There were no less than three obstacles in the way of capturing any decent photos inside The Silver Palm. Uh, make that four. Starting out the night with vodka gimlets at the neighboring Matchbox does not a steady hand make. The second factor was the dim (albeit cool) lighting inside the train car that is The Silver Palm. The third was a collection of grease that slowly built up on our grubby mitts as we grabbed for calamari, French fries, duck proscuitto sandwiches, ribs and Three Little Pigs Sandwiches (the original reason for our visit) between two tables and the narrow center aisle of the old train. And the fourth were the mitts themselves, hands dodging each other to grab at the pork products piling up in front of us almost faster than I could snap. By now my dining companions know my photo protocol, their stomachs rumble quietly, their anxious fists clench forks and knives as they wait for me to get the right exposure and shot before they hear that final thankful click that signifies, OK, you can eat. But when the item in front of you is the Three Little Pigs, digging in is hard to resist.
Did I mention we ordered only two? For six people. The six people? The BST (Big Sandwich Tuesday) crew who came out for the best BST yet, this one on a Thursday. First seen on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and then later brought to my attention by a fellow BST’er, the Three Little Pigs is deep-fried pork cutlet, smoked ham, gruyère cheese, a massive onion ring, two strips of bacon and two fried eggs on a brioche roll. We ordered two, along with a rack of ribs, fish tacos, duck club sandwich and calamari. Intimidated by the mass amounts of swine piled onto the famous sandwich, we truly believed that two orders would be enough for the table. We were wrong. “It’s a hint a bacon, a hint of ham, awesome pork tenderloin,” said one BST’er between bites. He was lucky enough to have one of the 3LP’s placed in front of him. He gave us all a taste, but then quickly devoured the rest on his own. But that taste offered up a lot more than just a hint of bacon and ham. I lurrved the texture of the fried cutlet, the ham was perfectly smoky and almost overshadowed the bacon strips. More juicy greasy crunch came from the onion ring and a luscious layer of gruyère graciously kept everything together. The fried eggs flanked the glorious pile adding what a fried eggs does when topping well, anything, and somehow a flaky brioche roll held up to it all.
It took one bite to be collectively convinced that yeah, yeah, yeah we all probably could’ve eaten our own 3LP, and yes, we probably should’ve ordered more than two. The ribs were so-so, I actually loved the duck proscuitto and cherry club (although there could’ve been more tender duck breast)… and the fish tacos? “they needed more pork,” stated that unfortunate BST’er. I think we were all ready for a lot more pork and our own 3LP. Next time. There’s always another Tuesday or Thursday and room for another big sandwich…and at least three more Little Pigs. The Silver Palm, 768 N. Milwaukee, 312.666.9322