My search for the best hot dog in New York continues….
SADLY, LANDBROT IS NOW CLOSED.
Running a restaurant in New York City is a difficult endeavor. And it becomes transparent for me when a restaurant is not doing so well. Aside from an empty dining room, there are clues when a spot is struggling. Take Landbrot in the West Village, for instance. It opened to lots of press last year and seemed destined to be a local hotspot. In fact, the overzealous owners immediately opened a second location in the Lower East Side.
But it seems to me that business isn’t turning out to be what was expected. Upon entering the German cafe (which may specialize in too many things: pretzels, beers, coffee, bread, sausages, pastry, etc.), I could tell there was trouble. Special discounts were everywhere. I stumbled into Happy Hour, which includes $6 brats, 50% off select wine bottles, and a free coffee thanks to my check-in on Foursquare. Plus, they have a 50% off discount through Scoutmob.
I was tempted to order a large variety of food (since it would all be discounted), but I stuck with the Old Fashioned Frankfurter. The Farmer’s Brat, which was a smoked combination of veal and pork, was probably their more popular brat (and might have been a better choice), but I was here to test the good old fashioned hot dog, or frankfurter, as the Germans probably prefer to call it.
Since I was dining in, I was asked to sit down and the bartender would come by. He eventually did (he must have been busy with all the other customers – or not) and put in my order for the dog. It took close to 15 minutes, which is much longer than I anticipated. I was also slightly aghast at the hefty $7.50 price tag. Although during Happy Hour, it’s a still shocking $6.
The nubby frankfurter was thick and comically did not fit into its potato-shaped bun. A side of bacon-laced sauerkraut was probably supposed to be put on the dog, but it was hard for that bun to hold anything (since it was so tiny). The link (which is made special for Landbrot by a secret purveyor) was just alright. It was full of salt and smoke, but I found it lacked pop and didn’t have a whole lot of juice, which matched the dry, stale bun.
A side platter of plum ketchup and mustard was conspicuously missing a middle sauce (why use the platter of three if there are only two sauces?). My guess is they left out the horseradish. I especially enjoyed the sinus-clearing mustard, but the tart ketchup was unpleasant.
This frankfurter is not the NYC standard. I also doubt it’s how they do things in Germany, having enjoyed my sausages more so at some of the actual German beer halls in the city. Landbrot is designed to cater to all things German food and I think they miss the mark a bit. But at least you can get a discount!
Does Landbrot have the best hot dog in NYC? The German-style frank is slightly dry and doesn’t have enough of a pop. And at the hefty price tag, I can’t say it’s worth more than a 6 out of 10.
|137 Seventh Avenue South (between West 10th and Charles Street),
|185 Orchard Street (between East Houston and Stanton Street),
Lower East Side