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Reviews of brunch dishes.

The Brunch Dish: Humble Hash Steps into the Spotlight at Hash

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[Photographs: Chelsea Ross]

When it comes to brunch, hash is about as humble as it gets. Unlike some dishes that lend themselves easily to highfalutin interpretations (lobster Benedict, fried chicken pancakes, etc.), hash is sublime in its simplicity. That's not to suggest that humble hash can't be elevated and celebrated, as proven by aptly named newcomer Hash. Here, the focus is on hearty, crafty, soul-smacking hashes blinged out with unique accoutrements. It's a warming homage to the most modest of brunch dishes, one typically relegated to the side dish section. It's the ultimate comfort food, like a hug from grandma that you can eat.

Hash has a handful of non-hashy items on the menu, but the pivotal dish is obviously hash, available in a myriad of preparations. The menu draws inspiration from all over, from the chorizo-spiced crannies of Humboldt Park to the hulking club sandwiches of deli dreams. The former comes to life in the Humboldt hash ($5.25 with one egg, $6.75 with two eggs), a vivifying medley of black beans, hominy, cilantro, Chihuahua cheese, chorizo (or soyrizo if you're so inclined), and of course potatoes, the nexus of all hashes. It's all topped off with some fried plantain, a cup of salsa verde, and optional avocado, but when presented with the option of avocado, the answer is always yes. Altogether, the hash tastes like the succulent innards of a taqueria burrito, mildly spicy and melded together in a stew-like plate of satisfaction. Each hash comes topped with one or two eggs served any way. Poached eggs are a wise choice, because the golden nectar of an oozy egg yolk has never been more apropos.

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Hash tips its hat to England with its bubble and squeak hash ($5.25 with one egg, $6.75 with two eggs), a jolly hodgepodge of pork shoulder, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts, served with a side of mustard cream sauce that is tempting to just spoon directly into one's mouth. The tender threads of shredded pork are as sublime as fine barbecue, interspersed with juicy, crisp Brussels sprouts, and toasty sweet potatoes. It's a bit hearty for summer fare, but if enjoying porky, sprouty hash on a hot day is wrong, then sinning is too delicious to quit.

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For the breakfast club hash ($6.75 with one egg, $7.95 with two eggs), Hash derives inspiration from the deli, tossing potatoes amidst ingredients typically found stacked between bread. This includes chicken, bacon, grilled romaine, marinated tomatoes, and a side of housemade ranch. I'll be damned if this doesn't taste like a club sandwich, only better because it's crowned with eggs and heaped with potatoes. Morsels of chicken are tender and juicy, bacon is crisp and rich, and the grilled romaine is revelatory, proving that the lettuce is more than a one-trick salad pony. The only way it could be any better is if Molly Ringwald served it to me.

Thanks to Hash, the humblest of brunch dishes gets its day in the sun. No more playing second fiddle to omelettes and Benedicts. Here, it's all about casual comfort food centered around the dish that makes brunch tick.

Hash

1357 North Western Avenue, Chicago IL 60622 (map)
773-661-2964
hashchicago.com

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