It was Saturday afternoon, and there was no line outside Franks ‘N’ Dawgs. A couple were seated at a booth. Not a soul was waiting to order. I strolled right up to the counter. I asked which sausages were housemade, but what I wanted to say was: “Is this real life? A gourmet hot-dog stand with no wait?”
Alexander Brunacci, the loquacious Aussie owner behind the register, guided me through the menu for a good five minutes: There are Boar’s Head dogs, locally sourced dogs and dogs made on site by Joe Doren, a fine-dining refugee. I perused the magnetized placards of celebrities on the wall before taking Tina Fey with me to my table to identify my order.
There’s nothing defective about the Boar’s Head dog (unless you count the fact that it’s not a Vienna Beef), but it’s the housemade stuff that suggests there is such a thing as a hot-dog revelation. The Tur-Dawgen is the juiciest turkey sausage imaginable: The fact that it’s smothered in chewy-crisp duck confit and aioli should make it unbearably rich, but every bite is cut with relish and a pile of tart pickled carrots. The Subcontinent combination of ground meat, curry and peas is here transformed into the Lamb Keema: The peas were sadly shriveled, but the sausage was packed with aromatic flavor. And no offense to the fries (crisp enough, if salty), but the cole slaw is where it’s at: cabbage and carrots, heaps of juicy golden raisins, a touch of caraway seeds.
Still, these are big dogs—more like sausage-shaped panini than ballpark franks—and at some point, I had to call it quits. But I couldn’t lay off the lobster-roll-style buns, baked locally by Nicole Bergere (of Nicole’s Divine Crackers): the things were so buttery they almost flaked, and they were toasted beautifully golden. So this is a cry for help: People, please form an intimidatingly long line here. Otherwise these hot-dog buns will be my downfall.