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hash Bottle Rocket
Andouille hash at Bottle Rocket in St. Paul, Minn.

Comfort food hash gets mixed up with modern influences

New flavors and vegetarian options are bringing the meat-and-potatoes dish into the 21st century

Hash is a humble, hearty dish consisting of finely chopped meat and potatoes all fried up together. As with many other comfort classics, like bologna sandwiches and biscuits and gravy, it has gotten a new lease on life through the creative culinary touches of contemporary chefs.

They’ve taken a page from the better-burger playbook. Unexpected sauces and condiments add flavor and a 21st-century vibe to hash. Dish Society, with three locations in the Houston area, dishes up pork belly hash with jalapeños, roasted red peppers and avocado Hollandaise, while the pork belly hash on the brunch menu at Caribbean Room in New Orleans sports a tomato-y smoked Choron sauce. Braised beef short rib hash at Seasons 52 is topped with a pasture-raised poached egg and red-wine sauce. By contrast, brisket hash at trendy The Peached Tortilla in Austin, Texas, includes Asian-inflected kimchi miso corn, onion jam and a 45-minute egg poached sous-vide. At the family-dining Bob Evans restaurant chain, the spicy bacon hash gets a boost from a zesty Sriracha-avocado mayo.

First Watch

First Watch's pot roast hash

They’ve turned ethnic mash-ups into hash-ups. The standard meat-and-potatoes formula gets a new lease on life at San Francisco’s Split. Positioning itself as “the new home of finger-licking real food,” it delivers Hispanic-accented chorizo hash with roasted sweet potatoes, poblano peppers, sundried tomatoes and aïoli. Chai Pani, an Indian street-food specialist in Decatur, Ga., innovates with Sloppy Jai, spiced lamb hash with green chutney and sweet yogurt served on toasted buns. First Watch, the daytime café that serves breakfast, brunch and lunch, features a trio of Skillet Hash specialties including Parma Skillet Hash with Italian sausage, house-roasted crimini mushrooms, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, and fresh herbs.

In Chicago, Fat Rice has garnered praise for a menu that focuses on food from Macau, the glamorous gambling haven in southeastern China. The local cuisine there is a melting pot of Portuguese and Chinese influences, and the restaurant’s daytime menu reflects this with Minchi Hash, a mélange of stir-fried minced pork and beef, garlicky greens and coconut rice, crowned with a sunny-side-up egg.

They’ve embraced vegetable-centricity. In line with larger menu trends promoting plant-based entrées, chefs across the operational spectrum are experimenting with vegetarian takes on classic hash. The menu at Sqirl in Los Angeles promises dishes diners have never heard of before, including Eggplant Hash made with roasted eggplant, leeks, potatoes and skordalia, a garlic-based Greek condiment, all topped with a fried egg. Mama’s Boy, a popular spot in Athens, Ga., serves breakfast all day, which means diners at any hour can enjoy Vegetable and Potato Hash consisting of roasted Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, radishes and potato hash with poached eggs and chive Hollandaise.

In Charleston, S.C., Edmund’s Oast, a trendy gastropub, gives weekend brunchers Fall Vegetable Hash spiked with mustard and sage along with sunny-side-up farm eggs. Equally trendy Dove’s Luncheonette in Chicago has 41 stools at its counter, from which diners can chow down on specialties like the popular Red Potato and Shishito Pepper Hash with Cheddar cheese aïoli and queso fresco. Grabbagreen, a 24-unit, health-oriented chain based in Scottsdale, Ariz., makes it easy for patrons to eat well with attractive items like the Veggie Hash Bowl with black beans, eggs, kale, yams, red onion and red pepper in creamy avocado sauce.

Snap Kitchen

Snap Kitchen's bison quinoa hash

Innovative specialists have built their business on it. San-Diego based Hash House a Go Go proffers “twisted farm food” in its 11 units and menus a half-dozen hash varieties like House Smoked Fresh Salmon with cream cheese and scallions, Roasted Pork Tenderloin with charred tomato, and Ground Turkey with hardwood-smoked bacon. All are tossed with crispy potatoes and capped with two eggs. Hash Kitchen, which offers a creative breakfast-and-bar scene in Scottsdale, Ariz., has eight versions of its eponymous specialty, among which are Carnitas Hash with Coke-braised pork, Paella Hash with shrimp, chicken, sausage and saffron Hollandaise, and Herb-Fried Chicken Hash with fried leeks and a warm maple reduction. The operation also boasts Arizona’s largest Bloody Mary bar, a fine accompaniment to the memorable hash options.

Nancy Kruse, President of the Kruse Company, is a menu trends analyst based in Atlanta. As one of LinkedIn’s Top 100 Influencers in the US, she blogs regularly on food-related subjects on the LinkedIn website.

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