Monday, September 20, 2010

My Kinda Meal, Hot Doggin' It Is

I gave a positive review to The Senate earlier this year saying it was perhaps the best hot dog restaurant in the Cincinnati - quite a lofty title. However, my critique of the Senate was that although it was a pretty good hot dog and beer, paying $50 for two hot dogs and beers did not feel right at all. I began to form my broader critique/rant after reading Cincinnati Magazine review about the Senate as an East Village style restaurant. ...Whenever I hear people talk about the new Carew Tower restaurant Soho Sushi, I think of this line from the Office:
Michael Scott: There's only one place to get authentic New York-style sushi.
Dwight Schrute: Tokyo?
Michael Scott:: New York!
New York is probably the greatest city in the world in my humble opinion, but this type of talk strikes me as provincial hollow signaling. I generally like places that try to be interesting, good, and unique. When I hear authentic Italian dining, I think Olive Garden... Ugh. I'd just like good local Italian like Trattoria Roma or hell, even Dewey's. ...That said, I'd still like to try Soho Sushi. But, as a general rule - In trendier high rent areas, you tend to find a lot of over-priced presumptuous places that are often mediocrities. They're selling a nice image, not necessarily great food. Meanwhile in the suburbs, while you find a lot of the crapiest chain restaurants, you can also spot a lot of great little places in strip malls - The rent is cheap, so the price of experimenting is lower (You also see this some downtown, but I think it is more common and an underappreciated trend in the suburbs). So, the best ethnic restaurants (generally run by people who don't have the political connections to get streetcars built to their places) tend to be in the suburbs.

With that outlook in mind, we drove gung-ho from downtown into the suburbs to test that famous American cuisine - the hot dog. ...At Hot Doggin' It.

The restautant is a bit hard to spot from Montgomery since the storefront faces the stripmall parking lot rather than the street. This place is the opposite of presumptuous. ...They dodn't bill themselves as "authentic Michigan Avenue" American food. They just try to produce good Chicago street food in Cincinnati. For whatever reason, that's actually a pretty difficult type of food to get Cincinnati, even though it’s all over the place in neighboring Chicago.

The restaurant is decorated with various Chicago sports memorabilia. WGN is generally showing on the television, and they day we went happened to be Lou Piniella’s last as Cubs manager. The exterior signage assures visitors that they use Vienna All Beef hot dogs here. I opted for a very reasonably priced Italian Sausage:

With onions and peppers served on a thick roll, it was quite excellent. My friend ordered the Italian Beef, which I have to assume was good as it was gone by the time I sat down with my food. Also, we both opted from some nice fresh-cut fries:

By the counter, there’s a map of Chicagoland with pins for the original homes of Chicago natives who’ve eaten at Hot Doggin’ It. There have been a lot...

Despite extensive periods in Chicago, neither of us could get on the wall as we weren’t born there. That was a letdown. But, the extremely nice lady behind the counter gives you free authentic Hyde Park of Chicago style  ice cream for dessert. A pleasant way to end the meal:
I'd put the food about on par with the Senate to me. The prices were a lot better. However, I doubt you'll ever be choosing one night between Hot Doggin' It and the Senate. So, I'll just say "Recommended".

Hey, and the Cubs lost 16-5! So, it really was a great time.

Hot Doggin' It on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

    Mayday in Northside touts their dogs, too but I haven't made it.
    Check out this monstrosity from Santiago.
    A "Chile" dog.....


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