My search for the best hot dog in New York continues….
Hot dogs are intrinsically linked to the New York street food scene. The classic New York food cart is indeed one that sells “dirty water dogs.” But more immediately, both have undergone gourmet transformations that have forced the prices of both to rise.
Neither street food nor hot dogs should be luxury items, but I guess the food world disagrees. Food trucks are now charging upwards of $15 for a single item and hot dogs cost as much as $16. Some food vendors are even going so far as to charge $30 for a single hot dog!
So I was very skeptical when I read the sign on the newish food truck Shady Dawg proclaiming it was the “#1 Gourmet Dawg (I assume that means, hot dog?) in New York.” At $7 for a hot dog from a mobile food vendor, it better be pretty darn gourmet.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t. The experience started on a low note as the service crash and burned. The apathetic staff treated me as if I should have understood how their menu worked, even though they had yet to put it up on the board. It left a bad taste in my mouth and I had yet to taste their so-called gourmet dog.
I chose their original Shady Dawg, which I guess was featured on an episode of Chopped and sounded quite delicious. Maybe not $7 delicious, but something worth tasting. The first bite was okay. The dog itself was not bad – it had a decent snap and I think on its own it might have been edible. But the bacon marmalade that they added was cloyingly sweet and turned the dog into a salt lick.
Along with a bland truffle aioli and some wilted arugula, it downgraded the idea of a gourmet dog to cheap fast food. Which is fine, if I was paying $3 or less. But this was a $7 hot dog!! They did have some other interesting sounding dog combinations, but my guess is the ones topped with fried chicken or chicharrones are more in the world of expensive stoner food than actual gourmet dishes. You might be able to get away with high prices like these in a casual restaurant in New York, but you have to hit a real home run if you’re going to attempt to inflate hot dog or street food prices.
Does Shady Dawg have the best hot dog in NY? The dog itself might be ok, but with less than gourmet toppings at high prices, the experience gets a 5 out of 10.
Check Twitter: @ShadyDawgNYC