Restaurant Review: Philco Bar + Diner
From the looks of it, Philco Bar + Diner is the sort of thing that’s in the right place at the right time. Filled to the gills with patrons, Philco is a petit little joint in the Short North. It just opened in the old Phillip’s Coney spot, filling the shoes of a century-old local institution. Things are different now. The new diner is slick. It’s a diner where you’ll see guests swirling their wine glasses… while gulping down a biscuit sandwich: clearly a good fit for the neighborhood.
In the great diner tradition, breakfast is served all day (hurrah!). The Steak & Eggs ($13) is good stuff at a pretty good value. An order offers a decent sized pile of eggs (the scrambled ones were pleasantly fluffy, and the menu says they come from free-range chickens) with nice wedges of trimmed steak piled up with some home fries. The beef is a grade or two higher than truck stop steak, which makes the dish a treat.
For the Breakfast Biscuit ($6) crowd, there’s a fluffy biscuit filled with fried egg, creamy chèvre and chorizo for sausage. The chorizo (nicely non-greasy) is an interesting twist, and makes a fine substitute for regular sausage.
Moving beyond the breakfast tray, there are a variety of other edibles for guests to nosh on after 11am. From the Salad department, consider an Iceberg Salad ($7). It’s a big, intact wedge, drizzled with gorgonzola dressing, plus a few croutons and some crispy fried slices of chorizo.
The Grilled Cheese Sandwich ($8) was sort of underwhelming. It’s more of an apples and bacon sandwich with a teeny touch of cheese –not really enough to even glue the parts together. Of course, if you like crunchy-apples-and-bacon sandwich, then this is totally up your alley.
More beloved is the Phillip’s Burger ($8). That one is pretty darn good. Teamed with Ohio cheddar, a loaded mayo, and an intense dose of oven-dried tomato, the burger nicely executed and served in soft challah.
While almost the entire menu is served by 11am and runs throughout the day, there are just a few items that are for the evening crowd only: Steak Frites, 40 Clove Chicken, and a Pork Shoulder Pot Roast. You can find those after 4pm.
Sides are sold separately. Two of them in particular are exquisite. The Fresh Cut Fries ($2.50) are thick cut, soft inside and crackling outside. The Maple Ricotta Cornbread ($2.50) is also outstanding. First, because the combination in itself is conceptually divine. The execution is top-shelf too: a dense cornbread with a soaking pour of maple. The sodden bites are, as expected, the best bites.
The menu-slash-placemat offers a modest, manageable selection of edibles, but there’s room on the sheet of paper for six desserts. The Chocolate Chip Cookies ($4) were really interesting. They were puffy and crumbly – an unusual texture. Still, the texture made them team especially well with a cup of milk. Worth a try for those who find the regular tollhouse version to be passe.
You can find Philco Bar + Diner at 747 N. High Street. It’s open early for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
More information can be found online at www.facebook.com/PhilcoBar.diner.
Photos by Mollie Lyman of www.fornixphotography.com.