All-American experience: The Skillet offers full flavor and atmosphere

REVIEW:

Skillet is the best American style diner in Seattle.

A bold claim—yes—but one supported by countless visits that have ended in nothing less than pure delight. Right now, they’re serving a two-course lunch for $15 and three-course dinners for $30 as part of Seattle Restaurant Week. Put on twice a year by The Seattle Times, this celebration of food-lover’s features over 160 higher-end Seattle area restaurants serving up dishes for less until Oct. 29.

Now with three sit-down locations and four trucks, Skillet has been slowly spreading its comforting influence. This is comfort food to a T: generous portions of heavy and rich food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Though, that doesn’t mean it’s presented or even flavored like any ol’ place. The trays getting passed around contain sumptuous treats.

The Ballard location has wall-to-wall windows at the front for patrons to soak up any sun they can get ahold of. From there, the interior arches back into the city block with an open kitchen fronted by long counter seating.

It’s a stylish mix of muted green tones, worn wood and sleek steel tables. An atmosphere as welcoming as it’s cordial wait staff.

Now it gets serious. Serious toast, that is.

This breakfast-served-all-day item is nearly half a foot of… Well, just about everything.

On the bottom is a thick cut of brioche that’s been soaking up sickly sweet molasses, done up with some raspberry. On top of that is a smoky salty cut of ham and, on top of that, two eggs done however you want.

The result is an intense experience. The flavors fight each other for dominance. There is no weakest link; it’s all there with every taste.

Truth be told, it may be all a bit much for the average consumer, but it’s definitely an adventure and some serious toast. The individual ingredients were done perfectly. But deconstructing this thing would take away the point, no?

On the lunch side, it’s hard to skip the fried chicken. It’s some of the best-prepared, deep-fried goodness in this fair city, but on the fried chicken sammy it brings its “A” game.

The crust is infused with fennel seeds, giving off a savory flavor infused with anise. It’s a playfully tangy vs. sweet battle that reaches its resolve upon getting to that perfectly succulent chicken center. Pair this with the crunch of kale and some smooth, divinely-rich jalapeno aioli, and it’s a sandwich that is somehow as good as it looks.

It’s not just these two particular items, excellent and unique in their own ways, that makes Skillet so great.

It’s the consistent delivery of killer food, no matter what you choose, from a wonderful staff in an upbeat place. It has the type of atmosphere that just begs for a table of friends, family or even strangers to strike up conversation that lasts long after the food is gone.

This is a unique and wonderful spin on the classic restaurant style that is worth traveling great distances for.

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