Sometimes, you just want a taste of Americana, so we walked down to the Starr Diner.
The host immediately showed us to a booth and handed us an extensive menu of breakfast items, sandwiches and hot dish dinners.
My husband couldn’t decide between the day’s dinner specials, so we ordered the Potato Skins ($5.99) appetizer to give him a few more minutes. The platter contained four large potato halves, stuffed with plenty of well-fried bacon and covered with melted cheddar cheese. To gild the lily, there were individual containers of sour cream, which weren’t necessary to the dish, but did up its dairy fat content most satisfyingly.
My cousin Ed, the meat professional, knew he wanted the Homemade Meatloaf Dinner ($9.99) with mashed potatoes and gravy on both. When told the meal came with another side, he chose applesauce to freshen his palate (yes, he’s learning to be a foodie after coming with me on all these review meals!). The enormous plate contained meatloaf that, in his opinion, had the right proportion of meat (as in lots!) to filler (as in, only enough to bind the loaf).
Either soup or salad came with his dinner, so Ed picked a cup of Chicken Orzo Soup which he felt had plenty of chicken and had been made fresh that day.
Also feeling traditional, I chose the Homemade Chicken Croquette Dinner ($9.99), which comes with mashed potatoes and chicken gravy. Ed’s idea of applesauce to cleanse the palate was such a good idea that I chose it as my side, also. For soup, I picked Seafood Bisque which was a nice mix of seafood in a pleasant cream base.
There were “only” two Chicken Croquettes (patties of mashed potatoes and/or bread stuffing, shredded chicken, egg, onion and herbs encased in bread crumbs) on my plate, but they were so large that I could only eat one for dinner. We all agreed that everyone’s mashed potatoes were made from real potatoes and were among the best in town.
My husband decided on the Chicken Oscar Dinner ($11.99) with crab cake, asparagus and Hollandaise sauce. For his two sides, he chose coleslaw and stewed tomatoes. After the mashed potatoes, the stewed tomatoes were the best side of the night with tomatoes, peppers and onions stewed with sugar to temper the tomatoes’ acid bite. Hollandaise sauce can be tricky, but this was beautifully and bountifully prepared over tasty breaded chicken cutlets, a crab cake and four asparagus spears.
Instead of soup, my husband chose a salad which was fresh iceberg lettuce, red cabbage flecks, green pepper, cucumber, carrot, and grape tomatoes with grated cheese on top. His dinner also came with a choice of pudding or Jello for dessert, so he picked tapioca pudding.
All of our dinners came with bread and butter, so our server simply gave us a basket with a small loaf of Italian bread and many individual butter portions.
There was so much food that none of us could finish our meal! Looking around, no one else seemed to be finishing their dinners, either, so like them, we asked for a box for our leftovers. The pies and cakes in the refrigerated case looked lovely, but we were full to the brim, so had to pass.
Our server appeared to be an inexperienced high school student who was just learning the ropes of waitressing. Her biggest difficulty appeared to be carrying the overloaded dishes, but if she stays at Starr Diner, she’ll definitely develop the muscles in her arms and be able to lug anything, anywhere.
We arrived hungry and left with enough food for lunch the next day. The prices aren’t quite as cheap as other diners, but the portions and flavors ensure that you get your money’s worth. If you’re hungry and looking for “American” food, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Starr Diner.
If You Go:
Location: 785 Starr St., Phoenixville
Cost: $2.50 to $18
Hours: Monday through Saturday: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Payments accepted: Cash, Credit Cards
Parking: Free lot