Item Purchased: Swiss & Bacon Omelette from LeSabre Restaurant
Location Purchased: LeSabre Restaurant / 1969 W. Montrose / Chicago, IL
Price: $4.75 + tax
Review: As far as greasy-spoon diners go, there are three types. The first is the corner diner that gives the illusion of being the real deal, but takes itself too seriously. The prices are too much for too little, the food is nothing that you can’t make at home with the minimal know-how and the owners think that their runny shakes and greasy eggs is what constitutes “fine dining.” The second type of diner is the diner that replicates whatever amalgam of breakfast-joint memories you have to a T, is priced moderate to high, but what you get is what you would expect for the price and is staffed with charismatic people who you will always remember and will remember you. Eleven City Diner is a type two diner. Chicago could stand to have more of these as opposed to the former.
LeSabre Restaurant is what I consider a type three diner, or an original. These are the places where the waitresses look as if they will spoon your egg salad out of a mayonaise jar, smoke heavily and call you “hon” between their gum snaps. The food is cheap and greasy, the specials are gravy and meat with mythological names and the coffee is so weak that it wears glasses and a pocket protector. These are the kinds of places that remind you that you are in the city and not in some condominium sub-division or tourist attraction.
For $4.75, I recieved a pool of grease with an egg concoction folded and floating on top. Half melted swiss cheese and crispy bacon chunks as big as large toenails wandered around inside. An equally large collection of browned potatoes made to douse with salt and pepper sat beside it and two small slices of toast with just a dab of butter melted in between had their own coach house of a plate.
This is the kind of food that goes down easy, digests quickly and leaves you thirsty for more, despite its heart stopping abilities. It is nothing special, but that’s just the way it should be in my book. A meal like this one always reminds me of the Tom Waits album, “Nighthawks At The Diner” and if it were up to me, it would be a required soundtrack. If more of the type 1 diners took notes from places like LeSabre, hangover brunch would be a much more enjoyable experience.
Rating: 4.25 / 5