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Dan's Place Two

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In a time where most restaurants and diners are face-lifting their decor or their menu in attempts to change with the times, you will find that 'one' diner that will stand their ground. No frills, no fancies, just a straight up, hole in the wall diner. Dan's Place Two is that diner.

Dan's Place Two is located at 494 Washington Avenue in lower Albany (as in not quite downtown). If you drive down Washington Avenue frequently, and can't seem to put your finger on where this place is, don't feel bad. Unless you know exactly what you're looking for, or you're a regular, you'll miss it every time. It's almost literally a hole in the wall. Inside, you will find no frills. There's a diner counter along the left side, and roughly 3-4 tables on the right.

Just like an old fashioned diner, you're greeted immediately when you walk in. We found the place was pretty hopping, and the chef seemed to know just about everyone seated there. The chef grabbed us coffees while we waited for the waitress. Brian ordered their "Beat the House," which was eggs, choice of meat (he chose sausage), potatoes, and toast. I ordered French Toast (of course), with a side of their corned beef hash. Now, one of the internet reviews I found raves about their corned beef hash, so I presumed it was homemade. You'll enjoy the following conversation I had with our waitress:

Me: Is your corned beef hash homemade?

Waitress: No

Me: Oh ... *disappointed face* So it's out of a can.

Waitress: Yes, it's chef made. The chef makes it.

Me: *confused face* So it is homemade.

Waitress: No, it's out of a can, but it's chef made. It's really good, we sell a lot of it.

By this time, Brian was done with being amused at the exchage, and advised me to order the hash.

With the grill just off to the side, we were able to watch. The impressive part was that the chef didn't use tickets. The waitress called out the orders, and he memorized all of them. Like I said; impressive.

Our meals arrived. For Brian's platter, the sausage was absolutely amazing. It was crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside, and filled with flavor. Either they make it in house, or they have a damned good supplier. The eggs were nice and fluffy, but in desperate need of salt and pepper. In much the same way, the potatoes were cooked perfectly; they were fall apart tender on the inside, and delightfully crispy on the outside, but suffered from a screaming lack of flavor.

My french toast was no frills. Three slices of bread, and for once they were soaked in the batter! Why is it only an old school diner can get this right? They were eggy in the middle, which is how I liked it. Granted, I can make the same french toast at home, but isn't that part of why you go out to eat at a diner? Home cooking with no hassle. The dish came complete with a glob of butter on the side of the plate (this made me chuckle), and a ginormous bottle of Aunt Jemima's syrup. No frills. They don't even put the syrup into another container.

Oh, and the corned beef hash was slung out of a can. Sure, the chef made it by crisping it up on the grill, but by that definition everything on the menu is chef made! I had several laughs on this one. Part of me feels like it's my duty to bring in homemade hash one day. I know they rave about theirs, and apparently some customers do to, but in my opinion the difference is night and day.

The gist? While I won't go out of my way for a revisit to Dan's, if I found myself in the area and hungry for breakfast, I'd more than likely stop by. I'll just avoid the hash :)

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"Beat the House" Platter French Toast
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Corned Beef Hash