Everyone loves a good hotdog, it was one of my favourite items to eat at the Easter Show when growing up. Standard, red looking sausage, containing little goodness and a lot of crap, on a plain roll, with yellow mustard and tomato sauce (ketchup for our Yankee neighbours. If you got cheese it was a bonus. You can still buy all the ingredients in your supermarket and cook them at home by boiling those weiners aka sausage-like things. In the U.S.A. hotdogs are synonymous with baseball matches and the streets of NY and certain other states have mobile hotdog stalls everywhere. Some would say the hotdog has become an American institution. Well one Sydney venue, known as THE HOTDOG MAN, in Manly has taken the gourmet approach and is aiming high with the funky gourmet store on the Corso.
The famous hotdog is centuries old and is first spoken of around the 13th century. The dog part actually came from not a happy tale, back in the day accusations were made the traditional sausage was in fact being filled with dog meat as opposed to the pork meat it was traditionally meant to be made of. But, while this makes us cringe, it was not actually uncommon for dog to be consumed back in the day. The name appeared to have stuck throught time as it sounded more marketable in recent years than the “Frankfurt” or the “Weiner.”
Around 1870, on Coney Island, German immigrant Charles Feltman began selling sausages in rolls but after this, in the US, things get into debates as to who claims the ownership. One man, Feuchtwanger, suposedly sold hot dogs on the streets of St. Louis, Missouri, and provided gloves to his customers so that they could handle the sausages without burning their hands. Losing money when customers did not return the gloves, Feuchtwanger’s wife suggested serving the food in a roll instead. GENIUS.
Now the folks at THE HOTDOG MAN are selling gourmet sausages sourced through local charcutiers, using traditional ingredients and techniques. All the sausages are gluten and preservative free. They have frankfurters, kranskys, bratwurst, chorizo, vegetarian dogs, one called a merguez (I have never heard of but discovered is a North African spicy mutton or beef sausage) and they also have a Wagyu beef sausage. The menu is impressive, damn impressive, they are also embracing soups for winter, do hamburgers, and their potatoes are Potato Royales, I will be visiting again purely for the Truffled Pecorino Royales – can’t believe I missed them!!! I had the standard royales and they were passable chips in a different shape, with a superb crunch and nice soft centre, the way they should be!
I ate the Cheese Kransky with Beetroot Mayo & Crispy Fried Onions ($10) and I have to say I was impressed, mostly with the sausage and the beetroot mayo. The sausage was moist and packed with flavour and the taste combination was something I would eat again. On the dog scale it was in the top 20% percentile of my 42yrs of dogsumption. I desperately wanted the Wagyu Beef with Pickled Slaw, Kimchi Mayo, Crispy Fried Onions ($10.50) because who doesn’t want anything that comes with Kimchi Mayo – sadly they had run out – I will be returning.
The venue is superb, nice crisp clean tiles, a staff member who was regularly cleaning and mopping because of rain, she warned people about entering and I generally felt pride and good staffing were present, this means a lot, it is a “kind-of” fast food place but up a notch and it was great to see mature people serving, it separates from other fast food joints.
But my issues are a small few. Additive options are not present. I wanted mustard on top of mine, but nope, not a bottle of it anywhere, also not a bottle of sauce of any kind. These are hotdogs and I wasn’t stoked at being told exactly how I have to eat my hotdog. the flavours were great, but to me it’s not a dog without mustard. Which brings me to my combined next gripe, these are gourmet sausages and they are impressive, but buns are not. I could be wrong, but from my impression and what I could garner from employees, nothing is actually made onsite, they assemble but everything comes in from other suppliers. With superb gourmet sausages coming in why not a variety of gourmet rolls/buns. These are “freshly” baked white rolls, but while a little fluffier and a tad fuller, they look like the ones from next door at Coles. I thought my Cheese Kransky would have benefited from a crusty roll.
And to top it off why not some gourmet mustard, ketchups and pickles that people can add themselves, some people may even like some chilli sauce and so on.
I enjoyed this venue as it is on the right track – I do like that you can also buy the sausages uncooked and take them home yourself. The venue is not perfect yet but it is heading in that direction and its premise is spot on. As they are open late into the weekend nights these will also make a great late night drunken stumble home meals to compete with pizza and pies for the Manly revelers. Just give me, oh – I mean them, some more options.
History and facts provided from Wikipedia.
This meal was independently paid for by reviewer.