Delivery File #2: Fort Hamilton Diner (9502 Fourth Avenue)
We became fans of Fort Hamilton Diner, a tiny restaurant hovering above the R Train’s final stop, by default: after very late nights out, we would rise aboveground seeking something to sop up all the alcohol in our bellies. The 24-hour spot was perfect. That said, we’re talking about breakfast here. We called in an order (old fashioned, I know): a short stack with sausage, a Belgian waffle with bacon, and three eggs scrambled with home fries. The total bill was $19—solidly affordable.
In a shockingly brief 15 minutes, our food arrived; we sometimes joke that when you call Fort Hammy, the delivery guy is already on the way. The three aluminum containers were hot and well-sealed, and the meal was accompanied by four pieces of toast, wrapped in wax paper; two ramekins of butter; plenty of pancake syrup, ketchup, salt and pepper packets; and a full set of plastic flatware.
As Ron Swanson once said, “I’m a simple man. I like pretty, darkhaired women and breakfast food.” Breakfast food is something that, when done poorly, can ruin your day. When done right, it can be as sublime as any highend meal. In the morning, your mouth is ready to be happy. And Fort Hamilton Diner makes your mouth happy. The three pancakes were about 8-inches round, spongey with a very delicate crust, which allowed the butter to slough off just the way we all love it to. The syrup penetrates the cake but not enough that they become too soggy too quickly.
The waffle, even after taking on some steam in the to-go container, maintained its crispness. (The 15-minute delivery time surely helped.) The batter is lightly sweet and the waffle iron at Fort Hammy gives the waffle deep pockets for liberal doses of butter and syrup. The eggs are fresh and hot, scrambled as only a diner can scramble eggs—with no visible brown spots from overcooking. The homefries probably live on the hot plate all night and day, so you get well seasoned potatoes, onions and peppers with crispy texture that only a long stay on a griddle can create.
The meats are done right: the sausage deep fried, so you get that crack and pop when you break the skin, and the bacon is crisp but with some soft fat, which extra-crispy bacon lacks. The only weakness was the toast, which is usually dry—except for where the butter is. If you don’t have something to sop up, you might end up eating only the center.
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