I find it comforting to know that some things in Portland are sacred when it comes to food. We’ve all seen so many restaurants come and go, but I sleep better at night knowing that Silly’s will always be around, kind of like the North Star. When it was my turn in the rotation to do an Eat and Run, I was struck with the urge to head to Silly’s. And so I did. Twice.
Their menu is always a lengthy and entertaining read, with funky apps like fried pickles ($7), and Pity the Fu (fried tofu tossed in buffalo sauce for $7). Dinner options include the Slop Bucket (apple wood-smoked pork, BBQ sauce, brown rice, cheddar, coleslaw and red beans layered in a bowl with pickle chips for $14) and Tofu in a Dinghy (garlic, scallion, ginger peanut butter sauce, rice noodles, fried tofu, vegan mozzarella and mushroom wrapped in a flour tortilla and fried until golden for $10.75). They also have a mess of amazing sounding char-grilled pizza, fabulous salads and their legendary Abdullah wraps.
My eyes, however, fixated on their own accord on the section of the menu called “It Comes with Fries …” With things like Pokey Pig, Bleu Swayed ’Cue, Chicky Chicky Bang Bang and Birdhouse in My Soul, I knew I was right where I wanted to be. But I’m also a sucker for tradition, so I looked no further than the cheeseburger ($10), which was a massive charbroiled patty with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle served with Silly’s hand-cut fries. Said burger was a succulent affair and I savored every juicy bite.
The fries were another story. I guess I’m just not a hand-cut fry kind of gal, because I found them to be soggy and just not very good. But I also know that many of you out there will likely love them, though you may find yourself reaching for the salt shaker more than once.
My lunch date turned her attention to the Abdullah wraps and decided on the Disco Chicken, which was hot char-grilled chicken; cold, crunchy cabbage; carrot, lettuce, red and green peppers, onions and broccoli dressed with a miso ginger sauce rolled in a white tortilla ($7.95). She reported back to me that the chicken was delicious and the veggies were raw and crunchy (in a good way). She also remarked that by the last third of the sandwich the dressing was dripping out like water from a faucet, which made her wish the wrap was served on a plate or in a basket rather than just on the butcher paper it came on.
Lunch date’s final comments were compliments about the quite respectable draft beer offerings and the natural lighting of the place.
Four days later, happenstance brought us back to Silly’s with two out-of-town friends, one a vegetarian and the other a vegan. That’s one of the things that’s so great about Silly’s; they satisfy the most hardcore carnivores and the strictest of vegans.
Our waitress was an encyclopedia about every detail of the menu, which our vegan friend appreciated. Yours truly wound up with a heavenly Chicken in a Boat ($10.50). This sublime creation was garlic, scallion, ginger peanut butter sauce, rice noodles, chicken, cheese and mushrooms (hold the mushrooms for me) wrapped in a flour tortilla and fried and served with sour cream and cilantro. Frankly speaking, it was awesome.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the other things about Silly’s that make it such a standout place in my eyes; the decor. You’ll never see a more fabulous collection of ’50s chrome kitchen tables with colorful vinyl covered chairs.
And you’ll never see a more funky array of everything from Mardi Gras beads to retro light fixtures, oddball artwork and even a lamp straight out of “A Christmas Story.” Long live Silly’s!
P.S. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a piece of Silly’s cake. They even make a vegan one, which a friend of mine lives for.
Contact Aimsel Ponti at 791-6455 or at:firstname.lastname@example.org