Before you Go Go, pace yourself

Contrary to Hash House a Go Go's fantastic name, you probably won't be "go-"ing anywhere too soon after your meal. Giant portions of carb- and bacon-rich dishes will do that to a body. So be warned: if you go out to eat at Hash House, factor in extra time to digest and work up the will to stand up post-meal.

Hash House's fare takes inspiration from its genesis in Indiana: farm food twist, catering to the meat and potatoes crowd and/or diner-lover crowd. Breakfast and brunch items are available daily until 5 p.m., and the dinner menu includes a few breakfast items alongside classics like meatloaf, burgers (one-pounders with stuffing between two patties), salads, steaks and swordfish.

As a breakfast-food lover, I had to try one of the House's titular "Hashes": a base of decadent options like corned beef, house-smoked fresh salmon, or roasted chicken paired with a pile of hash brown potatoes and two eggs. I chose the Corned Beef Hash, which, like all hashes, arrives in a heavy cast-iron skillet - appropriate serve-ware for the mountain of food it carries. Red onions and Swiss cheese dress up the corned beef, a thick, tender pile of filling, good quality beef. Swiss cheese is a great choice as accompaniment, since its mellow flavor adds welcome depth to this basic but satisfying dish.

Of course, part of the belly-filling issue is the beautiful biscuits that arrive tableside once you're seated. A sweet honey glaze on top paves the way to greatness. Moist on the inside, crispy on the outside, these huge confections are excellent.

Where the Corned Beef Hash is its own wee foothill of food, the Farm Benedicts are the Rockies of breakfast-dom. We sampled Andy's Sage Fried Chicken Benedict (15.95) simply because Adam Richman of Travel Channel's "Man v. Food" had conquered it and lived to tell the tale and endorse the dish. Served with spinach, bacon, impossibly decent tomato, mozzarella cheese, and scrambled eggs, a chipotle cream sauce tops the dish in lieu of the traditional Hollandaise. Oh, and the base for all of the above is one of those heavenly biscuits sliced open.

No person should finish this dish, and we have newfound respect for Mr. Richman. We certainly didn't finish it, but we did enjoy its many strata; the chipotle cream was a very nice improvement over Hollandaise. The sage chicken itself is terrific, with actual sage flavor anchoring the lightly fried but tender and juicy chicken.

The sage chicken is so tasty, it even goes well with waffles - bacon-filled waffles, to be exact. That's what's going on in the Sage Fried Chicken & Waffles ($15.95), on the dinner and brunch menus. This is another dish at LEAST two people should share, considering it consists of the following: two large sage fried chicken breasts with a "smoked bacon waffle tower," hot maple reduction and fried leeks (read: ultimate hangover cure). That "tower" is no joke; the tasty waffle portion is huge and don't forget there's bacon in them thar hills. It's an absurd concept, but it works - sweet and salty in one of its finest expressions.

While we're on the subject of absurd concepts, consider the meatloaf sandwich, a dish called The Kokomo ($12.95; comes with fries, mashed potato or side salad). Two very thick pieces of milk bread (pretty much Texas Toast) present a challenge to the jaw right off the bat. Then there's the gigundo slice of the meatloaf itself, which renders the sandwich impossible to eat in the typical way. In the end, we had to cut it up into finger sandwiches, and we were glad for our ingenuity because this is some very, very good meatloaf (meat mixture includes ? wait for it ? bacon!). Tender and flavorful, it was made all the better by the addition of roasted tomato and smoked mozzarella cheese in the Kokomo.

Similar logic is applied to the BBBLT, which, as you might guess, is a bacon-riffic BLT sandwich. At least six slices of good quality bacon perch atop a mound of Iceberg lettuce and very good tomato, but there's no way that sandwich was going to fit into this face, so I made a half sandwich with the top piece of bread and enjoyed it from there. The accompanying cheddar bacon mashed potatoes were fine, but not as inventive as I'd hoped. Where I expected mashed potatoes infused with cheddar and bacon flavor, I got mashed potatoes topped with two more whole slices of bacon and a blanket of crispy melted cheddar. It looks cool, but it's not very easy to eat, and the potatoes weren't overly spectacular.

A note on service: Mohegan Sun's Hash House opened in December, and it's clear that staffing isn't super solid. Three apparently unattended servers claimed our table within five minutes of each other - miscommunication that resulted in order overlap, followed by multiple checks being presented to us before we'd even ordered our meals. Sprinkle in way too much information from each server (and the hostess) about their woes, and you've got way too much drama. (The hostess felt it appropriate to point out that even though she was "off the clock now," she'd still seat us.) To be fair, the waitress we had on our first visit (none of the above) was a true pro.

But hey, it's about the food, right? Bottom line, the food at Hash House a Go Go is at the level to which all diners should aspire. The fare isn't ever going to be high-end gourmet stuff, but we can raise the bar on comfort food and House House has done that. Management takes care to use high quality meats and vegetables, the presentation is wonderful, and patrons get a whole lot of food for their buck, so extra kudos for that.

Hash House a Go Go

Mohegan Sun; Casino of the Earth
(860) 862-4646

Cuisine: American comfort foods creatively reinvented.

Atmosphere: Trendy diner vibe.

Service: Very, very green but well meaning.

Prices: Moderate; dishes average around $15 but portions are generous.

Hours: Breakfast and lunch Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight. Open 24 hours Friday and Saturday.

Handicapped access: Expansive dining room; no steps.


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