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Dec 18, 1999 03:23 PM

Best Corned Beef Hash in Los Angeles

  • t

One of my favorite breakfasts is corned beef hash with poached eggs. So I am on a quest to find "the best" corned beef hash in Los Angeles. One problem is that many restaurants use canned hash, which, needless to say, leaves much to be desired. I understand that a restaurant that doesn't sell much corned beef might feel financially compelled to use the canned stuff to reduce spoilage costs. So I came up with the theory that restaurants that do a substantial volume of business in corned beef, and therefore have a good supply of ends and pieces that would otherwise be thrown away, would be likely candidates to make a good corned beef hash.

My first test of this theory was at Canter's, the old faithful Los Angeles deli on Fairfax Ave. Having had many a corned beef sandwich at Canter's, my expectations were high. What I was served definitely did not come from a can. The corned beef had been finely ground to the consistency of sawdust. It was served with sliced pan-fried potatoes. The poached eggs, which came in a separate cup, were overcooked. In addition to the dry, sawdusty texture, I found the corned beef, which had no discernable added ingredients or spices, completely lacking in taste. In sum, my experience at Canter's helped to confirm my theory that restaurants with a ready supply of corned beef are not likely to use canned corn beef hash. But it also reminded me that, just because a restaurant makes its own corned beef hash, does not necessarily mean that the hash is going to be good.

My next stop was the Hollywood Hills Coffee Shop on Franklin Ave. I must confess that I went here not because I was aware of a high volume of corned beef sales (other than the corned beef hash), but because I'd previously had some terrific hash here. Like Canter's, the corned beef hash was meat only, with home fries on the side. Unlike Canter's, however, the corned beef hash at Hollywood Hills was moist, flavorful, roughly chopped meat nicely spiked with onion and parsley. The home fries were crispy and satisfying. The poached eggs served atop the hash were perfectly cooked. Along with a glass of good fresh squeezed orange juice, and a giant cup of latte, this was a very, very satisfying breakfast. I was so sated, in fact, that I forgot to check if they had corned beef sandwiches or other corned beef items on their menu. Anyway, the corned beef hash is definitely a thumbs-up, way, way up. I'll be surprised if it isn't among the finalists for "the best" in Los Angeles.

My third stop was at Langer's Delicatessen. Langer's also clearly makes its own corned beef hash. It consisted of finely chopped meat mixed with finely chopped potatoes. The hash was meaty and good, though not as flavorful as the hash at Hollywood Hills Coffee Shop. The three poached eggs, served in a separate dish, were perfectly cooked. The breakfast came with a separate plate of fried sliced potatoes that were terrific. A toasted onion bagel also came with the breakfast. In sum, very good hash and, overall, a very good breakfast, but not as good as Hollywood Hills Coffee Shop.

I need help from all you Los Angeles Chowhounds out there. What are your candidates for the "best corned beef hash in Los Angeles"?

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  1. Tom,

    I've never had what I considered to be great cbh in L.A., although I've never stepped foot in the Hollywood Hills Coffee Shop.

    I haven't eaten there is more than five years, but the best c.b.h. I've ever had was at the Carnegie Deli in NYC. I particularly like its texture -- strips of meat that seems to be cut on the grain. It tastes as if it is tossed lightly with the fresh vegetables -- the onions, peppers, and potatos were not overcooked. It was one thing at CD that tasted delicate. I have no idea if it is still anywhere as good. After Leo Steiner died, and I had several inferior meals there, I haven't had the heart to go back.

    Death to mushy corned beef hash!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Dave Feldman
      jonathan gold

      The great corned beef hash in Los Angeles--hell, anywhere in the country, I am willing to bet--is at the rather too swank Grill on the Alley in Beverly Hills, a crisp, dense, savory thing that is good enough to send shivers up your spine. I have been to that restaurant several dozen times for lunch (I used to work a couple of blocks up the street) , and I have never ordered another dish. Have your hash with a martini if you are feeling flush; have it with a pot of coffee if you need to go back to work, but do not neglect to finish off your meal with a dish of the Grill's rice pudding, than which there is no other. Oh man--I'm going to have some of that when I go back to L.A. next week. Thanks for reminding me. The Daily Grill, the Grill's lower-priced affiliate, has pretty good chicken hash, but for the real thing, you'll have to put on a tie and wrestle with the maitre d'.

      1. re: jonathan gold


        Have never been to Grill on the Alley but I never knew that the Daily Grill was related to them in any fashion. Thanks for the tip. Next time, I'm in swank garb, watch out!

    2. Tom,

      Corned beef hash has to be my favorite breakfast item as well. I haven't been too succesful in searching out great cbh in L.A., but I wanted to pass on one of our favorite at home versions. My wife is Filipino and she makes corned beef hash with chopped tomatoes and fried garlic to which is added half inch cubed potatoes that are first boiled then deep fried. This is then served over rice with patis (fermented fish sauce). A great sunday morning dish.

      1. j
        Jeffrey Shore

        While I have not tried the Corned Beef Hash at The Grill, I can certainly vouch for the Corned Beef Hash at S & W Country Diner in Culver City (9748 Washington Blvd., ph 310-204-5136).

        They actually serve two types of CBH - "Canned" or "Homemade," which is, hilariously, only .55 cents more at $6.50 (with eggs and amazing hashbrowns, an awesome, greasy, value). Needless to say, I recommend the Homemade version. The hash is chunky and filled with tasty vegetable type things, and the corned beef is tasty, with just the right amount of fat.

        I am not sure if it will reach the top of your list, but it ain't bad.

        1. The best hash I have ever had was at Hotel Bel Air. I stayed there on my wedding night and for breakfast the next morning I had a very wonderful corned beef hash. It was expensive and it was served with perfectly scrambled eggs (at my request). I have been back since but only for lunch/brunch. Never ordered it again. I think it would be worth a once-in-a-lifetime splurge if you are a real hashie(?)

          1. m
            Michael Karnow

            The best corned beef that I've had in LA is at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Bad corned beef hash is easy to spot. It looks and tastes like Dog Food. But check out the BWH. Alpo this is not. In fact, I've found the Beverly Wilshire pretty much has the best breakfast in LA. But it ain't cheap.