Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Charleston Hot Dog Joint Review - Murad's

Sitting at the foot of the 35th Street bridge, Murad's was Charleston's first real sports bar, and remains arguably the best such joint in town. Before the new ball park was built, Murad's was the place to be before and after Alley Cats, Wheelers, or Charlies games since it was a short walk from Watt Powell Park. These days most of its sports appeal is because of the couple of dozen TVs scattered throughout the dining area where you can catch ESPN, ESPN2, Golf Central, Fox Sports Channel and a couple of them are even tuned to CNN. The main problem at Murad's is parking. There is never enough, though it is especially problematic during the playoffs or March Madness.

I could go on and on about the atmosphere and menu at Murad's but that's why not why you are reading this, is it? But I would like to take just a moment to explain why it's taken me so long to review Murad's: You see, last year Murad's made a public announcement that they were going to go out of the restaurant business, due to the Kanawha County smoking ban, and just remain in the bar business. This would have precluded them from selling hot dogs. For the better part of a year I have labored under the assumption that they had indeed quit selling food and so I never bothered trying to get a hot dog there. But over the weekend I received a direct mail piece that trumpeted a "Family Size Pizza Deal." I have never heard of a "Family Friendly" bar, so I thought maybe the rumors of Murad's demise, cullinarily speaking, were premature. I was right.

I was very pleased to stop in recently to find the same old Murad's that I knew and loved. A shiny new game room that includes "Dance Dance Revolution," pool tables and various video games makes the place feel family friendly indeed.

The menu looks just the same as last time I was in (two years ago) and on that menu is the "Murad's Famous Hot Dog." The "MFHD" is a basic hot dog with an all-beef Oscar Mayer weenie, Murad's own chili, slaw (presumably Murad's own as well) onions and mustard. The presentation is a little unusual in that the chili and slaw are served side by side on top of the bun. The chili is dark brown and meaty, with a very nice spicy taste; Not hot, but spicy. The slaw is very good, just sweet enough to offset the chili, but a little corsely chopped for me. Nondescript onions and mustard finish off the "everything" dog nicely, even if it was served in a coffin. An automatic side order of homemade potato chips help complete the package.

Certainly the MFHD is a cut above most sports bar hot dogs, but it doesn't rate a top score against the competition at large. And in light of the other good eats Murad's offers on its menu, it's hard to give it a high recommendation. It's also a little pricey at $2.50, but it does include those nice chips.

Overall we'll give Murad's Famous Hot Dog a 4 Weenie rank.


Chris James said...

The unique presentation may have been the result of laziness instead of an intentional culinary statement.

Hancock.Tom said...

Whats the reputation of Murad's generally? I'm new to Charleston.

Stanton said...

Welcome to Charleston, Tom.

Murad's is a nice place. Fairly diverse menu and better food than you might expect in a sports bar.