People love to talk about about a certain Park Avenue restaurant space being jinxed, but, really, that place doesn’t have anything on the building at 5350 International Drive in Orlando. That place changes hands more often than Facebook changes privacy policies. Churrascarias, Italian chophouses, and others even more forgettable.
Now comes Hash House a Go Go, an oddly named mini chain with locations in Montville, CT., Chicago, San Diego, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Las Vegas and Reno. There must be something in HHaGG’s business plan that specifically mentions gamblers. Perhaps someone has discovered that the only thing a high roller likes more than a big jackpot is a big breakfast.
A really big breakfast.
The portions here are outsized and designed to impress, if not frighten and intimidate. Take, for example, the restaurant’s signature fried chicken and bacon waffle tower, which probably has more calories than the average adult male should eat in a week. (Excuse me, could you please pass the syrup?) Or the house version of eggs Benedict with smoked bacon, basted eggs, red pepper cream on a biscuit, all sitting atop mashed potatoes.
When the food gets this big and ostentatious, one naturally braces oneself for the trade-off in quality. But Hash House delivers there, too. All of the food I tasted -- and I do mean tasted; I left a good deal of it on the plate -- was quite good, well prepared and evenly seasoned.
The aforementioned chicken and waffles was a visual study in culinary acrobatics. The stacked ingredients seemed to defy gravity (a trait not usually considered a good thing when we’re talking about consumables). But as I said, the dish was more than just a pretty plate. The boneless chicken had a bit of sage in its fried jacket. There were at least two rashers of bacon on the bottom, under the thick waffles that were held down by the chicken, which were decorated with frizzle-fried scallions.
The eggs Benedict, though completely removed from traditional Benedict, including fried instead of poached eggs, nevertheless was delicious, especially the thick red pepper coulis.
I’m a sucker for corned beef hash and eggs, and I’m usually disappointed at being served something that all but has the Dinty Moore trademark stamped on it. No mistaken freshly made hash (if that’s even possible) at the aptly named Hash House. This hash was more shredded, like a pulled pork, and there was a lot more meat than potatoes, if there were any potatoes at all. Move evident were red and yellow pepper pieces and bits of onion. My eggs were served to the side of the hash instead of on top of it, the way God intended hash and eggs to be served, but I corrected that error with a little light lifting.
One of my guests had a more sedate plate of simple scrambled eggs served with hash cottage fries and bacon, plus a wedge of watermelon and toast speared with a rosemary stalk. Presentation is everything, apparently.
The atmosphere rises well above your typical hash slinger joint. Warm woods, black and white photo displays, obscured glass partitions and, for some reason I really can’t explain, a tractor add to the decor.
Service was friendly and efficient.
I never did get an explanation for the restaurant’s name. The first Hash House a Go Go opened in 2000, in San Diego, so it wasn’t a throwback to the ‘60s dance theme, and, thankfully, the staff doesn’t dress in vinyl knee-high boots and mini-dresses. And I would think it ill-advised to use the words Go Go in a restaurant’s name -- you’re just asking for trouble.
But Hash House a Go Go does just fine with what it has. If you’re afraid you’re not going to have anything else to eat for the next several days and so you want to fill up, by all means go go.
Hash House a Go Go is at 5350 International Drive, Orlando. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Prices are more than you’d pay for a Grand Slam but reflect the quality and the quantity. My chicken and waffles was $15.95. The basic two-egger that my guest had was $7.95. Here’s a link to Hash House a Go Go’s website. The phone number is 407-370-4646.