SILK CITY DINER & LOUNGE

435 Spring Garden St
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 592-8838

3/5 stars

Moments after we walked through the front door at Silk, Danny realized his hiatus-ing band, Youth Group, had played there. Half of the premises at Silk is devoted to a nightclub that was closed during our visit (Sunday, brunch), but according to Danny, ultraviolet lighting and “Heavy Metal” inspired bong art on the walls led his band to spend every moment they weren’t onstage in the diner.

Silk’s diner has an indoor area decorated traditionally -aluminum walls, booths with red vinyl covered cushions, a bar with fixed metal stools and a formica counter -and an outdoor garden featuring architecturally-integrated sculpture that calls to mind Gaud√≠ and Jimi Hendrix album art.

We sat inside, and, with the exception of the service, had a good meal. The menu consists of standbys – a 2-egg plate, griddle standards, huevos rancheros -and more original fare: turkey breast & cheddar on biscuits w/ turkey gravy and ‘browns, and some kind of duck-motivated version of the same dish; foie gras & asparagus scrapple, and a red quinois scrapple; a pork bun side ($4); and some cocktails with goofy names. Chris had the turkey breast & biscuits and liked it, thought the potatoes were flavorful and a necessary addition to the plate’s palette. Keith and Danny both got the Silk Scramble, which mixed eggs with red onion, potato, guacamole, monterey jack cheese, & chorizo (which Keith had held). Keith called his scramble “on the very tasty side of bland, with high-grade ingredients,” and thought “the biscuit was a welcome counterpoint bite.” Danny fucking loved his. The table also split an order of French toast, which Keith found “curiously dense”, in a way that made him wonder if the bread was past its prime. Chris thought it was a “commendable” french toast, and thought the density was deliberate, desirable, and probably not accomplished through aging. This was Danny’s first French toast, and he fucking loved it, frankly.

Danny also went for a bloody mary, which he said was “extra good” -spicy, with lots of welcome solids (celery, olive, green tomato). Did he ever fucking love it. The coffee was mediocre, though the thick ceramic mugs did a better-than-average job of retaining heat. Keith noted that these premium mugs were necessary to mitigate the infrequency of coffee refills. Indeed, a political cartoon of Silk would show a fit, good-looking dude in his 20’s, hiply dressed, smiling at a group of pretty girls, yet walking with a pronounced limp, a large cast on one foot labeled “Service”. Our waiter was nice enough, but took a good long while to do anything. Our guess is that he intends to be a painter, spends his nights smoking and doing tiny Brueghel-inspired scenes of Philly, and half-consciously feels like being any good at his waiter job would be a betrayal of himself, of the Philly he loves, and worst of all, of Brueghel’s ghost. It should be noted that we have the vague and perhaps unjustified impression that service in Philadelphia is always bad. If true, that gets Silk off the hook, though it spells bigger problems for the city where Silk does business.

Bathrooms were fine. The “20 minute” wait only took 10 minutes. Should you wish to commemorate your visit to Silk, t-shirts are available for a very reasonable $5. Definitely give Silk a shot next time you’re trying to go to Honey’s on a weekend and decide you don’t feel like hanging out in that restaurant’s refugee camp-inspired waiting area.

(All three of us concur with this review.)

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