100 Favorite Dishes: Chicken-fried eggs and smoked buffalo hash from Sassafras
Suffice it to say that I eat out more than the general population, unless, of course, the general population can catalogue more than 450 restaurant meals in a year -- which is about the number of breakfasts, lunches and dinners that I stomached in 2012. Pathetic, isn't it? But all those food dates are worth the gluttony, because it allows us to tell you where you should eat, a little favor that we started in late 2009, when we embarked on a culinary journey that took us through our favorite dishes in the Mile High City -- 100, to be exact. Now we're back with round three, counting down (in no particular order) 100 more of our favorite dishes in Denver (and Boulder). If there's something in particular that you think we need to try, reveal it in the comments section below, or shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com.
No. 85: Chicken-fried eggs and smoked buffalo hash from Sassafras American Eatery
The last time I made a pilgrimage to Sassafras, we were quoted an hour wait. My son, who hadn't had breakfast -- and was starving -- groaned. An hour wait for the bottomless pit that's a teenager is more than an eternity, but at Sassafras, the staff knows how to appease just about everyone, including the kid with a rumbling gut, who snacked on a strawberry-and-banana smoothie, along with a slice of terrific banana bread, while we passed the time parked on a bench watching, with envy, the plates that paraded past us. Turns out the wait was less than thirty minutes, but I would have waited longer -- much longer -- for the joint's chicken-fried eggs and smoked buffalo hash.
Executive chef Colin Mallet knows a thing or twenty about what makes a breakfast of champions -- especially southern breakfasts -- and his hash, a molded sculpture of finely shredded buffalo fragments and potatoes crowned with two yolk-spilling eggs gently battered and fried in flour, paprika and cayenne pepper, will ensure that you never -- not another day in your life -- reach for the stuff that comes from a can. Nor will you ever settle for another hollandaise sauce, because Mallet's hollandaise sauce, splashed with lemon and aromatic with the sweetness of Fresno chiles, is the Mother of all hollandaise sauces. The result is the kind of all-American greatness that makes you yearn for a personal chef, namely Mallet, whose breakfasts have the ability to completely change the course of your day...and your life.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2013 countdown are linked below:
No. 90: Schezuan beef in numbing chile oil from Chef Liu's Authentic Chinese Cuisine
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.