So it’s been a while, but I’m backkk!!! I sure hope you missed me, because I missed you!…and that you are wondering what food is bringing me back to the blog.…what restaurant could have been so noteworthy that the writer in me is ready to, well, write again? Ohh hold on tight cause this is a good one…
I was almost tempted to bury this information because, let’s be honest, I’m just not sure if I want this restaurant blowing up. Sure, it might be selfish, but it also might be brilliant. Keep this to myself and avoid having a hard time getting in when you all flock like seagulls to this place, sounds like the smart thing to do. But, I wouldn’t be the Bite-Sized Blonde if I kept information this meaningful from you, now would I?
Is the suspense killing you? Okay okay, here it is…drumroll please…the restaurant so good I had to start writing immediately is…Diner. Diner is well, an old diner from almost a century ago – resurrected and brought way above it’s former glory to become a superstar restaurant. Of course, the food is the star here, but it seems rather silly not to mention the décor, because in this case, it’s what makes the atmosphere so freaking awesome. Diner looks like a diner you would see on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives if the wrong person bought this place. You totally could have found chicken fried gravy on this menu or something equally as “comforting” and by comforting I mean just kind of ineffectual. But, this place is so much more that a triple D joint. It’s seriously cool, and not just in a BK hipster too cool for school kind of a way. It’s like cool, man. The diner is illuminated by votives that take the usual space and make it into something so unusual people are clambering to come in. The space might be small, but nothing else here is.
Okay, so there’s one more thing that’s small, and that’s the menu. But remember what I’ve taught you, good things come in small packages. Or Bite-Sized packages really. But you get the point. If you take after your favorite Bite-Sized Blonde, then you probably want to see the menu right now. But you can’t, because it changes daily. Pain in the ass to reprint the menu everyday, right? Wrong! The waitress sits down at your table to write the menu on the paper tablecloth. So casual, so cool.
We shared several dishes, because how could we not. So, I sampled about half of the menu. We started with the Fried Green Tomatoes. OMG, these FGTs were SG – so good, so so good. Green tomatoes are different than your run-of-the-mill red tomatoes. They are denser and a little sour almost. Which is why they are great to fry. They maintain their integrity even under high heat. These FGTs were something special though. Lightly breaded and fried to a golden perfection, they were served with a side salad of watercress and mint and moisturized in aioli. Yes, moisturized – because they had a thin layer of creamy goodness on them to keep them moist.
We also shared the Romaine Salad, which kind of sounds boring, but it was anything but. The crispy leaves were left in rather big pieces and combined with roasted beets and finely shaved red onion and then showered in love, otherwise known as creamy basil vinaigrette. A simple salad elevated to awesomeness is a salad you could find me eating everyday.
As a treat, the kitchen sent us a plate of crostini. Thin slices of sourdough bread, toasted on the grill, and covered in a garlicky spread and marinated green tomatoes is anything but your ordinary crostini, and man, was this good. Of course, it only had me begging for more…
You know how I feel about burgers – so I couldn’t resist the Special House Burger at Diner since it is the one thing that is always on their menu. And after eating it, I know why. This burger is so good, I’m sure the Diner regulars would be up in arms if it disappeared from the menu. A thick juicy patty of blended meat rests comfortably on a doughy brioche bun and is then adorned with lettuce and pickled onions and served with homemade ketchup. The pickled onions take on a cabbage-like flavor that elevates the burger so subtly. And the ketchup is thick and sweet with a hint of cinnamon; it is truly unlike any ketchup you have ever had. Which is why it’s the only choice in condiments for the fries.
Fries are important to a burger like a bikini top is to the bottom. Sure, they are separate entities, but if you have one without the other, you are just half naked. The fries are thick cut and double fried in flavorful and greasy oil and then dusted with salt to create a crunchy, salty snack that is impossible to resist. Even after I had finished my meal, and all of my fries, I still wanted more. Not because I didn’t have enough, but because every time a plate of fries was brought near my table, and that incredible scent perfumed the air, I found myself salivating.
Diner is more than burgers though. We also shared a Sirloin. It was grilled, so it had beautiful char marks, and then was sliced and plated with grilled spinach and an heirloom tomato salad. I’m not sure who the genius is that decided to grill spinach but I need to meet this person ASAP. Spinach takes on a whole new level of deliciousness when it is grilled. It was so intensely flavorful but light, which made it the perfect addition to one buttery soft piece of meat.
We also shared the Pork Chop, which was grilled and served on top of a garlicy sauce. It was juicy and hearty and so insanely delicious, I was surprised no one at the table picked up the bone to salvage the last, impossibly small pieces of meat left.
Diner’s food is comforting, but it’s not comfort food. I would eat here when I’m sad, when I’m celebrating, when I’m starving, or when I’m totally full. This is the food you cannot pass up. This place is so cool, that if someone took me here on a date and I didn’t know about this place beforehand, I might just be getting undressed at the table. Clearly the way to my heart is through my stomach, but you already know that…