Friday, August 21, 2009

Hog Dogs Put on a Show

Just like how burgers got dressed up a couple of years ago and made it to the menu of some fancy restaurants, hot dogs are now the latest to go gourmet.

A new spot that puts a Coney Island dog to shame is Show Dogs on Market Street near the Tenderloin, brought to you by the people behind Foreign Cinema restaurant.

For me, hot dogs are guilty pleasures. I know it’s bad for you, but I love the saltiness. And I’m even happy with just getting the generic hot dogs at the movie theaters. I usually find myself eating hot dogs only at the movies or baseball games.

But last week I went to check out Show Dogs. On my first visit, I went for their happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. (During happy hour, you can get a pint of beer for $2.50 but the dogs are regular price.)

Show Dogs is right at the corner of Market and 6th Street, across from the Golden Gate Theater. This stretch of town showcases the full spectrum of humanity, but particularly the end that likes to piss and yell on the street. So as far as location, it really takes a dedicated hot dog eater to drop in.

That said, the store itself is clean and cherry with marble table tops that reminds me of a bistro. The young staff is incredibly friendly, but that may also be because they’re not overly taxed with work. On the times I visited, there were only one or two other people there.

There are 12 varieties of hot dogs on the menu (one is vegetarian)—all are sustainable and most are organic. They’re supplied by some of the big-name meat people in the area: Fatted Calf, Ryan Farr 4505 Meats, Let’s Be Frank and Golden Gate Meats.

On my first visit, I tried the Organic Duck Sausage ($8), which is topped with pasilla BBQ sauce and kim chee. (Side note: the sausages all come with creative toppings, but since the dogs are made to order, you could ask to mix and match the dogs and toppings.)

I also ordered the happy hour Prohibition Ale, which is the first time I tried this beer and I really enjoyed it. It had a lot of body and flavor, but wasn’t overly alcoholic or yeasty. It was smooth, and went really well with the hot dog.

The duck sausage was meaty and succulent, so I really enjoyed the texture but I felt it didn’t have a distinct duck flavor. Still, how can you go wrong with kim chee topping? The kim chee was fresh and great on any hot dog, IMHO. The passilla sauce gave it a nice kick, although I probably could have skipped it. I should also note that the bun was nicely toasted.

Because I enjoyed the Duck Dog, I came back a couple of days later for lunch. This time I got the Organic Lamb Marquez ($7), which is a lamb sausage with fig chutney, house mustard and arugula.

The lamb sausage was slightly dense and the meat texture was almost minced like. It’s not the juicy, meaty bits that I enjoyed in the duck sausage. But one thing I realized about Show Dogs is that the sausages are often covered up by all the toppings. So the dogs don’t really play the starring role.

I enjoyed the lamb sausage because of the sweetness from the fig chutney, but around this point I was craving some good sauerkraut.

I like the concept of Show Dogs and appreciate the creativity on their menu (I want to try the wild boar next). It’s kind of out of the way unless you’re heading to the Warfield or Golden Gate Theater. But it’s the kind of place that I hope does well because it’s time hot dogs got their time in the spotlight.

Show Dogs, 1020 Market St., San Francisco. PH: 415.558.9560.

Related links (get it):
Baseball + Hot Dog = Independence
Frankly, It’s More Slim Dog Than Hot Dog
Batter Up: Tres Agave at AT&T Park


JulieK said...

I would have tried wild boar first, and would have wanted kim chee on the side. I am strictly a mustard 'n onions gal for dogs and burgers

Kim said...

I don't eat meat, but I LOVE hot dogs! Go figure.

Cookie said...

I've never heard of duck dogs or lamb dogs! Now I'm interested to find out what they taste like!

Hungry Dog said...

I want to try this place! Too bad the location is kind of crummy. We just had great hot dogs in Kauai and I have been craving a good one ever since we got back.

Mrs. L said...

For some reason I have been craving a hot dog lately. A good one, with the works. This just made that craving worse....

foodhoe said...

I went today and felt strangely let down... for many reasons. but I had a plain old Let's be frank dog with just onion and mustard and was very happy with that. I guess I just don't like hotdogs very dressed up!

Unknown said...

i went on their opening day.
almost everything went wrong with my order. i had to ask for my beer after i had paid for it. apparently the cashier had forgotten about my beer. my french fries did not get the barbeque dust. the onion that i got for my dog was cooked on the flat top even though it said grilled onion on the menu...i would go back soon to give them a second chance...
i am now craving for a good vanilla shake

Single Guy Ben said...

JulieK, you probably definitely can have the kim chee on the side.

Kim, I bet it's the saltiness!

Cookie, I like the duck better than the lamb.

Hungry Dog, fancy hot dogs in Kauai? Hmmm.

Mrs. L, is there any fancy dogs in the South Bay?

Foodhoe, what were you let down by? Was it the selection or the decor?

MC, I didn't have any problems getting my order the two times I went. Like I said, I was the only one there so it wasn't like they had to juggle lots of orders. Both times everything was prepared on time and very nicely done. You should give it another try to see.

Carolyn Jung said...

Lamb sausage on a hot-dog bun with fig chutney? My, oh my! How come we don't have a place like this in the South Bay?!? Wahhhhhhhhhhh....