Raise your hand if you’ve ever been on a blind date that was a huge disappointment. Yeah? That’s kind of how I felt after my first visit to Hash House a Go Go at the
Imperial Palace Quad in Las Vegas. I found it a bit bland and boring and kept looking at my watch, wondering when my meal would be over. Granted, I had gone into my meal with high expectations. Perhaps too high. Still, I thought, how could it be that so many people rave about something so ordinary?
After all the buzz I’d read about the Hash House online and in message forums, I couldn’t wait to give this place a try. I made the hike down to the restaurant from where I was staying at Treasure Island. I was pretty famished by the time I got there. The Hash House a Go Go is located all the way to the back of the casino floor and up the escalators on the second floor. It has lots of chrome and nice wood floors. It wasn’t particularly busy when I arrived. But I still decided to sit at the small counter anyway.
Looking around, what I saw was what you would expect of a diner. It wasn’t painted neon green, there weren’t pig and cow heads coming out of the walls or anything crazy like that. It didn’t seem “twisted” at all to me. There were a couple of other solo diners at the counter, but they pretty much kept to themselves. Service was okay, but nothing to write home about.
I was trying to stay on budget, so I ordered the Basic Breakfast (2 eggs any style, meat, toast or biscuit, breakfast potatoes–crispy or mashed– and 2 pieces of fruit (a wedge of pineapple and one of watermelon). You know what? It was pretty basic. What a surprise, huh? I sat there, eating breakfast thinking, “Why does everyone rave about this place? There’s nothing special about it.”
It took me a couple of days to realize the problem wasn’t with the Hash House; the problem was with me. I ordered the wrong thing. That’s what I get for being cheap.
Fast forward four days to New Year’s Eve breakfast. My flight home had been canceled three days prior, and I had to change hotels. I wound up staying in the hotel where the restaurant was located. That being the case, I decided to give the Hash House a second chance. Am I ever glad I did. It was a totally different experience!
First off, the two women working behind the counter were way cooler (and much better at their jobs) than the guy who had been there on my first trip. They engaged with me more and seemed to have a good sense of humor. Also, I sat next to a friendly young guy who had flown in just to party for New Year’s Eve. He’d been out all night drinking and was a little queasy, so he just ordered something basic. I enjoyed chatting with him–and watching him turn a little green around the gills when he saw my breakfast.
See, this time, I decided to really throw myself into the Hash House experience. I ordered a mint latte (cold, instead of hot, and they were very accommodating about that). Then I asked my server what the most popular item on the menu was. Turns out it’s the Sage Fried Chicken Benedict in Chipolte Sauce. Yikes. That sounded awfully heavy for me for breakfast, but I was committed to seeing what all the fuss was about, so I ordered it.
As I suspected, it was monstrously huge, and I could only eat about a third of it. But my God, was it tasty. It was fried chicken, tomatoes, spinach and bacon on top of a pile of mashed potatoes, all smothered in a spicy chipolte sauce. If you could actually manage to eat it all in one sitting, you probably wouldn’t have to eat again for the rest of the day. It must have been 1,000 calories. (Which was probably necessary for the original farmer’s breakfasts, since they had to fuel farmhands through a lot of manual labor on the farm.)
What I loved was how creative it was. Who else would think of serving something like that for breakfast? Suddenly their tag line of “twisted farm food” made sense. Never in Old McDonald’s wildest dreams did he devour a breakfast like that!
It just goes to show you that sometimes, you shouldn’t give up on a place if it fails to impress on the first go-round. Kind of like a blind date. So go go to Hash House a Go Go, but don’t be boring. Order something you’d never eat at home. Get a truly twisted breakfast. Because that’s how the Hash House rolls.