Good Morning and Chihuahua at Crif Dogs
At this tubesteak mecca, you might find yourself drawn to the Good Morning, a bacon-wrapped, house-made, grilled natural casing beef dog nestled in a bun with a fried egg and gooey American cheese. We also recommend the Chihuahua, wherein the same bacon-wrapped dog is spread with creamy avocado and sour cream. Up the flavor in this creamy concoction by adding a few drops of hot sauce.
Jerk Hot Dog from Miss Lily's at Smorgasburg
Jamaican restaurant Miss Lily's has a stand at Williamsburg food market Smorgasburg, where they sell this all-beef natural casing dog made just for them by Salumeria Biellese. The snappy, smoky, allspice-pumped dog is topped with jerk mayo and mustard as well as spicy pickled vegetable escabeche, and nestled into a soft, slightly oily baguette. It's a big, bold, messy, spicy dog, but the focus stays on the beef and the well-executed sausagecraft. Note that you can only find this dog at Smorgasburg.
As you might guess from the name, Japadog tops its natural casing dogs and dog-like objects with Japanese ingredients. This results in combos like the Kobe, a veggie-heavy dog with peppers, wasabi mayo, and caviar; and the Tonkatsu, where deep-fried pork (yes, we know it's not an actual hot dog) is somewhat lightened by fresh cabbage. We tried their whole menu.
Daniel Boulud serves up an honest and earnest attempt to replicate a German frankfurter, and it tastes good, but it's missing the juicy snap the best natural casing hot dogs have. Still, in a house-made bun with equally strong house-made condiments, it's a pretty darn good upscale weiner.
Beef Dogs at Asia Dog
Asia Dog's menu is also not particularly complicated. You choose your hot dog (beef, chicken, or veggie) and your topping from a big blackboard in front, pay your $4, and enjoy your lunch. We opt for the Schaller & Weber beef dog, which has a snappy natural casing and meaty flavor that stands up well to toppings (the chicken, veggie, and organi dogs are skinless). The Sidney is the clear topping winner: the Thai-style relish with mango, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, crushed peanuts, and fish sauce makes an ideal marriage of meat and veggie, heavy and light.
Bark uses hot dogs made by Hartmann's Old World Sausage, an Austrian butcher shop in Canandaigua, New York, resulting in flavorful dogs with snappy casings. Everything that we've sampled at Bark is excellent, especially the Bark Dog. Finished with a red pepper relish, this namesake dog has a pleasant sweetness and kick all at once.
The Meat Hook
The Meat Hook's cheeseburger sausage, which contains bits of rendered Benton's bacon, Worcestershire sauce, sharp New York state cheddar, and onions, is the stoner sausage of your dreams. A perfect simulation of the fast-food classic, one bite into the crisp natural casing releases a flood of cheese and bacon blended with intense beef. Though it's not quite as emulsified as other hot dogs, it's totally in the hot dog spirit, and helps resolve that classic backyard barbecue dilemma: hot dog or burger?
It seems unfair to compare Dogmatic to other hot dog joints, because these aren't exactly hot dogs. You have your choice of pork, beef, chicken, turkey or lamb sausage, jammed into fresh baked mini baguettes. Then pick from the list of sauces: horseradish mustard, mint yogurt, chimichurri, truffle gruyere. It may not be a real hot dog, but it's a quick, delicious, and cheap alternative to the same old cart food.