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Hash browns for breakfast/brunch in Boston?

MC Slim JB Mar 30, 2009 01:24 PM

LindaWhit and I just took a Restaurant Week thread down a long rat-hole yakking about hash browns. I mentioned how I've labored to perfect them in my home kitchen because good ones out are hard to find.

So, where are the good restaurant hash browns at breakfast/brunch?

Been a while since I was back there for breakfast, but I recall Henrietta's Table doing good ones. I like Mul's Diner in Southie, but their hash browns taste like frozen to me.

Oceanaire and Locke-Ober and luxury steakhouses like Grill 23 do fine versions, but those aren't weekend breakfast or brunch venues.


  1. LindaWhit Mar 30, 2009 01:33 PM

    And a point of order - MC's talking hash browns, NOT home fries, which I think we both see as cubes of seasoned potatoes that have been sauteed/fried. We're talking grated potatoes that have been dried and then fried to get all crispy-brown on the outside, but still tender potatoey on the inside, right MC?

    5 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit
      MC Slim JB Mar 30, 2009 01:39 PM

      Yes, a critical distinction: thanks, LindaWhit!


      1. re: MC Slim JB
        LindaWhit Mar 30, 2009 01:43 PM

        This is a potential Chow Crawl in the making. :-)

      2. re: LindaWhit
        9lives Apr 4, 2009 09:13 AM

        I agree on the hash brown, home fry distinction.

        I'm really dating myself and haven't been lately, butdidn't Soundbites in Somerville do a good hash brown?

        For dinner, Morton's does a good (not great) version.

        A few years ago, after a trip to Zurich, I was on a quest to make these..rosti.. potatos, grater, butter,, and a clean flip of the thing; which required some practice...or using a good lid to facilitate the turnover..also letting the grated potatos sit on some paper towels to take out some of the water.

        1. re: 9lives
          Joanie Apr 4, 2009 04:51 PM

          The only potato dish I thought they did at Soundbites was that mashed potato pancake thing. It's okay but I don't understand the raves it gets, I'd much rather have good home fries (or hash browns, both of which we've determined are hard to find).

          1. re: Joanie
            9lives Apr 4, 2009 05:19 PM

            I'll take your word for it. It's really been a long time for me that I've had breakfast at Soundbites.

            Probably a bad dream..:)

      3. BarmyFotheringayPhipps Mar 30, 2009 01:59 PM

        Honestly, I don't know if I've ever seen *good* shreddy hash browns at any local restaurants. It's the good part that's the killer: they're very easy to screw up, especially if you don't rinse the heck out of the potatoes to wash off the starch before you dry them. They get gummy. (Slim, dunno if you've twigged to this yourself, but the secret to cooking them perfectly involves the lids from a couple Revereware saucepans.) I too would love to hear about this.

        1. d
          daikon Mar 30, 2009 02:07 PM

          Don't hate, but the classic chains Denny's and IHOP have pretty decent hash browns if you get them during the normal breakfasty hours.

          1 Reply
          1. re: daikon
            GretchenS Mar 30, 2009 03:12 PM

            No hate, just a statement of fact, when I worked as an IHOP waitress (admittedly, back during the Carter Administration) the hash bowns were reconstituted from dried by adding water in a tetrapak kind of thing, so if frozen are not going to make it, not sure these would either.

          2. Joanie Mar 31, 2009 05:45 AM

            Not Boston, but the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester NH has good ones.

            I was excited to see hash browns on the menu at the diner in Norwood (can't remember their name) but they weren't the least bit crisp, at least in the dish I had.

            1. c
              cdoobiest Mar 31, 2009 06:13 PM

              I have had them at Smith and Wollenskys and they are good. They are cubed. I also heard Capital Grille made them shredded style.

              1. p
                pickyeater08 Mar 31, 2009 08:59 PM

                The one's at Henrietta's are the best I've had in a while. The IHOP version with cheese has helped sooth many a hangover for me as well though!

                1. fmcoxe6188 Apr 1, 2009 06:00 AM

                  Sort of a different spin- but are the "hash browns" at Paramount what your looking for- sorta? Fried tater tots? When Im craving hash browns-I gotta say-Im loving those :-)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fmcoxe6188
                    MC Slim JB Apr 1, 2009 08:07 AM

                    I'm not certain I'm on the surest historical footing in my purism here, but what I am looking for is the crisp-fried shredded potato kind, so much as I like good home fries and tater tots and fried mashed potatoes, they're not my Grail here. If I were Swiss, I might call these Rösti.


                  2. MC Slim JB Apr 3, 2009 01:42 PM

                    Incidentally, I'm forgetting what have to be my favorite restaurant "hash browns" in Boston, the potato pancakes at Cafe Polonia. These don't have the flour-heavy content of many latke-like preparations, so are pretty close to what I'm talking about, though they are bigger and thicker than traditional American hash browns. Great stuff.


                    1. intheq Apr 3, 2009 02:34 PM

                      though, sadly, i do not have the answer for perfect hash browns in boston, i will throw out my hands-down winner for home fries: joe's coffee shop in hanover.

                      there is one guy that stands at the grill and cooks all the food at this tiny diner. everything is made to order, no corners are cut, and it is incredible. home fries are make with peeled yukon golds and come with sauteed onions. swoon-worthy, for sure. their homemade cinnamon french toast is also unreal.

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