My search for the best hot dogs in New York begins….
I’ve been coming to Westville for a long time. The original West Village shop is tiny and perpetually packed, but their affordable focus on fresh, local ingredients and delicious tasting food makes waiting well worth it. I also find myself ordering to go quite a bit from here or one of the two newer (and larger) locations in Chelsea and the East Village. All three are truly neighborhood gems and I don’t feel guilty (because of calories or money) returning here multiple times a week.
And up until this point, I’ve almost exclusively ordered their Market Vegetable Plate or the Arugula Salad with Chicken. Healthy, right? Well, I’ve known from day one that another of Westville’s specialities are their grilled hot dogs. And since I get my salt and fat intake the rest of the week elsewhere, I’ve always skipped right over these menu items. Until now.
Westville was the perfect first stop on my hot dog journey. I was in the neighborhood, starving, and it was early enough (4:30) that I assumed I’d beat the dinner rush. Well, there’s just never telling with this tiny place. There was one corner table open, but the rest of the restaurant was hopping.
When ordering a hot dog (or two), you get a lot of options here. First you choose between Hebrew National, Tofu, or what they call the “Fearless Frank” from Niman Ranch. Then you can get it solo or as a special (2 dogs and a side). And I haven’t even mentioned the topping choices yet!
I kept both my wieners naked, not letting relish, chili, or onions get in the way. I’m sure I’ll graduate to those later on in this journey, but I’m keeping it simple with ketchup and mustard for now. The dogs still came dressed with pickles (a nice touch, I thought) and rested on a slightly browned toasted bun.
I started with the Hebrew National (which will probably be a dog I become quite familiar with). Westville grills their specimen and surprisingly I didn’t find that this had much of a snap. Rather it was soft with a firm salty, smoky flavor. It made me think of being a kid. I realized I hadn’t had a hot dog like this in quite a long time.
The natural Niman Ranch link was a revelation. It was thinner and redder with visible grill marks along the skin. When I bit into it, the snap gave way to a meaty, smoky center. Next to the Hebrew National, it was like a fancy hot dog. It was less salty and felt more refined. While the first one reminded me of the happy junk-food filled days of my youth, this one tasted both authentic and delicious.
Knowing I’d be hungry for dinner in a few hours, I ordered some vegetables and a salad to go. This hot dog journey could get quite unhealthy and I’m glad Westville is there to play both sides.
Does Westville have the best hot dogs in NY? They get an 8 out of 10 for offering both low brow (salty, delicious) and high brow (refined, crisp) dogs that work.
|210 West 10th Street (between Bleecker and West 4th Street)
|1173 Avenue A (at 11th Street)
|246 West 18th Street (between 7th and 8th Avenue)