Food Review: Sinclair’s, Newark DE
Sinclair’s is a breakfast/lunch place on the corner of Chapel Street and Main Street in downtown Newark. Their specialty seems to be pancakes, with a new flavor every day. If you like the flavor of the day, then I suggest that you try them, since the next time you go there may be a flavor you don’t like, and that’s the only pancake you can get.
The interior isn’t much to speak of, evoking a place more concerned with the food than with ambience. They have art from local artists on display, which can be both good and bad depending on the quality. Still, it’s a nice touch to an otherwise dumpy overall appearance. Little touches like the ketchup being in a squeeze bottle more often associated with a barbeque dive add up to an unpleasing aesthetic.
The service is hit or miss, depending on the staff member serving you. I heard one engaging, polite, and friendly server, one unpolished and somewhat off-putting server, and one bland uninspiring server. We had the bland one, so while she didn’t actively offend me, nothing she did was particularly pleasant either. The 3 servers didn’t do much to help each other, either, so it was not uncommon for a table to come in and get service before one that arrived a few minutes earlier. My guess is that the staff alternates new arrivals, so if you come in and your server happens to be the busy one, expect to see others jump the queue as they enter.
The food definitely helps to make up for the rest. The menu is focused on breakfast items, turkey sandwiches, and vegetarian fare. If you want a reuben, you’ll need to get it with turkey, at which point it’s no longer a reuben, but whatever. Most recently, I had the eggs benedict in the traditional style. The hollandaise sauce had a nice bite to it, making it just a bit spicy, but it stood out as one of the best versions of the classic that I’ve had in a very long time. The home fries were good, nicely crisped instead of the weak boiled style that seems to be more prevalent every day. I happily would have devoured more if it had been present.
I did not try the pancakes, since the flavor (whole wheat almond) didn’t appeal to me in the slightest, but I have had them before, and they are large and excellent. I sampled the coffee flavor of the day (hazelnut) and it was good, but the old lipstick on one side of the rim was a bit off-putting. So was the unknown substance on the salt shaker, which I presume was probably syrup at one point. This indicates a certain level of uncaring by the staff, but that does not seem to include the cook. The individual ability and flair of that person comes through in the food.
Overall, I say go there for breakfast and enjoy yourself. The look inside and wait staff won’t wow you, but the food is good and worth trying. It won’t become one of my regular haunts, but I’ll stop by once a season or so if I’m in the area.