Good N' Corny
It's not fancy, but this staple diner breakfast dish always hits the spot.
Typically served with a side of eggs, it was only a matter of time (and a few too many drinks) before they became a part of the actual corned beef hash dish. In Diner 254's Hangover omelet ($5.99), three eggs are folded over a mix of chunky potatoes and juicy corned beef shredded into small strips, not bits, so you can taste the tangy beef flavor in every bite. A topping of Swiss cheese slices gives the omelet Reuben-like flare. Although he's not certain (a long night on the town will do that to you), chef and owner Mike Abounader, guesses he probably was hung over when he came up with the dish he concocted on the fly one morning. "It'll cure it," Abounder says. "It's got everything you need: eggs, meat, cheese and potatoes."
4950 Transportation Drive, Sheffield, 440-934-3888, diner254.com
Like benevolent gods, Michael Symon and the Food Network have anointed Big Al's as the best way to start your day. Signs on the folksy, friendly restaurant's tables trumpet the Iron Chef's rave review of Al's corned beef hash on the breakfast-food episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate. The huge dish arrives fiery red: The beef, microscopically shredded like bacon bits, is tossed in a thick layer across the hashed potatoes. The first bite reveals another surprise: Big chunks of green pepper spice up the dish. Ordered with poached eggs, the runny yolks mix with the hash so it isn't too dry. The best ever? Well, Big Al's hash is filling and inventive, a satisfying twist on a weekend-morning classic. Maybe we'll have to order it again to be sure.
12600 Larchmere Blvd., Cleveland, 216-791-8550
CHEF AT THE COUNTER
"No question, Big Al's — I love sitting there and feeling like I'm a part of something that's been around since the '70s. It's one of the few diners that actually cook the eggs the right way." — Jonathon Sawyer, The Greenhouse Tavern