The Classic Diner has always intended its name to be a little tongue-in-cheek. Most diners, after all, do not encourage customers to customize their eggs benedict order with a layer of ahi tuna. A similarly upscale culinary approach informs all of the "diner's" menu items, elevating roadside mainstays to the level of an upscale restaurant's choicest dishes. Apple sausage and turkey-pepper hash accompany eggs done any way, from scrambled to drizzled directly into an open mouth. Omelets arrive stuffed with a smorgasbord of fresh veggies. Fried jalapeños can be easily stacked atop char-grilled Angus burgers. Lunch, served until 3 p.m., ventures outside of the diner definition with parmesan-crusted chicken with saffron risotto and sautéed steak tips in a red-wine demi-glace.
Ruby's Diner has dedicated more than 25 years to dishing up mouthwatering menus of all-American grilled goodies, served in an old-fashioned atmosphere replete with a highly trained staff and lightning-fast service. Fix fangs into a third of a pound of all-natural USDA Choice beef from grass-fed, hormone-free cows with the hickory burger, bursting with thick-cut hickory-smoked bacon, steak-cut onion rings, melted cheddar, and tangy barbecue sauce ($9.99). A refillable bounty of Ruby's famous fries accompanies all burgers and sandwiches and boasts zero trans-fats, and those willing to dish out an extra dollar and an exaggerated pronunciation of the word "spicy" can opt to spicy up frisky frites with garlic, Cajun, and parmesan-blue spices.
Ralphie B's dishes up a dinner menu brimming with homestyle cooking crafted from many locally sourced ingredients. Answer an appetite's growled demands with a slap from a baked Virginia-style ham slathered in pineapple sauce ($10.95), or let a 12-ounce roast-prime-rib of beef-au-jus muffle hunger beneath a heap of sides—a vegetable, potato, and choice of soup or salad ($17.95). The veal Leonardo bursts with sautéed onions, mushrooms, and rocket-powered peppers ($16.95), and the fried seafood combo sports a collection of jumbo shrimp, scallops, fillet of flounder, and crab cake pulled from Poseidon's own exotic fish tank ($16.99).
Diners at Formosa Asian Cuisine certainly can't complain about a lack of choices: more than 100 pad thai, fried rice, and curry dishes fill the menu, which is organized into beef, chicken, pork, and seafood categories. Quite a few of the dishes turn up the heat—the Dragon & Phoenix tosses jumbo shrimp and general tso's chicken in chili sauce—and others deliver crispy textures, such as the deep-fried duck. Diners savor these meals and sip BYOB beverages in a dining room replete with tasteful touches from pale-pink seating and blond-wood accents to linen napkins folded to eerily resemble your favorite Beatle.
At any hour of the day or night, patrons can slide into Darling’s Diner’s modern, orange booths and order breakfast specialties or homestyle lunches and dinners—many with low-cal and vegan options. The cooks whip up favorites such as club sandwiches and three-egg omelets 24 hours a day as an homage to the classic diners that tirelessly fed humanity’s ancestors. On the more modern side of the spectrum, they man a full bar that’s open until 2 a.m., mixing vintage-themed cocktails and doling out beers. The indoor seating’s cozy glow of warm pendant lights is juxtaposed by the patio, where diners can nibble on cheesecake-stuffed french toast or grilled corned beef reubens—with slow-cooked kraut on Kaplan’s Rye bread—in open air. In addition to its diner dishes, the kitchen is known for its Philadelphia-style cheesecakes, which range from classic to berry cuvee with guava.
Sam's Morning Glory Diner marries the aura of a small '50s eatery with the relatively modern trend of sourcing food from local purveyors. Chefs troll the Italian Market and Reading Terminal for the fruits, meats, and cheeses that go into gargantuan frittatas and berry biscuits. The time-tested breakfast sandwich is revamped on fresh focaccia bread, and seitan, a tender wheat-based protein, sneaks its way into faux-chicken cheesesteaks without anyone being the wiser. Flowers overflow from outside windowsills, and stainless-steel mugs keep coffee warm alongside sandwiches packed with prosciutto, roasted peppers, and pesto, like an incompetent lawyer’s briefcase.