Sunday, August 26, 2012

Station Street Hot Dogs: Welcome to the World of Gourmet Dogs

I’ve eaten my fair share of bad hot dogs, especially as a kid.  My mom was notorious for buying the cheapest off-brand and then boiling those meat sticks until they had doubled in size.  The scary part is that I didn’t know that there were good hot dogs out there until I ate at my fancy friend’s house one day and she had these things called casing dogs.  Let’s just say, my world was changed and I became a lover of those skin-snapping dogs from that day onward.
            Since moving to Pittsburgh in 2006 I was rather disappointed in the gourmet hot dog scene.  Trust me, I tried the place in the church basement (stay tuned for review) and a few other shops with cult-like followers, but I wasn’t drinking that Kool-Aid.  I wanted better.  Well my frown was turned upside down when I visited Station Street Hot Dogs recently.  Station Street’s doors opened in 1915.  Over the decades, it’s changed owners and location a time or two.  I can’t say what it was like in the past but the Sousa brothers are doing it right this time. 

Menu: Prices range from $4 to $8

Upon entering, you get an old school feel, think 1950s era.  The inside seating consists of a counter top that wraps along the perimeter of the shop, accompanied by vintage style soda fountain stools.  There are also picnic tables outside that looked perfect for a warm sunny day.  The menu is listed on a large mounted chalkboard describing various hot dog combinations (all dogs are 100% beef, with natural casing but can be subbed with a vegan dog upon request).  You can order anything from the simple House Dog  (basic condiments like mustard, ketchup, relish, etc.) to the adventurous Bahn Mi Dog (pork liver, pickled cucumber and onion, jalapeno, sweet chili, and cilantro).  On my first visit, I had the classic New York Dog.  I wanted to see if they had mastered the art of blanketing a crispy dog with sauerkraut and grainy mustard.  My conclusion?  They had not only mastered it they had perfected it.  The hot dog was piping hot and snapped with each bite.  The sauerkraut is hands down, the best I have ever eaten.  It was lightly browned, tender, and beautifully sour.  I know a couple of German eateries in the area who should take some notes from Station Street on how to make an awesome kraut.  And the mustard’s spiciness tied it altogether.  It was literally the best hot dog I had ever eaten...until…I tried my hubby’s hot dog.

New York and Chili Cheese Dogs with Fresh Cut Fries all for $13
The hubby ordered the ever-so-manly Chili Cheese Dog.  What made this dog out of this world was the chili.  No my friends, this wasn't some Hormel chili slop.  This dog was smothered in smoked brisket chili (vegetarian chili is available too).  I wanted to bathe in this stuff and kept sneaking bites.  And the cheese?  No, not bomb shelter canned nacho cheese.  There were Wisconsin-style cheese curds hiding in there!  My one tiny qualm is that the bun was falling apart towards the end.  The bun needs to remain consistent with the quality of the other amazing ingredients on hand.  Overall, our hot dogs were so filling and scrumptious we couldn’t even finish our boat of goldenly, delicious hand cut fries.
Do yourself a favor and go to Station Street Hot Dogs today.  You’ll never be able to eat a boiled dog again...sorry Mom.

I give Station Street Hot Dogs: 4/5 forks

Will I Return? Yes!

6290 Broad St.
Pgh, PA 15206
412-365-2121 Station Street on Urbanspoon

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