Tag Archives: Bars

My search for the best hot dog in New York continues….

It’s funny – when I first started this blog, the easiest reviews to write were the negative ones. Not that I enjoyed knocking a restaurant, but the writing came a lot easier thanks to punchlines. Now I find it harder to write the bad reviews and much prefer to focus on how great something is.

So let me start with the great things at dinner table. It’s a very cool reverse speakeasy-style establishment. Instead of sneaking through a restaurant to get to a bar, you go through the bar (in this case The Garret East) to get a to an unmarked door. It looks like it leads to a back alley or maybe an employees only area. Instead, if you flick a switch on the wall, the door slides open to reveal a secret intimate little restaurant.

This is dinnertable. When they opened last year, those in the know heard about the great menu created for the special VIP guests who found their way here. Since then, the chef has changed and the food has shifted to a more Japanese gastropub-style menu. Great – my kind of food.

When I got to dinnertable, I found plenty of availability (this place really is a secret!) and I sat at the bar where the chef served me himself. I ordered the hot dog (since it sounded fascinating with its Japanese-inspiration) and a cooling cucumber trout salad,.

Unfortunately, I was greatly disappointed. I won’t harp on the blahness of the $13 cucumber salad, since I’m using this space to review their hot dog.

The hot dog is made special for them at Dickson’s Farmstand in Chelsea Market. The chef has decided to meld the pork sausage with miso and sugarcane juice, grill it, and serve some kewpie mayonnaise and a sweet brown sauce on top, and then a sprinkle of wasabi salt on the side. It sounded intriguing enough although the $17 price tag was jaw-dropping.

Even more jaw dropping was that I couldn’t bring myself to finish the dog. The flavors might have been ok, but I was immediately put off by the gray color and soft texture. The grilled dog showed signs of char marks but the interior of the link was so soft. I found it mealy and fatty and quite unpleasant. I like my hot dogs to snap or at the very least to be a bit firm. This was as soft as the potato bun so there was no textural contrast.

The chef explained that it was from the high fat content of the pork and the miso addition. Ok, but I really didn’t like it. It pained me to take only two bites of a $17 hot dog and to leave the really cool establishment hungry (and poorer).

I imagine other menu items are more successful and that this chef (who seemed nice enough) has other exciting offerings. But the hot dog is not the thing to get here. In fact, I found it rather off-putting. And I don’t find it easy (or fun) to say that.

Does dinnertable have the best hot dog in NY? The fact that I couldn’t take more than a few bites of the pricey specimen speaks volumes. Afriad I have to give it a 5 out of 10 for unpleasant texture and a concept that just did not work for me.

DINNERTABLE
206 Avenue A (between East 12th and East 13th Street),
East Village
dinnertablenyc.com

Category: Hot Dogs

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

The thought of an avocado margarita might not be the most appetizing, but when its made with smoky mezcal, lime juice, cucumbers, and a spicy chile bitters, you get a complex sweet/tart/spicy/refreshing cocktail that is a real game-changer. The avocado adds a rich creaminess that ensures this balanced quaff fires on all cylinders. Price: $15
SWEETWATER SOCIAL
643 Broadway (at Bleecker Street),
Noho
(212) 253-0477
http://www.drinksweetwater.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

Leave it to me to visit one of the best new speakeasies and not even have a cocktail. I studied the menu and watched the bartenders work their magic at Karasu, hidden behind the local restaurant Walter’s, but I didn’t order a drink because I was on my way to give a tour (and I try to stay somewhat sober for those). But I came here to check out the place (which is awesome) and have some dinner.  The food, like the cocktails, are Japanese-inspired. And the softly breaded and incredibly tender fried chicken pieces with dipping sauces almost makes up for the lack of alcohol. Price: $11
KARASU
166 Dekalb Avenue (at Cumberland Street),
Behind Walter’s Restaurant
(347) 223-4811
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
karasubk.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

First they did it with sodas, like Root Beer and Cream Soda. Now Coney Island Brewing Company has turned to famous cocktails to inspire their beers. The Hot Toddy is an unlikely beer style, but it works wonders. The strong ale (12.5% ABV) is fermented with honey, cinnamon, and lemons. It is then aged on whiskey barrel staves before being served hot or cold. Yes, it’s beer, but you’d be forgiven if you thought you were actually drinking a cocktail. .Price Varies.

CONEY ISLAND BREWING COMPANY
1904 Surf Avenue (at West 17th Street),
Coney Island, Brooklyn
(718) 996-0019
coneyislandbeer.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

2016 was a tough year. From a whirlwind political circus to the loss of many beloved celebrities to worldwide tragedies, the news was full of sad things. But there was still joy out there and as usual, I found a lot of that joy through food. And here in New York, these are the 10 dishes that gave me the most joy….

NUMBER 10: HOT DOG at FELTMAN’S OF CONEY ISLAND

A Coney Island historian named Michael Quinn bought the Feltman’s brand this year. For those that don’t know, Charles Feltman was the originally creator of the hot dog in 1867 and was the employer of the more famous Nathan’s. Pepper and garlic flavors explode with each snap of the lamb casing. The warm grilled sauerkraut and homemade apple cider vinegar mustard plus the addition of no nitrates or chemicals help put this in the running for best hot dog in the city. Price: $4

FELTMAN’S OF CONEY ISLAND
80 St. Marks Place (between First and Second Avenue),
Inside William Barnacle Tavern,
East Village
https://www.facebook.com/Feltmans-of-Coney-Island

NUMBER 9: PUEBLA DRINK WITH NO NAME at MAYAHUEL

It’s no secret that I love Mayahuel. It’s become one of my favorite bars, visiting it often on the Craft Cocktail tour but also bringing friends who are in town by for a drink. I was looking for a smooth, chocolatey drink to pair with their excellent churros and one of the servers suggested this classic. It has no name (well, sort of) but lots of intense flavors – spicy and smoky mezcal infused with chile de arbol, a moscatel sherry infused with ancho cili, some aged rum, cacao, and mole bitters. It’s modeled after a Oaxacan mole sauce, but it’s also the perfect final sipper to a night out. Price: $15

MAYAHUEL
304 East 6th Street (between First and Second Avenue),
East Village
(212) 253-58888
mayahuelny.com

NUMBER 8: KUBANEH BREAD at TIMNA

It’s hard for me to justify paying for a basket of bread. But this is not just any basket of bread. It’s called kubaneh and is a traditional Yemenite breakfast bread with a yeasty, steamy center. It arrives in a flowerpot with accompaniments of jalapeño salsa, crushed tomatoes, and a dollop of yogurt. Each piece rips apart easily and releases aroma and steam that adds to the experience. This slightly sweet, soft and tender bread disappeared too quickly. It had the sweetness of a brioche, the softness of a popover, and the brownness of a pretzel. Imagine that lovechild. Price: $12

TIMNA
109 St. Marks Place (between First Avenue and Avenue A),
East Village
(646) 964-5181
timna.nyc

NUMBER 7: CLASSIC BURGER at SALVATION BURGER

After Salvation Burger finally re-opened following a debilitating fire, I finally made it up to check out April Bloomfield’s hip, swanky burger palace. I was hesitant to spend so much money for a burger and even more doubtful that it would be worth it. It well-exceeded my highest expectations. The classic burger is modelled after thin-patty fast food burgers but it’s full of meaty char and topped with a secret cheesy sauce, sweet caramlized onions, and bold tangy pickles. If McDonald’s burgers tasted this good, I would have a serious problem. Price: $17

SALVATION BURGER
230 East 51st Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue),
Inside the Pod 51 Hotel
Midtown East
(646) 277-2900
salvationburger.com

NUMBER 6: PANDI-ICE CREAM at HOUSE OF INASAL

We’ve all probably had an ice cream sandwich, but not necessarily one quite like this. The popular Filipino street food is composed of sweet eggy pandesal bread that is toasted and liberally painted with thick halaya, which is ube (purple sweet potato) jam. Then it’s topped with a scoop of the same deep purple-colored ice cream. And finally, it’s garnished with some pinipig (crunchy rice) and young coconut. It’s sweet, warm, cold, crunchy, and absolutely luxurious.  Price: $5.50

HOUSE OF INASAL
65-14 Roosevelt Avenue (between 67th Street and 65th Place),
Woodside, Queens
(718) 429-0709
houseofinasal.com

I’m counting down the 100 best dishes I tasted in 2016…

Don’t ignore the food menu at Mayahuel. While their expert tequila and mezcal cocktails may be distracting, their Mexican small plates are phenomenal. Every evening here must end with the crunchy, creamy, and cinnamony churros dipped into a decadent bowl of rich, dark chocolate. Price: $10
MAYAHUEL
304 East 6th Street (between First and Second Avenue),
East Village
(212) 253-58888
mayahuelny.com

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