CRIF DOGS / PDT – NYC
113 St. Marks Place (nr. Ave A) New York, NY 10009
Date Dined: 1/17/12
With dozens of combinations to choose from and a few dogs created by famed NYC chefs, Crif Dogs is a foodie favorite spot of the Lower East Side in Manhattan. In honor of the recent long weekend, a few friends and I decided to meet for some drinks at PDT (Please Don’t Tell), a hidden cocktail lounge that can only be entered through a secret phone booth in the divey hot dog shop. Although it could be interpreted as gimmicky, one of my favorite trends of the past few years in the food and drink world has been all things secretive (think speakeasy). I am always intrigued by what lies behind a hidden door or at the end of a seemingly random alleyway. PDT is known for its excellent cocktails and also for the hot dogs they serve from their neighbor but the secrecy makes them all the more mysterious.
All of the dogs served at CD are made of naturally smoked beef and pork and dressed up in different ways(unless you want it naked!!). Some sometimes people criticize it for having too many toppings that overshadow the hot dog itself. That may be true but I am definitely guilty of using the hot dog as a vehicle for as many toppings as possible myself so I wasn’t complaining by any means. We decided to do a tasting of a few hot dogs and a few sides. Apologies for the blurry photography which had to be done kind of sneakily…
Chang Dog: Chef David Chang’s dog was bacon wrapped and deep fried with Momofuku kimchi. It was crispy and juicy with the spice of house-made fermented vegetables. Good, but definitely a slightly acquired taste.
Wylie Dog: I had high expectations for this one from the description- a deep fried dog with a Wd 50 hot dog bun, battered deep fried mayo, tomato molasses, shredded lettuce and dried onions- but in reality it turned out to be kind of bland. Too much bun and lettuce…??
Jack’s Luxury Oyster Dog: Chef Nick Licata’s bacon wrapped deep fried dog with house made cocktail sauce , anchovy butter and shoestring potatoes blew the other Crif Dogs (and all other dogs) out of the water. This one had the perfect dog- to-bun-to-topping ratio and the crispiness of the bacon and fried potatoes added texture while the cocktail sauce gave a little tang. Delicious.
The Chihuahua: The Chihuahua is a simple combination that could probably be replicated at home. Crif Dogs’ hot dog wrapped in bacon and fried for some crunch topped with a refreshing combination of sour cream and avocado. Simplicity and freshness.
Tater tots: Sueños chef Sue Torres contributed to the menu with Mexican deep fried tots topped in chihuahua cheese, chorizo gravy, chile de arbol, chipotle cream and scallions. Although very flavorful, the meaty gravy made the tots pretty soggy and kind of gross to share with a bunch of people. Maybe this would work better on regular French fries?
PDT is a great spot to indulge in well mixed libations and enjoy Crif Dogs’ over-the-top snacks with friends or with a date.
If you disagree, eat me.