Normally, I avoid hot dogs after a childhood full of eating them all to often. However, when Po Dog popped up in Capitol Hill recently and we had menus stacked at our apartment entrance, we were enticed. Po Dog’s funky minimalist decor breathes hip and the menu features about 12 dogs plus usually one special of the day. For sides, they have homemade potato chips, string french fries, and deep fried pickles. On our first visit we ordered the “Dub T Dog”, “Deep Fried Danger Dog”, and the fried pickles. Each dog sits inside a soft slightly toasted brioche bun. While each dog stood well on it’s own, we both felt each dog was lacking something. The Dub T concept is accurate, (-I love potato chips on my ham and cheese sandwiches-) but the chips only added a crunchy texture with little added flavor. Perhaps, they should have used their homemade chips or chips with flavored salt and vinegar for adding extra punch. The Deep Fried Danger Dog screams excitement by being fried. It is topped with the mildly spicy chili sauce and soft but slightly sweet onions adds more dimension. I missed the pepper bacon flavor and didn’t get the crunchy texture of the dog I expected from being fried. The deep fried pickles came out a bit late, but they were as Michael remembered them from his college days when he’d devour them at a local diner in Omaha, NE called Goldbergs. On another visit I had the Mac‘N’cheese dog. The Tillamook cheesy elbow macaroni overflowed an otherwise standard dog. Overall both experiences were good, inexpensive options, and the young atmosphere only adds the potential of the place. For the price point and potential for more creativity we are likely to return.
However, going to Po Dog has us wishing for other hot dog venues that have simply stole our taste buds: 1) Japadog in Vancouver, BC and 2) Hot Doug’s in Chicago (click here for slide show via Saveur) long before Po Dog came on the scene. One can really not go wrong with any hotdog at Japadog. Yet the Oroshi remains my gold standard for gourmet hot dogs. It has a pork Bratwurst, grated diakon, green onion and a special soy sauce. Japadog serves the brat sliced so you have the perfect amount of meat, veggie, and sauce in each and every bite. My mouth waters as I write and Japadog is a must stop whether you are traveling to or through Vancouver.
Michael hit Hot Doug’s on a recent trip to Chicago and waited in the 30+ minute line to try some of Doug’s creations. These dogs are truly outstanding in their creativity. Michael’s favorite from the trip was a hot dog that had truffled aoli, fois gras, and sel gris on top. The line is long and they only take cash, but if you are in Chi-town, Hot Doug’s is an absolute must for at least one visit, maybe two.
Po Dog would benefit from adding some higher end condiments to their dogs for added creativity and enhanced flavor. They don’t need Fois gras on them, but perhaps some more Seattle local specialty elements to really stamp them as unique. Rumor has it that Po Dog is doing well, as they are opening up a 2nd restaurant in the U-District. The UW students are likely to enjoy the variety and options of Seattle’s only (that I know of) creative hot dog joint.
1009 E Union St
Seattle, WA 98122
Hrs: Mon-Thurs 11am-12am | Fri-Sat 11am-2:30am | Sun 11am-10pm