For the third year in a row, I’m going to attempt to eat every single item on Time Out New York’s annual 100 Best Dishes list. In no particular order, here’s my take on their Top 100.┬áLet the gluttony continue…

Amazingly, Old Town Bar has been around since 1892 and it’s still somewhat of a secret. Ok, maybe not “secret” per se, since the room is often jam packed, but this has thankfully never become a destination like the touristy mob scene that is McSorley’s.

Much like McSorley’s, Old Town Bar is indeed old. They’ve been open since 1892 and still have an old working dumbwaiter to prove their age. I imagine most youngsters today assume a dumbwaiter is someone who forgot to place your order.

My waitress here was maybe slow, but certainly not dumb because she brought me exactly what I ordered. The All Beef, classic Frankfurter. Even if it wasn’t featured on Time Out’s list, I’d have still found my way into this unlikely hot dog vendor soon. The bar’s classic hot dog has been written up by countless other publications as being one of the city’s best.

It was pretty darn good, but I had some small problems with it. The main thing that makes this dog so memorable is that they butter and toast the bun. It really makes all the difference and at moments made me think I was eating a luxurious sweet lobster roll instead of a tube of processed meat.

The long Sabrett wiener had some very nice charred spots along the base. So it had a smoky, charred flavor, except there was no discernible snap. That makes me think this is a skinless dog, although resources online say it’s an all-natural casing. Hm.

Regardless, the salty meaty sausage made me feel like a child again and the tangy grown-up whole grain mustard along with the sweet relish, gave this hot dog a winning flavor combination.

My only other gripe is the price. Granted it came with fries and the hot dog spilled out of the bun, but I found the $7.50 price tag to be a little high. If I wanted a second hot dog, the entire plate would have only cost $2 more. Somehow, this math didn’t quite compute with me. Maybe in addition to the dumbwaiter, Old Town Bar should have held on to an abacus.

Would Old Town Bar’s Hot Dog make my Top 100 of the year? Does Old Town Bar have the best hot dog in NY? Despite the hefty price and lack of snap, it gets an 8 out of 10 for being a very flavorful hot dog that invoked pleasant pings of nostalgia.

OLD TOWN BAR
45 East 18th Street (between Broadway and Park Avenue),
Flatiron District
(212) 529-6732
oldtownbar.com
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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