Open Tab: The Lucky Platter offers comfort food with a twist
May 30, 2018
It’s Saturday morning. You wake up with a throbbing headache, an inhuman thirst for water and a vague sense of shame about what happened last night. As you chug Gatorade and attempt to find pants in the swaths of dirty clothing covering your floor, your memory starts the slow, painful crawl through the festivities of last evening. Your off-key screechy rendition of “Love on Top,” telling your roommate Kristin how you really feel about her heinous new haircut, trying to crowdsurf in a crowd of four people (that’s where the mystery bruises came from) and finally getting up the nerve to ask out your lab partner … in front of his girlfriend.
You need to find some comfort food to soak up the alcohol and regret, and you need to do it away from the judging eyes of other Northwestern students. You need to go to The Lucky Platter.
Located just off Chicago Avenue and Main Street, it’s a bit of a trek from NU’s campus, but if you put on some sunglasses and pretend you’re not dead inside, the journey is well worth it. The cheery diner has a modern 1950s aesthetic, resplendent with paintings of horses and the Kennedys adorning the walls. An airborne tin fish and colorful paper lanterns provide some whimsy, and crystalline light fixtures with colander bases add a dash of kitsch.
The patrons range from young families to older couples and everyone in between. Everyone, that is, except Northwestern students. Looking around the room, the cozy restaurant seems completely free of familiar faces. What greater gift is there to the hangover than that of an oasis of comfort food and coffee, free from the burden of uninvited small talk?
The diner’s menu is perfect for a jägerbomb-battered body with a refined palate. The Lucky Platter takes your grandma’s greatest hits and adds a modern flourish. Selections range from sourdough pancakes to crab cake eggs benedict. While most menu items have some kind of unexpected ingredient added to them, there’s nothing too shocking to the taste buds: this is comfort food at its most elevated.
Take, for instance, the diner’s French toast. Made with a raisin brioche and coated in cornflakes, there was a surprising savoriness with a hint of salt from the cornflakes that helped balance the dark and mellow sweetness of the raisins and the saccharine sharpness from the strawberries. Where French toasts in other diners can become nothing more than sugary syrup transporters, this creation had its own personality while staying true to the core expectations of a patron ordering the dish.
The same goes for the fried green tomato benedict. Tied together by the creamy, eggy essence of any good benedict, the dish balanced an unanticipated contrast between the acidity of the tomatoes and the buttery sweetness of the toasted cornbread base. It’s not only a delightful twist on a classic brunch staple, it’s also a rare vegetarian option for the dish.
With most brunch options offered for under $10, The Lucky Platter is the place to go to eat away your sadness without breaking the bank. While it may not heal your mystery bruises or repair your soiled reputation, this lively diner can certainly give you a charming atmosphere to run away from your problems and sate your appetite.
Read more from the June edition of The Monthly here.