The Dish: Hash browns are a classic breakfast staple that shouldn’t be messed with. When hungry masses converge upon restaurants for their morning meal, they have certain hash-brown expectations: that they be crisp outside, soft inside, properly seasoned, and not too greasy. We went to brunch twice in one weekend with hash browns on our mind. Did these shredded potatoes shred our spirits?
The Rivals: Hudson, 5000 E. Marginal Way S., 767-4777 GEORGETOWN. The weekend brunch at Hudson gets rave reviews online; we figured those included their hash browns ($2.25). Sadly, what we got were very soft, pale potatoes with an unexpected component: curry. The seasoning—a mixture of paprika, celery salt, and curry powder, our server told us—is not mentioned on the menu, and you can’t see it on your plate because it’s all on the bottom. It was a very unwelcome surprise. Curry didn’t really go with the bacon, French toast, and barbecued-pork omelet we ordered, which left us with a funny taste in our mouths. The seasoning is a nice idea, but curry is just too prominent a flavor for hash browns. At the very least, Hudson should mention the curry on its menu, so customers know what they’re in for.
Voula’s Offshore Cafe, 658 N.E. Northlake Way, 634-0183 WALLINGFORD. Now these are what we call hash browns. The hefty serving ($3.00) had a crisp exterior and soft interior. This really is where you want to go to experience those traditional hash browns you grew up with. The crusty brown top provided a nice contrast to the fresh white potatoes underneath. The hash browns had a natural, slight gleam from the oily grill. The only thing they lacked was seasoning. And free refills. If this had been an all-you-can-eat situation, we’d probably still be there.
The Champ: We believe Hudson meant well when they created the spice mix for their hash browns; we just aren’t fond of the flavors. This concoction would fly in an egg dish, but not hash browns, which are too light for such a heavy flavor. Voula’s wins this challenge simply for keeping it simple.