Though Philco Bar + Diner has been open since 2013, the Short North restaurant closed for an extended period over the summer, reopening in late October after minor renovations. Fans of the modern diner – which derives its name from the previous tenant, Phillip’s Coney Island — will be glad to know that the eatery has returned to form. The updates include newly upholstered booths and a few tweaks to the menu.
Breakfast is served all day; the menu features eight dedicated items, including classics such as biscuits and sausage gravy ($10) and a traditional breakfast of two eggs, bacon and pancakes ($9).
Returning items include the fried egg tacos (two for $8), which fill corn tortillas with black bean salsa, cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa roja and eggs. Diners have the choice of eggs sunny side up or over medium. The addition of chorizo ($4 more) gives the tacos a helpful little kick.
The huevos rancheros ($10) take many of the same ingredients but present them open-faced on a plate: eggs, corn tortillas, black beans, salsa verde, charred peppers and onions, all sprinkled with cotija cheese and topped with a dollop of sour cream.
The breakfast biscuit ($8) seems a little small for the price but features one of the most cohesive flavor combinations on the menu. A soft, buttery and salty biscuit is sliced in half and filled with an egg (the server recommended over medium), chorizo, chevre goat cheese and shallot preserves. The biscuit plays nicely with the chorizo’s zest and the sweetness of the preserves.
The biggest addition to the breakfast menu is three versions of the Hawaiian dish loco moco. The traditional take ($9.50) marries white rice with brown gravy, two fried eggs and grilled Spam. The “Mainland style” ($10) substitutes grilled burger patties and onions for the Spam, and the “Latina style” ($10.50) layers rice, black beans, charred peppers and onions, and two eggs. The separate elements of the “Latina style” version are flavorful, but they don’t always come together. Adding chorizo ($4) helps round things out, although perhaps the addition of some cheese or more complex seasoning in the rice and beans would complete the dish.
With the welcoming atmosphere of a contemporary diner and a breakfast menu that includes mostly hits, it’s good to see Philco Bar + Diner back on its feet.