Town Talk Diner — July 2, 2010

6 07 2010

Town Talk Diner
2707 E. Lake Street

Three-day weekends are the perfect excuse to enjoy Friday night at a slower pace, relax from a busy week and glide into the long holiday. We joined the movement of people escaping downtown (though not intending to go so far as a northern lake house) and ventured southeast to explore a new neighborhood and grab a low-key dinner. Town Talk Diner fit the bill with its simple menu that wouldn’t break the bank and long list of fun cocktails to help us kick off the celebratory weekend.

Town Talk’s front patio had open seats, so we took advantage. The diner’s clean, retro feel wasn’t unique enough to keep us from the 75-degree breeze and mid-summer sunset outside. Nearly empty at 8:30 when we arrived, a late-night happy hour brought a second wave of customers around 11 when groups of friends, couples and families crowded the tables.

Brat Burger with spicy sauerkraut and fries

We sipped on cocktails as we waited for our entrees: a Town Talk Jameson Ginger for Jim (a mixture of whiskey and the diner’s homemade ginger beer) and a 36 Chambers for me (tequila, agave lemon sour and soda). The drink list had great variety with both traditional mixes and original potions, and included some throwback options like a Miller High Life 40 oz served in an ice bucket, or a 16 oz can of Pabst Blue Ribbon for just four bucks. With a menu like that, you get to choose just how fancy you’d care to go!

Our food arrived a short time later. Jim’s Brat Burger looked enticing on the menu, but the “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” reference made it an easy choice. The brat patty had enormous flavor and the spicy sauerkraut was a delightful topping, even to a wavering fan. Topped with bacon and cheese, the sandwich wasn’t far from a cardiac catastrophe, but even I can attest that it was worth the risk. I took a chance on the Organic Tempeh Sandwich, which piled the soy patty with avocado, tomato, cheese and sprouts between two crisp pieces of toast. It was well-made – full, but still manageable with two hands – and tasted incredibly fresh. Both of our sandwiches came with the garlic parsley fries, which were a step up from regular home fries, though the lemon aioli dipping sauce stole the show.

Organic Tempeh Sandwich

Fresh out of the liqueur needed for the German Chocolate Cake adult milkshake – which had driven us to the diner in the first place – we settled on the ice cream sandwich: homemade peanut butter ice cream between two chocolate chip cookies. A batch of cookies was due out of the oven in 15 minutes, and we could have warm, gooey goodness if we didn’t mind the wait (is there really a choice in this matter?!). The cookies arrived almost too hot to touch – so warm that the ice cream had to be served on the side so it wouldn’t become soup in a matter of minutes – but that made it even better. A spoonful of melting chocolate cookie dipped into decadent ice cream made for a perfect bite each time. Though stuffed from dinner, our spoons were almost magnetized to the dish – bringing us back for another bite, even as our stomachs knew better.

Service was somewhat slow, but freshly baked cookies clouded our memories as we dealt the tip. Food was good – not outstanding – and the ambiance and menu selection was somewhat underwhelming. While we wouldn’t pipe up to recommend it, we wouldn’t stop anyone from going. It’s simple, fairly unique, and reasonably priced. We’d advise you set your expectations there, so only to be pleasantly surprised if they’re surpassed. (And bring quarters for the parking meters – after watching the complementary valet, we were glad we parked ourselves!)

RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Ambiance/Environment: ♠♠♠
Menu Selection: ♠♠1/2
Service: ♠♠♠

Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠♠

Total bill, including tip: $63

Town Talk Diner on Urbanspoon




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