My search for the best hot dog in New York continues….
SADLY, EAGLE PROVISIONS IS NOW CLOSED.
When this hot dog search began last year, I received comments urging me to check out the frankfurters at some of Brooklyn’s Polish meat markets. I hear Polish and I immediately think Greenpoint – the neighborhood known for pierogies as much as its known for hipsters. I still need to get out there to try Mazur’s Meat Market, but my first Polish hot dog experience was at Eagle Provisions, which is situated in the in-between neighborhood of South Slope. Some might say this is Sunset Park, others Greenwood Heights.
Eagle Provisions is a special place, the kind of place you wish you had in your neighborhood. There’s a large selection of Polish products and groceries, not to mention the vast deli counter. When you first walk in, you’re also tempted to check out the beer selection and once you peek around the corner, you realize it is its more than just a beer selection. More like a beer palace. The international beer choices are incredibly diverse and seem to go on for an eternity.
I got slightly sidetracked by the beer, but had to remain focused to find the dogs. When I did, I realized these are not your typical New York hot dogs. We all know that most NY-style hot dogs are all beef dogs (preferably kosher) that are either boiled or blistered on a grill. They’re put in a bun and topped with any number of toppings, but usually mustard, sauerkraut, onions, and relish. A salty, beefy, heart-destroying food experience is what we expect.
That’s not what’s happening at the butcher counter of Eagle Provisions. This homemade blend of beef, pork, and veal are sold amongst smoked kielbasa and pepper-coated salami and are mostly meant for home consumption. And while the guy behind the counter didn’t bat an eye when I asked him to warm it up for me to eat immediately, he told me all he had for that purpose was a microwave. I agreed to the microwave approach, but I was very hesitant about the outcome. If I had been closer to home, I might have purchased a few links and grilled them up myself.
The large weenie (which cost me under a dollar) was served in an aluminum container – no bun, no accoutrements; I even had to hunt down a plastic fork. It lacked that distinct red hot dog color, looking browned and pruney with a jaundiced complexion. I was growing more and more doubtful that I had found the best hot dog in New York.
Thankfully, all my concerns were for naught because the first explosive bite revealed more flavor than I’ve experienced with any hot dog in a long while. Wow! I finally understand what a hot dog should taste like. Here, the salinity was subtle, but the smoky meat came through loud and clear. Crisp, taut skin gave way to a juicy moist exterior that made it impossible to stop eating – even though I was eating it with my hands (the old-fashioned way of eating a sausage!)
My only hesitation for crowning this the best hot dog in New York (thus far) is because it’s not the kind of hot dog most associate with New York. It’s lacking some very important ingredients (mustard, bun, etc.), but these ironically don’t need any of those additions. This is a perfect frankfurter. And perhaps if the Polish were more influential in the NY hot dog scene back in the 1800’s, we’d be eating these from every street corner. And the truth is, we’d probably be better off.
Does Eagle Provisions have the best hot dog in NY? It is an absolute perfect homemade sausage so it certainly deserves a 10 out of 10, but when put into the context of NYC’s iconic franks it’s a different beast and earns a 9 out of 10.
|628 5th Avenue (at 18th Street),
South Slope, Brooklyn