Top Dog: 10 Best New York Hot Dogs

Relish (or ketchup) the best hot dogs in New York City.
By: Guest Blogger

Photo by: Evan Sung ©Evan Sung

Evan Sung, Evan Sung

By Sara Ventiera

New York may be the greatest food city in the world. Yet, no matter how many high-end steakhouses, sushi bars and tony trattorias move in, the Big Apple is still a hot dog town at heart. The love affair started in the mid-19th century, when German immigrants began proffering sausages on Bowery street corners. Now the official food of baseball games and summer cookouts, the hot dog has become a national obsession. Though street carts abound, enterprising chefs and entrepreneurs are also in on the hot dog game, selling everything from fancy Kobe beef franks to old reliable ballpark dogs with mustard and onions. Here’s where to sink your teeth into the city’s best frankfurters.

Check out the full gallery for all 10 great hot dogs.

©DANIEL KRIEGER PHOTOGRAPHY

DANIEL KRIEGER PHOTOGRAPHY

It’s not easy to make hot dogs from scratch, but Daniel Boulud’s Bowery bistro preps its all-beef wiener on the premises. It’s juicy and smoky, and has the perfect crisp snap when you bite in. The whole thing is topped with a combination of homemade classics — sauteed onions, mustard and ketchup — and a more creative mix of toppings. Frisee and radish add freshness and crunch. The 299 Relish is made from scratch with a zesty blend of fermented chiles, cabbage and assorted other vegetables, giving the dog a slightly sweet, subtly spicy and entirely savory flavor. Taking a cue from tradition, the whole thing is served in a ceramic boat complete with crinkled edges.

The word "sustainable" doesn’t typically leap to mind when thinking about hot dogs, but this farm-to-table TriBeCa eatery is changing that. The casual restaurant was started by the owners of Grazin’ Angus Acres, who ensure that every ingredient is locally sourced. From the mustard to the mayonnaise to the meat for the burgers and hot dogs, everything on the menu is sourced from the farm or its Hudson Valley neighbors. The aim is to do right by the planet and the individual animals. All the beef is grass-fed, and every animal on the property (including cows, pigs and chickens) is pasture-raised in accordance with the highest humane standards in the industry. As for the hot dog, the mustard-topped pork wiener is tucked into an organic bun with optional sauerkraut from a biodynamic farm upstate.

New Jersey natives and lifelong ripper lovers Brian Shebairo and Chris Antista started slinging dogs in the back of a now-defunct speakeasy back in 1999. They opened their first standalone shop a few years later, and they’ve been setting the standard ever since: Their St. Marks location houses one of the world’s best cocktail bars, PDT, behind a vintage-style phone booth in the back. To start, choose from the three kinds of wieners: the smoked beef-and-pork Crif Dog, which is deep-fried to order; the classic, snappy grilled all-beef New Yorker; and a grilled veggie dog. Toppings can get wildly creative, like the Morning Jersey, a Taylor ham-wrapped fried dog covered with melted cheese and a fried egg. It’s good at noon or 4 a.m.

Look through the full gallery and let us know in the comments: How do you top your dog?

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