Monday, December 20, 2010

Hash House A Go Go, Las Vegas NV

With a room full of Robuchon gifts leftover our fourth day would have been an easy one to sleep in and eat breakfast in the room - but why do things easy when there are so many great places to dine in Las Vegas? Despite my multiple trips to Sin City in the past I'd regretfully been without a car on past visits and as such never been able to visit the local legend of "twisted farm food" - Hash House A Go-Go. Having heard that a third (the other in San Diego) location of the famous spot had recently opened in the Imperial Palace and waking up early as ever we made our way to the restaurant around 8:00am without reservations and found only 3-4 tables occupied.

With late eighties classics blasting we made our way to the hostess podium where we were greeted by a young lady clad in jeans and a HHAGG shirt who led us to a four-top big enough for eight - no doubt Hash House does everything big. Taking a seat we were soon greeted by our server, Noelle, a pleasant young woman who was substantially more cordial and efficient than necessary at such a restaurant (a good thing, for sure.) Menus in hand we were left to decide while a mountainous eggs benedict passed by en route for another table. Hilariously enough, while we were waiting a group of six young men approached the hostess stand and then left because "oh man, we thought this was a buffet." Clearly they'd not seen the portion sizes.


Sitting and chatting while coffee, water, orange juice, and tea were filled we decided to order only three items and share them around. With prices ranging from $7-$17 we were informed that one of us would have to pay a $2 split entree fee - when I chuckled saying okay the response was "you'd be amazed how angry some people get about it" - clearly I'm jaded. Sitting back and listening to Rock You Like a Hurricane while sipping the surprisingly good coffee the restaurant slowly filled up.


Arriving in less than 20 minutes the portions were precisely as expected - enormous and delicious looking. With a sweet, a savory, and a "dessert" there was too much food for four people. Beginning first with the Blackberry Granola Flapjacks, my sister's choice although I'd lobbied for the Snickers Flapjacks, the pancake itself was enormous - literally the size of a car tire in diameter though thankfully not as thick. With ample warm syrup and butter to spread there was really nothing subtle or nuanced, it was just good cofort food and the sweet blackberries worked nicely with the crunchy honey granola.

Perhaps the most famous Hash House dish would be my order – “Sage Fried Chicken stacked with our famous bacon waffle, hot maple caramel reduction and crowned with fried leeks.” Golden and crispy the chicken was amply accented with sage and actually quite delicious. Stacked above and below four golden waffles loaded with whole strips (not small bits like other places) of salty bacon and topped with crispy leeks plus a sauce that was much more maple than caramel I have to admit that this was a huge portion of food. While clearly not as subtle and refined as Bouchon’s chicken and waffles I actually much preferred this to Roscoe’s famous Los Angeles version and the less famous option at DC’s Founding Farmers.

Our dessert would be Andy's famous Bread pudding topped with ice cream and served with a cup of coffee. With the coffee alone costing $2.50 on the menu this bread pudding is the deal of the breakfast menu at a mere $7.95. A portion easily large enough for two hungry people or a family of four to share after dinner the pudding was essentially a black and white coffee cake that would have filled 3/4 of a standard loaf pan. Buttery and rife with chocolate the steaming hot pudding was then topped with melted Snickers bars, doused with chocolate and caramel syrups, then piled high with two large scoops of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and crumbly brown sugar. Like the other choices there was nothing subtle about this caloric monster but honestly for all its audacity it was really quite good.

Settling the bill (about $14 each after tax and a 25% tip) and returning a large portion to the kitchen (we still had P.U.B. leftovers and the Robuchon basket in the room) we thanked our service team and made our way to the door accompanied by Eddie Van Halen’s Eruption. Generally a fan of refined flavors, elaborate cooking techniques, quiet dining rooms, excellent service, and great food Hash House A Go Go wasn’t exactly my kind of place – but the service was excellent and the food was pretty darn good.

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