Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rate-A-Restaurant #209: New York Hot Dog & Coffee (a.k.a. Korean Hot Dogs)

Restaurant: New York Hot Dog & Coffee

Location: 245 Bleecker Street (New York)

Type of restaurant: Korean hot dogs

We stipulated: In New York, we were telling our friend Michelle about the magic of Kogi's Korean tacos. "Well," she asked us, "have you heard about the Korean hot dogs?" Nope. We were intrigued. A bulgogi hot dog? Tell us more! Luckily, on our final day in NYC, Michelle was free for lunch. And she worked close to New York Hot Dog & Coffee. Good enough for us.

They stipulated: There are more than just Korean hot dogs at New York Hot Dog & Coffee; and, strangely, their other specialty is Belgian Waffles. Seriously. Also, for $2 more, the meal deal includes a small soda and either spicy fries, chips or a frozen yogurt. Yikes. Too much food.

What we ordered: Kimchi-Bulgogi Hot Dog ($6.50) for me; Bulgogi hot dog ($5.99) for Maria; Bulgogi wrap with rice ($6.50) for Michelle; and a plain hot dog ($3.25) for Evan.

High point: I'm not a big meat-on-meat fan. But I make an exception when there's a big draw or something unusual. And I was so intrigued by the idea of bulgogi and kimchi on a hot dog, I was sold. And you know what? It was good. But possibly the highest point was afterward: I had no regrets. (That time I ate at Oki-Dog in L.A.? Big regrets. Here? Not at all.)

Low point: The temperature of the bulgogi and the hot dog just wasn't hot or steamy enough. That probably would have led to a more flavorful experience.

Overall impression: I say "no regrets," but I don't think I'd rush back and get a Bulgogi hot dog too soon again. It still seems like a bit too much. But I do like that they offer up chicken items and a variety of sausages for non-bulgogi fans.

Most importantly, though, I gotta take issue with the name of the joint. Apparently New York Hot Dog & Coffee actually originated in South Korea, where the name makes sense -- they're trying to add a little New York hot dog culture to a society that doesn't see that every day. Of course, moving it to the actual New York, it just sounds kinda generic. The name doesn't do it justice, but I guess visiting Koreans will be familiar with the name and logo..

Chance we'll go back: Once you've tried it, you've tried it. We'd probably hit a different unique NY eatery next time.

For a complete list of our more than 200 restaurant reviews, check out our companion Rate-A-Restaurant website.

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