Cafe 217 – Albany, NY
There aren’t many places that we haven’t played out for breakfast, so Cafe 217 sounded like a fine option. Little did I know that they’re one of a handful of places in the area that specializes in corned beef hash.
It’s located at 12.5 Delaware avenue just near the end of Lark Street. From browsing the menu online and seeing the URL, it appears the same management deals with Susie’s Pub. I’ve had no experience at either establishment, so I was eager to check this place out after seeing the hash options (There’s even a vegetarian tofu option).
The inside of the cafe has a pub feeling from all of the wood but also has some somewhat fancy decor, almost like what I’d expect in a Spanish tapas-style bar. It was cozy and comfy, and we were one of a handful of tables that were there that morning.
For breakfast, I ordered the chipotle sweet potato hash and poached eggs ($9.95) and a side of regular corned beef hash ($3.50). I really wanted to try both, especially considering that I’d never tried any hash with chipotle.
It took a decent amount of time for breakfast to come from the kitchen, but it was nice and hot when it emerged from the kitchen.
At first, it occurred to me that there was too much color on the hash. Then I tasted it. Between the chipotle and some additional chile powder as well as some time on a griddle, the color is completely justified and welcome. This hash had great flavor. I used my spoon to position the slightly underpoached egg over the hash and broke the yolk over top to allow the yolk to sauce the hash, and the richness of the whole thing was just what I needed for breakfast that morning. I loved the sweet potato and chipotle hash. The portion of actual sweet potato and chipotle hash was a bit smaller than the side of regular hash I had ordered, though.
I used the other egg for the side of regular corned beef hash.
The same thing was true with this hash, there was some deep browning and spices that made it very interesting. The corned beef was diced just enough to give it some chew, and the potatoes were nicely seasoned.
The whole wheat toast was a touch thicker than most of the sliced breads I’ve come across at diners in the area. It tasted pretty good but wasn’t outstanding. The hash browns on their own were also pretty good.
It’s cool to see that there are more places that are doing more than flopping hash from a can. It’s really not a difficult dish to prepare.