Wednesday, July 10, 2013

[HOT LIST] Hot dogs

Atomic Dawg. Photo from their Facebook page. 

The hot dog has come a long way in metro Detroit since our first Hot Dog Hot List in the summer of '11. The gourmet hot dog trend got off to a halty start here with some places shutting down just as their buzz started building. But now the haute hot dog, yet another cheap food blue collar food made fashionable and now costs $9, has reached bonafide trend status. And that trend also happens to be wrapped in bacon (more often than not). While there are none on this list quite so patriotic as the most America-est hot dog in America, we can still hold out hope that Chef Andy Hollyday will recreate this Le Haute Duck when he opens his own place later this year.

In honor of National Hot Dog Month, here are the hottest dogs in metro Detroit.

The hot dog that should come with a waiver: Imperial's new Egg On Your Face late-night dog.

#1 Imperial Ferndale
In case you didn't know, Imperial is one of the best bars/restaurants/hang-outs in metro Detroit. So now you know. Now that we've got that cleared up, let's on to the hot dogs: they started with the simple Sonoran, a bacon-wrapped hot dog with stewed beans, tomato, onion, poblano lime cream, and salsa verde. That became so popular that they added MORE hot dogs to the menu. And the place became so popular that they also decided to add more menu; specifically, a brand-new weekend late-night menu, which includes items like the Egg On Your Face bacon-wrapped hot dog with queso fresco, jalapeno onion relish, chipotle aioli, carne asada, chorizo, and (AND) a fried egg. Yeah, that's one hot dog.

The 3 A.M. Dog at Vinsetta Garage.
#2 Vinsetta Garage Berkley
So I recently wrote this in Metromode: "The historic old garage reborn as a restaurant opened less than a year ago, and from day one has been filling its waiting list. The iconic building's history and the excellent adaptive reuse notwithstanding, people come here for one primary reason: the food. Classic American comfort food meets classic American car culture here, but in addition to the Union Joints' signature macaroni and cheese and the out-of-this-world disco fries (get the disco fries), the burgers are the real stars at Vinsetta." Okay so yeah, the burgers are the stars here but the tube steaks are no slouches. There's the Classic Detroit Coney with house-made chili, the Yeti Dog which is wrapped in bacon and deep-fried, and the 3 A.M. Dog, the hot dog version of the burger by the same name with house-made bacon jam, sriracha mayo, a sunny fried egg and crispy fried onions.

#3 Atomic Dawg Berkley
At this point I'm just repeating myself, so here again is what I wrote about Atomic Dawg for that same story in Metromode: "Though technically the Atomic Dawg is not owned by Corridor Sausage, it is 'owned' by Corridor Sausage in the pwned kind of way. As American chefs continue combing through the archives of the greatest hits of American junk food for the Next Big Thing in garbage gone gourmand, it seems that sights are set on the good old all-American hot dog. Atomic Dawg uses Corridor Sausage for their sausage selection (which includes a sausage of the week) serving what is, essentially, a really dressed up version of a meat tube." They also have a big selection of big "dawgs" that come with such toppings as pulled pork and grilled pineapple, plus they've got veggie dogs for those who like everything on the hot dog except for the hot dog itself.

#4 The Grindhouse Detroit
The Grindhouse is the recently-launched food truck owned by the folks at Corridor Sausage. Since Corridor will be mentioned on this list a total of three times, I would be remiss to not give it its own place on the list. Now, we could split hairs here - what defines a "hot dog" versus a sausage, and if we're including sausage here what about [all of these other sausage places]? Um. 'Cuz Corridor rulz. And Grindhouse has corn dogs! So. There. (Even Charley thinks so, and he's the mustard dude.)

#5 Ford Field Detroit
Not only is Ford Field stepping up their game this year with a new Corridor Sausage cart, but they've been serving Dearborn Sausage Co. hot dogs with Charley's Ballpark Mustard (the mustard dude!) for awhile now. And that, really, is all you need in a hot dog.

Recent hot dog specials at Falling Down Beer Co.

Honorable mention: Falling Down Beer Company (Warren)
These Dearborn Sausage Co. dogs were a recent special, but deserve their proper dues regardless (they will also most likely be making their way to a new late-night menu, so stay tuned). Word is out in the beerie community: Falling Down has some of the best bar food in town. Pictured: Southern Dog - homemade pimento cheese and crumbled bacon; Chipotle BBQ Dog - BBQ pulled pork and creamy chipotle slaw; Guacamole Dog - house made guacamole and cumin-salted corn tortilla strips; Horse Relish Dog - McClure's spicy pickle, red onion, horseradish and sauerkraut relish with stoneground Dijonaise.

Bubbling under Roast (Detroit), Biercamp (Ann Arbor), The Wurst Bar (Ypsilanti), Bucharest Grill (downtown), Rosie O'Grady's (multiple locations), Detroit Under Dog (Ferndale), Mercury Burger Bar (Corktown), Five Guys Burgers and Fries (various locations), Hippo's Hot Dogs (Troy, Clinton Twp.), Old Shillelagh (Greektown), Epic (Novi), The Henry Ford (Dearborn), Comerica Park (Detroit), Tortitas el Rojito (SW Detroit)