? Skillet is AWESOME. I do want to add two things, however. First of all, OBVIOUSLY I washed my brunch down with a Bloody Mary.
Second, we were the table from hell. Our numbers kept expanding (I think our final count was 12), people kept joining us after our server had taken our order, there was a toddler at the table, and we broke not one but TWO glasses. (Not just glasses! Mason jars! The sound of a mason jar hitting the floor is like a gunshot!) Through all of it our server was incredibly sweet, professional, and patient, even though Skillet was (as usual) rammed and there was a line of people out the door. It was pretty extraordinary, and it made me love a restaurant I was already certain I wanted to return to.
Like every good diner, Skillet’s open all day long and serves breakfast until they close. I can’t wait to come back and try the fried chicken, the grits, and (definitely) the poutine. Or maybe next time I’LL have the Little Rob.
1400 E. Union, Seattle, WA 98122
Price per person: Under $20 (not counting your cocktails)
The verdict: Must try!