[Flickr/Me So Hungry]
Whether you live in New York or you're just visiting, you're surely familiar with the lure of the classic New York Hot Dog. And you're probably also aware that there's no longer any reason to limit your NYC hot dog intake to those slimy wieners sold from carts in Central Park -- or even to the recession special at omnipresent chain Gray's Papaya. The City has seen a huge boom in specialty hot dog purveyors in recent years, and while some of the trendy spots have gone belly up as quickly as they came, a few of the tastier ones have caught on big-time. Here are four of the best, all helpfully clustered downtown.
Crif Dogs: The epicenter of the trend-let, Crif serves deep-fried dogs topped with foodie faves like avocado and bacon. Get two-trends-for-one by heading through the phone booth downstairs to the speakeasy-style PDT, where off-the-menu hot dogs are named for trendy NYC chefs like David "Momofuku" Chang (slathered in kimchi) and Wylie Dufresne (deep-fried mayo). 113 St. Marks Pl. Stay nearby at the Cooper Square Hotel.
New York Hot Dog and Coffee: Oddly enough, this NYC newcomer actually hails from South Korea, where it spawned 170 locations before opening in the West Village last fall. But be glad New York hot dogs made it to the other side of the world --- who else would have thought to create a dog topped with thinly sliced bulgogi beef? 245 Bleecker St. Stay nearby at the Crosby Street Hotel.
Super Hot Dog: One of the newest entries, and also one of the ballsiest. These Kosher dogs come complete with toppings that are anything but --- sundried tomatoes, corn relish, and even fresh fruit. Yes, they will actually put blueberries and mangoes on top of your sausage. No, you don't have to be drunk, but it certainly helps. 111 MacDougal St. Stay nearby at the Washington Square Hotel.
DBGB Kitchen and Bar: You know hot dogs have gone gourmet for good when even A-list chef Daniel Boulud has one on the menu at his newest restaurant. Made from ground beef shoulder, this frank comes on a toasty house-made bun with spicy mustard and fresh relish. 299 Bowery. Stay nearby at the Off-Soho Suites Hotel.
- Brendan Spiegel of Endless Simmer.