Friday, June 10, 2011
Skyline Chili Review
When many people think of Cincinnati chili the restaurant that comes to mind is Skyline Chili. Like how many Southerners will refer to all soft drinks as "Coke", many refer to Cincinnati style chili as "Skyline". To further expand on that, Skyline Chili is the #1 brand associated with the entire city of Cincinnati. When people visit Cincinnati they make sure to try this Skyline Chili they have heard so much about. On my Tweet Deck feed I have a search dedicated to Cincinnati chili, its always fun to see peoples reactions to their first Skyline experience. We haven't had Skyline since December so it was a fun experience to go back and look at their chili in a new way. Would we still enjoy it like we did pre-quest or has it fallen behind some of the other parlors we have visited?
Even though I go past two Skyline's almost every weekday (3 if you count the Fountain Square location), I have resisted the urge to visit Skyline during the quest. It had been 5 months since my last Skyline coney and it was nice to visit an old friend. Since we have tasted such a wide variety of coneys during those 5 months the differences between Skyline and the other 16 parlors stood out as soon as I took my first bite.
I enjoyed all the other aspects of the Skyline coney as well. One area where the Skyline coney excels is their cheese. Much like the chili, you get a large amount of cheese on each coney and it has a good freshly shredded cheddar taste. They are also very consistent with the cheese, I can't think of one Skyline visit where the cheese disappointed me. The hot dog could be a little plumper, maybe the amount of chili and cheese makes the hot dog seem even smaller, but I felt it had a good flavor. The buns were soft and fresh.
Overall I still enjoy Skyline Chili a lot. They put together a solid coney. Looking at it through a different perspective I can see why some love Skyline more than anything else in Cincinnati, but I can also see why others just don't like it at all. In my opinion they are still one of the best parlors in town, however I do not believe they are THE best in town.
I give Skyline a 3.9 out of 5.
Before the quest began Skyline had been the only chili parlor I had been to. It was incredibly interesting to sample 16 other varieties of Cincinnati style chili and then come back to the brand that first introduced me to the cheese coney.
Skyline's flavor is very distinct to me. Though it's has a lot of similarities to many of the other sweet chilis we've sampled, I could pick it out of a blind taste test pretty easily. It has a lot of warm, cinnamony overtones. But the flavor is all in the forefront, and by the second coney the taste is somewhat lost. The added mustard is essential and boosts the base flavor a little. The onions are mostly unnoticeable.
Skyline's cheese is delicious, and it's really loaded on. Unfortunately, the buns do not hold up well against the generous amounts of cheese and chili, and all three of my coneys were spilling apart. The hot dogs were decent but not the most flavorful.
Skyline coneys will always bring back a lot of memories for me. Its an iconic institution, and I have no qualms about introducing Cincinnati style chili to a non-native here. In the quest for the best coney, Skyline gets a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars from me.