A staple at steak houses and seafood restaurants, hash browns are the most popular side dish on the menu. These starchy spuds are the finishing touch to stone crabs, filet mignon, and chicken breasts. Some (hung-over) people even make a meal out of the tubers themselves.
Short Order set out to find the best hash browns in town and narrowed the choice down to the ones at Joe's Stone Crab and Smith & Wollensky. (Interestingly, both dining establishments are located around the corner from one another.) We were looking for crisp yet tender mounds of diced potatoes. Below, the results of our head-to-head spud contest.
Joe's Stone Crab ($9.25)
Pros: These potatoes boasted a crunchy, crispy topping, with soft potatoes underneath. The potatoes were cut in thin slices versus cubes. Served very hot.
Cons: Unfortunately, the hashed browns were very greasy. There was a pool of oil on the bottom of the plate. The potatoes were mushy, overcooked and needed salt.
Smith & Wollensky ($10.50)
Pros: These hashed browns were also crispy and brown on the outside. Happily, the cubes of potatoes underneath the crust yielded a firm yet tender bite. Flecks of green pepper and onions added flavor to the tubers. No oil residue on the plate.
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Cons: The potatoes needed a sprinkling of salt. Otherwise, they were perfectly cooked.
Verdict: Smith & Wollensky's hashed browns were the clear winner in this taste test. They had the perfect blend of a crisp coating and toothsome potatoes. While they were lacking salt, that was nothing compared to the soggy, oily potatoes served at Joe's Stone Crab.
Joe's Stone Crab
11 Washington Avenue
Smith & Wollensky
1 Washington Avenue