I've waited a week to post this because I didn't want the disappointment of my first--and last--visit to Skillet's Ballard location to color my review.
Wahine and I dropped in the morning of Valentine's Day. The place was approximately 2/3 full. We were asked if we had a reservation. No, that isn't accurate. The head hostess *archly* asked if we had a reservation, "since it IS Valentine's Day." This was strange, because: (a) we weren't in any hurry; (b) she seemed not to be asking us, but announcing; and (c) we knew what day it was. Regardless, we were told it'd would be "at least 20 minutes" wait. So we shrugged and waited.
During our wait (no one else came in, with or without reservations, and we were the only people waiting), I noticed that there were no fewer than *four* young lady staff orbiting the desk. They made it clear this was important socializing they were doing, not hostessing, the only distraction from which was a "Real Housewives" attempt to demonstrate a pecking order and pose. Adding to the utterly twee effect was the uniform of the day--plaid shirts and stocking caps.
Anyway, we were seated within 5 minutes (at one of the 10-12 tops that were empty when we arrived). Our server was very nice. The only problem seemed to be that servers here are apparently assigned tables as far away from each other as possible, so they must stomp and run about, dodging each other and patrons. But this look-busy arrangement DID allow a lot more socializing with the hostess coven; few opportunities were missed.
The menu is replete with curious items that are not explained there. For example, "Serious Toast". Thank God we didn't order this, but the adjacent table did. Apparently 'serious' is meant to convey that the "toast" is a quintuple-thick slice--as in a 1/4 loaf. Then there's "Deconstructed Corned Beef Hash". When I asked what this meant (not wanting a corned beef foam on a potato wafer), I was told "Oh, well, it's not really deconstructed. It's just that we use our own corned beef and we use big chunks." Huh? That would make it...wait for it...corned beef hash.
Wahine bit on the hash, and I got the biscuits and gravy. The hash was indeed comprised of large chunks, but hadn't seen a griddle for at least an hour, and was dark, dry and unsavory. My biscuits were more like English crumpets--thin, dense-yet-springy and bereft of crumb, and the serving of weak, thin gravy was so stingy, I had to ask for more just to moisten the crumpets enough to eat them (This step took awhile, as our server was taking care of her far-off tables and posing in her plaid). After poking around on my plate CSI-style, I even found a fragment of sausage!
Throughout this debacle, some tables turned over, but there always seemed to be 8-10 empty tops.
The overall effect? Totally meh food, and the house is so full of itself in a highly affected "Northwest Hip" way that it was unpleasant to dine there. This is too bad, because I've always enjoyed the Cap Hill location. Maybe this is what the Ballard box condo crowd will tolerate, but not us.
You have been forewarned.