Reader Richard Hudgens was the first to tip me off to a new breakfast and lunch place in the northwest called Skillets Diner, located on Hageman in the old space occupied by Krush. (Krush is in the process of locating to a new location north of Rosedale Highway on Gosford Road near Raising Canes, but has not reopened yet.) Hudgens told me he and his daughter liked to have breakfast there (served all day) and found the home-cooked food to be quite appealing.
After the first visit, we got it. Though the remodeled décor is pretty standard, the combinations on the menu show some inventiveness and those cooking in the back deliver on that first impression. Our daughter was visiting from Santa Monica and we were eager to take her out for breakfast at a place that would fit with what she’s grown accustomed to in a city where Sidecar Doughnuts always wins us over. She was impressed.
For our meal we ordered the banana caramel French toast ($9.95), the butcher meat burrito ($10.95) and the chili and cheese skillet ($10.50). The menu offers a lot of burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, omelets and many breakfast items, some marked by inventive twists, such as the Rueben quesadilla, the shrimp avocado wrap, the blackened eggs Benedict skillet and the waffle bacon (bacon IN the waffle — it’s about time!)
It was truly the attention to small details that made this dining experience so positive. For example, that burrito featured bacon, ham, sausage and chorizo scrambled with the eggs, which helped evenly distributed the tastes and textures. Throw in some hash browns, jack and cheddar cheese, salsa and sour cream on the side and it was a winner. She noted the dark brown grill mark on the outside of the tortilla, a finishing touch that helped the whole thing stay together.
In fact all that we ordered was so delicious that we ended up eating everything family style, passing platters around and divvying up portions. The French toast was impressive for a couple of reasons. One, the thick Texas-cut bread had the egg and cinnamon mix permeating deep into the center. Hate French toast that gets a bit of egg on the outside and a plain bread presence in the middle. Dull. Second, the proportion of caramel sauce on the outside with the bananas was perfect — not too much to send you into sugar shock, not too little so it had a muted presence on the plate. Yes, I know this variation on bananas foster has popped up all over, but the way they do it here makes it hard not to order on future visits.
As you might expect from the name, there are a lot of skillets to choose from and the chili cheese is a winner mostly because the bean-rich chili worked so well, with finely ground beef (sometimes in chunks) on top of these tiny potato chunks that had been pan fried so long they were crispy on the outside but not overdone. The eggs were scrambled on top, with a restrained portion of cheese on top of those. Maybe a layer of cheese on top of the chili and under the eggs might be a positive modification.
The décor has been radically changed from the previous tenant, with the bar replaced by a serving station/beverages area for the staff and decorations on the wall that include an American flag in an artsy treatment, some coffee cups displayed with a similar flair and some wine glass art, though beer and wine is not served so Daytime Drinkers will have to go elsewhere.
Service was pleasant and efficient enough but we got double charged for coffee ($1.99) and iced tea ($2.75) because one of my companions asked for an iced coffee. Cubes aren’t free, ya know.