You really have to take the Capital Region NY “Best of” lists with a grain of salt. That said, I always am curious to know “what are these people thinking?” I’m also looking for great places to have breakfast, so these lists sometimes provide a good place to start looking.
The name “Jake Moon” has come up a few times on such lists, and it’s been on my list of places to try.
Located at 2082 Delaware Turnpike in Clarksville, NY, Jake Moon is a quaint, homely diner in the middle of a rural town. When I walked in, it seemed like a place that a regular would enjoy. It’s not fancy; there are wooden tables, booths, and benches. Such eateries don’t need to be anything special as long as the food is good and the service is friendly.
I took a few minutes at home to glance at the menu online (which I believe is not current), but I was pretty happy to read the above statements, specifically those outlining local sourcing. I immediately knew this was going to be a special breakfast.
The only problem: the dish I wanted to order, Jake Moon Hash — hand cut corn beef hash with two eggs poached, chipotle ketchup and toast, was not on the menu. So I had to call an audible. I settled for Red Flannel Hash, hand cut sirloin beef hash, with roasted beets, corn, onions & potato, with poached eggs and toast; I did substitute scrambled eggs for the poached because I am mentally unable to eat the components of eggs individually. Turns out it wasn’t settling after all.
There is so much to say about this meal. Lets start on the outside and work our way in. The bread, whole wheat, was clearly made in-house. It had the density and crust not unlike the beautiful, odd-looking breads I used to fashion in my very own bread machine. Unlike my breads, this was not boring tasting or odd looking in the least. Taken together with the apple butter that the waitress brought to us, the toast was very comforting and delicious.
The scrambled eggs were very nicely cooked and fluffy. The trick to perfectly scrambled eggs is no over-beating and removal from heat just shy of completeness; that was clearly what happened here. They were also seasoned nicely.
The red flannel hash was extremely interesting. I first took a large bite of this stew-like hash to try and get all of the flavors in one bite. Everything stands on its own. The freshness of the ingredients really pokes through, and, at least to me, the corn is the real winner. Sweet and still containing a nice crunch. The beets were also prevalent and were nicely showcased in the dish. This is a case where local sourcing payed off tremendously. The price was right, not even above $8; I was full for hours. This dish was nothing but success. Hearty, thick, fresh, fulfilling.
Our waitress was a very nice lady. You can tell she has been doing this for a long time and knows how to deal with people. She brought us over whatever we wanted, including the Pickapeppa sauce I saw on the counter. She even brought me (on the house) a plate full of pickled green beans when I simply was asking what was in the humongous jar on the counter.
(She made it clear that she didn’t like them. I didn’t think they were bad. They were pickled green beans.)
I have nothing but praise for this place. It is off the beaten path, but not that far off at all.
All I know is that I need to go back to Jake Moon. If not regularly, at least soon.