Saturday, December 10, 2022

Ravenswood HDJ Review - The Dawg Pound

Sometimes the best hot dogs are found inside the most unlikely looking buildings, and it's hard to imagine a more unlikely looking building than Ravenswood's "The Dawg Pound." From the outside The Pound doesn't look like anything. It is in a very large and very old building that bears no resemblance to any restaurant we've ever been in. If we'd not have Google Maps guiding us we may well have driven right by. The tall pole sign confirmed we had found it, but then, after seeing the walk-up window, we almost drove on by since we really didn't want to dine ala-car-go. Another look at the Google listing, though, convinced us that there was inside dining somewhere in there. 

But even after we found the entrance (which is kind of hidden on the right-rear of the building and not well-labeled as the entrance), walking into the tiny space that it opened into was still not matching up with our expectations for the number one-rated local restaurant in Ravenswood according to Google reviews. It was only after we were greeted and invited to find a seat in the adjacent dining room did we finally feel like we'd arrived at a bonafide HDJ. 

I should say, we found a seat in one of the adjacent dining rooms. There are three. Two of them with bars. And they are comfortable and decorated with care. They are just hard to find for the first time visitor. 

But hey, we don't score on decor and ease of access here, we are only concerned with the hot dogs, so let's talk about those. 

First, this is the Ohio Valley, so we know that we have to say "sauce," which we hate, because "sauce, slaw, mustard and onions" just doesn't roll off the tongue as well a "chili, slaw..." does it? And since this is a full-service restaurant and -- despite the name -- does not specialize in hot dogs, we're going to have to ask for no ketchup. That's a given. 

But once we've cleared these two hurdles, all that's left is to wait on our order and look around at the myriad of stuff that adorns the walls of the three dining rooms. Mostly Ravenswood High School and WVU themed, but also lots of NASCAR and general sports stuff. There's a lot to look at, and we barely got started before our hot dogs arrived. 

First off, I have to say I was fooled by the words on the menu into thinking this was going to be a ginormous Genteel Dog. I don't recall the exact wording -- something like "overflowing with toppings" -- but it was sufficient to make me believe that one would be enough. In reality, the hot dog was just average sized. The toppings were applied generously though, so no foul.

The bun was not steamed, but soft. It was warm but a bit crusty on the outside, like it had been oven-warmed. Not crusty enough to be problematic, but enough to deduct a half-Weenie from it's score. 

The chili, I mean sauce, was tasty with not much spiciness outside a slight chili powder flavor. The slaw was creamy and very sweet. The two paired well. The onions were nicely chopped, but were red which for some purists is a no-no. They didn't hurt the flavor here. The weenie seemed basic and not waterlogged, so I guessed it was lightly grilled. The mustard was applied evenly and almost invisibly. 

Overall the hot dog was  very good. The lack of steamed bun hurts a little, but it was still soft and easy to handle. The pairing of the sauce and slaw was just right. We'll give The Dawg Pound a 4 1/2 Weenie score. Pretty good by Ohio Valley standards.

They have lots of other things on the menu, and the atmosphere seems like it would be a cheerful place for lunch or dinner even if you weren't in the mood for hot dogs. 

But who is ever not in the mood for hot dogs? 

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