The breakfast sausage at Dan's Place Two

dan's place sausage breakfast overview

The best breakfasts often come from griddles.

By Daniel B.

Before I can tell you about one of my favorite breakfasts in the Capital Region, I have to make a confession.

I've never been to Dan's Place Two drunk. Ever. Not at two o'clock in the morning, nor at four. In fact, I've never been to this diner in any other state than with clear eyes and a full heart.

And, still, this is great.

I do understand that this diner in Albany, affectionately known as Dirty Dan's, is well loved by the after-hours set. And rightfully so. Their Emmy-Bull Burger is legendary, with its monstrous proportions of protein and grease. For those who are unfamiliar with this force of nature, it's a half pound of ground beef with bacon, cheese, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and a fried egg.

In comparison, their breakfasts seem like health food. But one thing that makes the burger so damn good is exactly what elevates their breakfast sausage to an entirely different level.

dan's place exterior

It's the flattop. That would be the large, hot griddle that cooks the most delicious things served at Dan's Place Two. If it's made on the flattop, it's going to be good.

Once when I was there, a regular came in and ask for "the usual." The cook pulled out an industrial sized can of corned beef hash and scooped a generous amount onto the griddle. It was pink and congealed and wholly unappealing. But that griddle changed this meat paste into something miraculous -- a dish that actually looked more than appetizing.

The secrets are fat, heat and patience.

dan's place sausage closeup

The food that touches the griddle stays there. It's not manhandled and poked or prodded. It's not moved around to make room for other meals. It gets placed on the griddle and stays put just until it's time to be turned over, and not a moment sooner.

This ensures that everything that comes off the flattop is burnished with an impeccable and savory crust. The burgers have it, the corned beef hash is transformed by it, and even the bacon is blessed with it. But the first time I saw what the griddle did to sausages I immediately swore to return to get a plate of them for myself. Since then, I've been back several times for what is now my favorite breakfast meat in the region.

No, they don't make it in-house. And I doubt it has any fancy pedigree. It's really just a typical breakfast pork sausage flavored with sage and pepper. It is a bit unusual in that it resembles large sausage links, yet has no casing, as if someone made a thick sausage patty in the shape of a link.

But it's what they do with the sausage that makes it special.

Whereas the corned beef hash gets merely golden, the sausage is very nearly blackened. On both sides. While a natural casing might get you a pleasurable snap, this toothsome exterior gives an added burst of flavor in addition to texture, before getting to the juicy and tender sausage within.

Plus, it is a natural match for their equally crispy and crusty potatoes, and whatever form of egg you prefer (so long as it has a runny yolk for dipping). I will actually vouch for their scrambled eggs in that not only were they beaten from eggs cracked to order, but they were also actually scrambled. This seems like a no-brainer, but scrambled eggs like this are woefully hard to find.

It's probably why they have not just one, but two signs that say, "We like old fashioned."

The signs are a bit superfluous. When you step into the place with its curved ceiling, time-worn counter, and seats that continue to comfort a broad spectrum of Albany denizens from all walks of life, you get the idea.

Daniel B. is the proprietor of the Fussy Little Blog.

The title previously referred to a sandwich. There was no sandwich, except in the editors' mind.

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Find It

Dan's Place Two
494 Washington Ave
Albany, 12203

Comments

Looks awesome! With something like sausage, I honestly prefer them most of the times slightly past well done; there's enough fat in them, usually to keep them moist.

This is a perfect example of those Maillard Reactions that Alton Brown is always telling us about on Good Eats or Iron Chef America, only taken one step further.

I love love love Dan's. I haven't been in a while, but you've instilled the hankering. My dish is the "Beat the House with Hash." You're right about the hash. It may come out of a can, but it's soooo good.

When is this place open?
I used to live across the street (I know, I know, it was a long time ago..) and I only ever saw them open for a few hours on weekday mornings.

That takes me back to sausage at my grandmother's house. Droooooool...

My sister-out-law got kicked out of there at 2 am once for swearing. She came back anyway another day - the food is good enough that even a rowdy SUNY kid can forgive a slap on the wrist.

In the morning, and during the day, you'll find regulars. Mothers with kids, old men with coffee and the paper, and friendly service, cooking food to order on the flat top.

As good as the sausage is, I can only dream of what that perfect griddle would do to a sausage with casing. That being said, my kingdom for another serving of their homefries.

@Em - The posted hours on their menu are:

Tuesday - Friday - 5:30 a.m. -6 p.m.
Saturday - 1 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sunday - 6 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Closed Monday

It's also probably good to note that Dan's Place Two is cash only.

Great blog. Dirty Dan's is by far the best breakfast in town. Other than the amazing food, it's cool to sit with the older folks of Albany, get a little taste of what things used to be like. Or just grab the diner newspaper if it's available :-)

I graduated SUNY Albany in 1994 and this place was the best..of course no swearing otherwise you would get thrown out..and warned the next time you came in. After a night of drinking the Emmy Burger or the Emmy Bull burger is just what the doctor ordered.

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