Friday, June 01, 2007

Second Chance Review: The Hottest Dog

At, June is a month of second chances.

One HDJ in particular has shown a willingness to take constructive criticism from a bad review and attempt to improve the quality of their West-by-God style dawgs, The Hottest Dog. Since it is located in Hurricane (ie the halfway point 'tweenst Charleston and Huntington), Stanton and I agreed to meet at THD and see how they have been progressing.

Weenie: actually too flavorful. The sausage had an overpowering flavor of high-quality beef. What's the problem? Well, one of the things that makes a WV dog distinct from those offered up in NYC and Chicago is our focus on the toppings, and not the weenie, as the centerpiece. WV hot dogs developed out of a need to make a cheap, low quality protein stick taste like a million bucks rather than an effort to enhance the quality of a well-seasoned frank.

Slaw: dramatic improvement, but like a Sophomore in college, there is still much work to be done. It was kind of creamy and kind of sweet and kind of chunky. Just not a whole lot of anything, including flavor.

Chili sauce: First of all, since the sign behind the counter says "sauce" and the cashier said "chili," the diplomatic way to approach this highly sensitive issue is to say "chili sauce" and take the beating for being a fence-riding wussy.

That being said, the chili sauce was not very good. I believe it is the standard-issue Coney sauce from corporate HQ in Portland. The best way to describe is as being very similar to DQ's industrial grade chili/sauce only with real beef, instead of the Queen's synthetic meatfoam.

Onion rings: Pretty good, although portions were small. I also am not a big fan of mandatory side dishes (the side is included in the price of the dog). Sometimes I want a dog and nuttin' else.

Price: They try to spin it by pointing to quality and volume, but charging $4.25 for a WV hot dog is the sort of sin that, if done in Old Testament times, would have resulted in a steady shower of fire and brimstone. Basically, you end up getting two or three hot dogs worth of hot dog for the price of...three hot dogs. Too bad I usually only eat one dog at a time.

Last time, Stanton gave them a harsh-but-fair 1.5 weenies, and that score does improve by a bit due to their taking of slaw criticism to heart, but not much. They now earn 2.5 weenies and absolutely no nominations for the upcoming Weenie Awards.

Go there to get that specialty dog that you fell in love with when you went to college in Chicago, lived in New York, or studied abroad in England, just don't hit the Hottest Dog expecting a great WV-style dog, because you simply will not find one there. Unfortunately, that is exactly what most people in the area are going to want---nay---expect. And that, coupled with the high prices, may be why Stanton and I only saw a couple of customers during our hour there during peak lunch time.


Jackie Lantern said...

Wow. I'm gonna check it out just to see what a 2.5 hot dog tastes like. Wait, $4.25 for a hot dog?!? Nevermind. As curious as I am about the 2.5 rating I'm never gonna pay that much for a dog. Jackie's family gotta eat!

Chris James said...

In all fairness, some of their exotic offerings seem to be an ok value in terms of calories to cost ratio.