Decisions, decisions. Should I choose roast beef hash or corned beef hash? “Try both,” my waitress suggested as she brought a mug of coffee to my booth at the Sunny Day Diner. Brilliant idea, but the compare-and-contrast session that followed was a mind bender. Both hashes are excellent: very finely chopped, soft and moist and almost reminiscent in texture of succulent boudin. Neither has an assertive flavor. Both, in fact, are subtle and elegant. The roast beef hash, which contains limp little bits of onion and pepper and, of course, potato, is underseasoned in the best possible way, like grandma’s comfort-food hash. Corned beef hash has a bit more punch, a faint briny character, but it too is laid back. Neither offers dramatic surface crunch, but that’s ok. These are all about gentility.
They do a lot of baking at the Sunny Day Diner and among the specialties is banana bread, which is made into French toast for breakfast. It is like warm cake: moist, rich, faintly fruity, and very sweet. It comes topped with maple cream, and the waitress strongly suggested I try it as delivered before adding any maple syrup, which is the real deal, presented in a jug. She was right. Between the banana bread and maple cream spread across it, no more sweetness is required.
As I left, I asked my newfound friend if I had eaten the kitchen’s best stuff. She gave it some thought and instructed me to return for eggs Benedict (“the best anywhere”) and a Reuben sandwich that contains the same fine corned beef used to make the hash. I shall return!