Tag Archives: Crif Dogs
My search for the best hot dog in New York continues….
I’m very embarrassed to admit that I had never been to the classic East Village hangout Crif Dogs. Sure, I’ve been inside and even made the secret phone call to enjoy drinks behind the wall at psuedo-speakeasy PDT. And I’ve eaten some of the higher-end chef-inspired hot dogs and tots inside the cocktail lounge. But somehow I had never eaten a real crif dog. I missed this during my younger late night East Village romping days. And so this is exactly why I do these searches.
I’m also amazed it’s taken me this long during my hot dog journey to follow the instruction of the iconic big red wiener. But here I was one early evening, ready to in fact “eat me”.
I sort of think the foodie movement has gone a little too far when chefs have hot dogs inspired by and named after them. What’s next – a Tom Colicchio action figure?
PDT, the secret bar behind scuzzy East Village hot dog staple Crif Dogs, offers exclusive hot dogs (all cooked at Crif Dogs but served only at the speakeasy) to pair with their fancy mixologist approved cocktails. This place is worth a visit to anybody remotely interested in the bar or restaurant scene in New York. It feels highly exclusive. Although the initials stand for Please Don’t Tell, everybody does just the opposite. You have to make reservations the day of after 3pm or hope that a first-come first-served bar stool is available. Then when you arrive, you have to enter the phone booth inside Crif Dogs and wait for the hostess to open the fake door and acknowledge your presence.
We didn’t have too much trouble sitting at the bar on a Monday night. And no problem ordering the list item hot dog. The only problem I had was with all the rules. The one mentioning no flash photography is completely understandable, but now, dear reader, you too will have to be understandable when you see that my candle-lit (and computer enhanced) picture didn’t come out so great.
The Hummer Dog is the only option here that does not seem to be named after a chef or NY restaurant. The Wylie dog (named for molecular gastronomer Wylie Dufresne) features fried mayonnaise and the Chang Dog (inspired by pork obsessed Asian chef David Chang) is wrapped in bacon and topped with kimchi. With all that fat, who would guess that further down on the list would be a veggie dog with hummus, pickles, and jalapeños?
That’s just what the Hummer is. The link itself must have been made from soy, but it had a smoky flavor and an impressive snap. My big problem here was because of all the stuff they loaded on the dog I could no longer taste the protein. I found that true of all of their hot dogs. I wish the special toppings complemented the dog rather than distracted from it. It left me asking, where’s the non-beef?
Would PDT’s Hummer Dog make my Top 100? A 6 out of 10 because it’s a great option as far as veggie dogs, but there’s just too much of the hummus and pickles to really taste the dog itself.