Tag Archives: yelp

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 Gaudí 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.)

CHILI’S BAR & GRILL

827 Odd Fellows Rd
Crowley, LA 70526
(337) 783-1493

1/5 stars

This is probably the worst meal we’ve ever had on the road. There are only two things affirmative to be said about this place: our waitress, despite being a total flake and pretty disagreeable, had a nice accent; and none of us got sick (although we all felt kind of hungover afterward, like we had let our bodies down).

We were lured to Chili’s by a vague memory of decent margaritas enjoyed at the Odessa, TX, Chili’s two years ago. Difficult to say if we were remembering wrong or if the Crowley Chili’s is just breaking all kinds of franchise regulations and making all of the food and drinks by reconstituting powder. Whatever the case, we sat down wanting more than anything to like the margaritas. We flipped through the over-elaborate cocktail menu like doe-eyed ingenues on the evening of their 21st birthdays, cooing and gasping with anticipation. We settled on the “World’s Freshest Margarita”, which in retrospect we realize was given its name as a sinister prank. The 15 minutes it took for the margs to come out was, we told ourselves, promising – the bartender must be slicing and squeezing limes, carefully measuring proportions, chilling glasses, gently salting rims, etc. In fact, he was in the bathroom smelling his own farts and graffiti-ing the walls with huge-cocked trolls. Then he emptied one packet of the “W.F. Marg” powder into some hot water, stirred it with a cheese-encrusted spoon, and poured the urine-colored result over ice. Our margaritas were absolutely terrible. There is no reason for these margaritas to exist in the world. They are as tragic and unnecessary in 2010 as death by polio.

Even after having the skull of our expectations caved in by the jackbooted margaritas, we retained enough sensation to be upset by the food. If you were on a budget airline, and the food cart rolled up, and the flight attendant told you the food was all “south west” themed, and you bought some of it, you would be served the exact same thing Chili’s serves (and probably at the same price). The food ranged from an impossibly bland house salad to a vulgar plate of carnitas tacos, to a bean burger that Keith called “a glimpse into the depravity man is capable of committing when he’s unchecked in the middle of the bayou.”  All of it was reconstituted from powder by a droid in the kitchen.

It’s worth noting that Chili’s awful food is matched by awful service, so at least it can boast of having a certain perverse coherence. After the insane wait for drinks, our salads came out spaced at regular 5 minute intervals, affording that much-desired private dining experience, though you be a table with friends. Probably the sporadic pacing is the result of the droid in the kitchen having only a single pincer apparatus at its disposal – certainly a droid like Wall-E would have had no problem prepping the food in a more orderly fashion.

If this Chili’s had been about 25% better, we could easily say that we’d never go to another Chili’s again as long as we live. It was so bad, though, that we’re now compelled to visit another location in order to verify that the Crowley site was not a bizarre anomaly, possibly the result of a satanic curse transmitted by Li Grand Zombi when he was unable to get a table at the ante-curse, totally-okay Crowley Chili’s.

[3 out of 3 of us agree with this review]

LOS CABOS MEXICAN GRILL

2543 Hwy 71 S.
Columbus, TX 78934
(979) 732-9744

3/5 stars

This is a rock solid Mexican place in a small town between Houston and Austin. It’s surrounded by the usual roadside suspects: mcdonalds, subway, whattaburger, pizza hut — Los Cabos is a jewel sitting in a pile of rabbit turds.

The menu has enough options that we needed a couple minutes to decide. I went with El Mariachi, a plate with two medium tortillas filled with steak, shrimp, and carnitas; rice and stewed beans on the side. Excellent. Danny had the same, and he fucking loved it.
Keith got cheese enchiladas, which were “workmanlike”. Cheese enchiladas are a pretty plain dish, so I’m not sure that’s a terrible review.

There was a subsection on the menu that featured stuffed, fried avocados. Sounded amazing, but we lacked the strength to undertake one.

We were leaving SXSW, so we were pretty beat up, plus we were driving, plus we had only been awake for maybe 2 hours, so alcohol was a very low priority. But it wouldve been irresponsible not to try the margarita, and try it we did. Went with frozen, cuz that’s harder to nail. We were rewarded: great consistency; good, discernible flavors; respectable potency. I’d return to Los Cabos under different circumstances and get trashed.

The table came with salsa and quesa and a big basket of chips. All were refilled with admirable attentiveness, and all were very good.

Going to a place like Los Cabos always forces me to reflect on how tremendously shitty Chili’s is. We had gone to Chili’s a few days earlier in Crowley, LA, and the Cabos lunch really put into shocking relief how goddamn awful Chili’s had been (and doubtless continues to be). Los Cabos should go around and burn down all the Chili’s — it’s their right.

[2 out of 3 of us agree with this review]

LOUIE’S CAFE

209 W State St
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
(225) 346-8221

1/5 stars

[We’ve updated this review, depriving Louie’s of its second star. After a few weeks of critical distance, we’ve all agreed that while Louie’s was a decent spot to end up in Baton Rouge, it doesn’t stack up very well with legitimately good diners we’ve visited since (see Silk’s in Philly for a recent for-instance).]

We’re awarding Louie’s just 2 stars, but we all agree it was a pretty decent “shitty diner”. First, the high points: the service was exceptionally friendly and, in the case of one of the cooks, full of character. This dude made the following announcement to the room at one point: “Last po’ boy! There’s one left, not two. Next person who orders a po’ boy, that’s the last one. You can come look at it.” He also prohibited us from ordering from the tray of biscuits sitting on the counter, deeming them “unservable” because they’d been sitting out for two hours. Our waitress brewed us a fresh pot of coffee rather than serve us the old stuff. In short, Louie’s has your back.

On the down side, Louie’s is dirty and disheveled inside. The kitchen is in the middle of the room with chef’s pass seating looking on, but those spots are off-putting – the kitchen is kind of a mob scene, with something like half a dozen employees doing the job of maybe two. Near the door sits a wire cage that once must have proffered some Baton Rouge weekly – it’s now stuffed full of shredded and crumbled newsprint, as though that bygone weekly had at some point decided to hire raccoons as distributers. The raccoons’ work remains unmolested by the staff of Louie’s.

We sat against a wall that featured a large original mural describing a Louie’s location on a beautiful white-sand beach stocked with tan, fit vacationers. The Louie’s in the mural has outdoor seating, and the waiter is wearing a tuxedo minus jacket. Dolphins frolic in the bay. We decided the art was depicting “fantasy Louie’s”.

The food was unexceptional, slotting in just above a meal at Denny’s. Although their website boasts that Louie’s is the “home of the veggie omelet”, Keith found it overstuffed (“just because you have 10 vegetables on the premises doesn’t mean they all have to go in the veggie omelet”) and a generally milquetoast affair. Chris’s western omelet held few surprises:”it offered neither delight nor injury”. Danny fucking loved his veggie omelet.

Besides the service, Louie’s scored points with us for grace notes like the mural of “fantasy Louie’s” and the poster of LSU cheer leaders near our table, which featured autographs from each of the charismatically flawed “Golden Girls”.

The bathroom was the sort of place where you don’t want to touch anything without first assuming a protective layer of paper product. On the other hand, the coffee was pretty tasty, and Danny’s fruit cup was fresh (it’s worth noting that when the fruit cup arrived at the end of the meal, we were all thoroughly surprised it wasn’t canned). Louie’s isn’t exactly a study in contradictions, but it is certainly on the cusp: some serious attention could make it a darn good diner, but any further erosion will thrust it into all-out calamity.

[3 out of 3 of us agree with this review. Although we all feel that it may be a little harsh, we’re incapable of rationally defending our moderate affection for Louie’s.]