An acquaintance suggested Hash House A Go Go in Hillcrest, but guaranteed that I wouldn’t be able to finish my food. I dismissed her claim, saying I have a big appetite. I learned that they serve playful, flavorful comfort food with portion sizes that would intimidate the Flintstones, and I wasn’t even able to finish my side order, but regret nothing.
Chef-owner Craig “Andy” Beardslee and GM-owner Johnny Rivera specialize in “twisted farm food.” Their mission is two-fold: 1) “To keep the fun in food, while pulling from the experiences of farm fresh agriculture, live stock and old recipes with a twist”; and 2) “To maintain a level of excitement & entertainment within the dining experience, while ensuring excellent service each and every day of the week.” The hash house’s menu was so varied, and so interesting, that I could have ordered thirty different ways and still been happy.
I ordered a single banana brown sugar flapjack ($5.95), expecting it to be a side. The pancake was literally a foot-and-a-half across. The regulars who flanked me at the counter looked at the pancake and said, “It’s smaller than usual. It’s normally spilling over the plate.” I was still blown away, and even more impressed once I took a bite. The pancake was crispy outside, soft inside, and the sections including brown sugar were caramelized. There were also two long veins of banana, made spreadable and luscious on the grill. It was a very good pancake, and the little pitcher of maple syrup didn’t hurt anything. Neither did the pat of soft butter.
For my main course, I ate the meatloaf, spinach, roasted red pepper and smoked mozzarella hash ($10.95). Since I was eating at a “hash” house, why not order hash? The hash came in a square-foot skillet, one corner piled high with velvety sheets of what must have been five scrambled eggs. In the next corner was a huge rosemary biscuit, with a sprig of rosemary sticking out the top. It was hard outside, hot and soft inside. The other half of the pan featured big chunks of roasted potatoes, soft, sweet red peppers, melted, smoked mozzarella, spinach, and cubes of soft meatloaf. The meatloaf wasn’t crusty or meaty enough, but collectively, the dish tasted solid.
I ordered one special: fresh watermelon lemonade with kiwi ($4.25). This was one interesting drink, with the bottom of the glass filled with a thick layer of green kiwi syrup, and the rim of the glass lined with salt. I stirred the green with the red lemonade to blend the tasty flavors.
I only finished about a third of my pancake and not even half of my hash. I don’t quite understand why the portions need to be so gargantuan at Hash House A Go Go. The fascinating menu eclipsed the good but not great cooking, but I was happy I tried the restaurant, and I’ll return to try my luck again.