I have been a fan of this hot dog –selling-hole-in-the-wall for almost a year now. Ever since I had one at the Christmas Fair in Columbus Circle last winter, I was hooked. October 6th was Crif Dogs’ 10th anniversary and to celebrate, they were selling all their hot dogs for only $1. The moment I heard this, I knew I had to be there. So after classes, the boyfriend, a friend and I headed down to Crif Dogs, nestled in the heart of the East Village. If you aren’t making a point to find them, they’re pretty hard to locate. But their bacon-wrapped hot dogs are definitely worth the trip.
As we entered the store, we were enveloped in balloons. They had let balloons float along the ceiling, covering it up entirely. We quickly spotted an open table and sat down to contemplate which of their 17 signature hot dogs we wanted to eat. Our table wasn’t actually a table though. It was an old Donkey Kong video game with chairs pulled up next to it. Next to my seat was another old video game console. Its usability was very questionable though.
Visible from my seat was the bar that’s hidden behind the sliding doors along one wall. Most people don’t realize that behind the doors is a bar and most people I tell don’t believe me. But the location used to be a speakeasy at one point, so the hidden bar isn’t too far-fetched an idea.
But enough about the décor, let’s move onto the hot dogs. In a crazy attempt to try as many as I could, I ordered three hot dogs. My first hot dog was their Garden State hot dog. This hot dog consisted of a Taylor ham wrapped hot dog with chopped pepperoncini, a slice of American cheese and special mustard. This was one of my favorite hot dogs of the day. The special mustard was tangy and added so much flavor to the hot dog. The pepperoncini was a bit spicy, but not overly so. Combined with ketchup, this hot dog was flavorful and savory.
My second dog was their Philly Tubesteak, which consisted of a bacon wrapped hot dog that is covered in cheese and sautéed onions. The first bite was very delicious. But by the time I got to the third and fourth bite, the onions became overbearing. There were just too many onions for one tiny hot dog. I had to start picking the onions off of the hot dog halfway through. This might’ve been my least favorite hot dog of the day, despite the fact that I had high expectations for this dog.
My third hot dog was simply their bacon wrapped hot dog covered in nacho cheese. I have always loved this hot dog because it is simple and tasty at the same time. The nacho cheese gives the hot dog a very cheesy favor that is throughout the entire hot dog. There was not an empty spot on that hot dog. Every time I pay Crif Dogs a visit, I always get this hot dog because it is just that good.
The boyfriend ordered just about the same things I did, except for one that stood out – the Spicy Redneck hot dog. This hot dog features a bacon wrapped hot dog with chili, coleslaw, and jalapenos. This hot dog might have tied with the Garden State hot dog that I had, but it didn’t because I only had a few bites. I know that I am definitely ordering this hot dog the next time I go because it was phenomenal. The combination of the chili, which was not spicy at all, and the coleslaw- covering made each mouthful a burst of flavor. Their Spicy Redneck came at the recommendation of the cashier and he definitely gave us the right advice. Please give this hot dog a try if you do visit. It’ll be worth it, I promise!