66 Kenmare St (Mott St)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 226-8861
Hours: Monday–Wednesday 11AM–11PM Thursday–Saturday 11AM–Midnight Sunday Noon–11PM
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Cuisine: Hot Dogs
It seems you can take the weiner out of Congress, but you can’t (or shouldn’t) take it out of the flea market. AsiaDog, makers of traditional franks dressed with a variety of gourmet selections, such as Japanese curry and homemade kimchi, Asian sesame slaw, or spicy ketchup and crushed salt and pepper potato chips, have become the talked about favorite of Brooklyn Flea customers, where owners Steve Porto and Melanie Campbell got their start. By 2009, they were also firing up a grill once a week at Trophy Bar in South Williamsburg. Word spread quickly about the duo’s colorful, mouth-watering treats.
But while AsiaDogs are seemingly great as a new take on an old favorite, the concept falls a little short as a stand-alone restaurant. The taste combinations are delightful and inventive, but the franks themselves are mediocre and the buns don’t stand up well under the weight of all the festive toppings. And at $8 for two without a beverage, we were expecting a little more from the experience. (AsiaDogs come in three varieties: organic beef, beef, chicken, or vegetarian, all of which may be outfitted with a series of eight suggested topping combinations.)
It’s easy to understand the attraction AsiaDog has created. When was the last time you tasted such a complex take on a simple American classic? We tried the “Sidney,” a beef dog trapped under a concert of Thai mango salsa, fresh cilantro, and a handful of finely chopped peanuts as well as the “Wangding,” which pays homage to the city’s new love affair with Korean BBQ with bits of pork drenched in hoisen and honey and plenty of scallions for added flavor. Both were delicious, but nestled under the toppings were the same typical dogs on typical buns that you could have had from any typical street vendor. AsiaDog might be a wonderful surprise at a flea market or other outdoor event for a quick fix, but unless Porto and Campbell up the ante by making their own franks, re-imposing the grilling method, and/or exchanging those budget buns for something more substantive, we’ll save our AsiaDog eating only for the great outdoors.
Review By: Joann Jovinelly