Restaurant Review: Skillet, Rustic.Urban.Food
While restaurants that start badly very rarely get good, eateries that open strong often fade away. The staff leaves, or the recipes change, or maybe the restaurant tries to expand too quickly. It’s the changes that kill in the restaurant business.
Meanwhile, in the four years it’s been open, it seems like time has stood still for Skillet RUF (the RUF stands for Rustic Urban Food). It’s still in a teeny spot on Whittier, and Skillet is still serving food that’s from some odd zone caught between homespun and fancy.
Case in point, instead of a homey “grilled” cheese, the menu frequently features Griddled Cheese. At twelve dollars, it’s on the higher end of the market for a grilled cheese sandwich, but it’s excellent value starting with sturdy bread, each side with a golden buttery toasting. Between the slices are two distinct types of cheese: a goat cheddar and an herbed chevre. Normally, goat is not the most lovable thing, but the cheddary richness outpaces the goat flavor.
And for the twelve-dollar sandwich price, a bowl of soup is included in the meal too. The Adzuki Bean soup has a brothy balance of beans, bacon, micro slices of celery and root vegetables. (You can score a bowl of the soup on its own for $6.)
While a regular burger is an option, the Lamb Burger ($14) is a great showcase for the kitchen’s creative skills. The mild lamb meat is teamed with onion marmelade, cheese and a savvy touch of mint, all on a firm brioche roll: brilliant combo.
Skillet is also highly regarded for its weekend brunch offerings. Those offerings sometimes make guest appearances on the regular weekday menu too. When it comes to the house Pork and Grits ($14), the entree’s namesakes aren’t even the stars of the show. Long strands of soft pork and creamy grits provide a mild and sturdy background for tender braised kale (with bonus bacon) and an egg that is so nicely fried, it almost inspires tears. Hiding an oozy golden center, the egg is a giant saucer of white with little buttery brown pockmarks of perfection.
The Farmstead Cheese Omelet ($12) works to underscore the team’s mastery in the egg department. The folds of egg hold something described as “sharp two year clothbound farmhouse cheddar”, and all those fancy words add up to a melty cheese with developed, rich, mouth-filling flavor.
And, for the sweet tooths (sweet teeth?), if you can get a griddled cinnamon roll ($6), it’s worth every penny. The soft, warm roll teams a little maple accent with the traditional sweet cinnamon elements.
Skilllet’s menu changes daily, as is the case with any restaurant that is driven by locally available ingredients. The shifting options are posted on their website here.
You can find Skillet at 410 E. Whittier. It’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but open Wednesday through the weekends. It serves lunch Wednesdays through Fridays from 11am until 2:30pm and dinner hours run 5:30pm until 9pm. On Saturdays and Sundays, brunch is served from 8am until 2pm.
More information can be found online at www.skilletruf.com.
Photos by Mollie Lyman of www.fornixphotography.com.