Thursday, May 10, 2012

Station Street Hot Dogs. Pittsburgh, PA.

In-between napping and procrastinating packing-up my apartment for another move I heard about a new hot dog restaurant in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Normally I go out of my way to avoid that part of town since it’s filled with hipsters and douchbags, once I heard that this encased meat emporium was the brainchild of Kevin Sousa, my favorite local chef I knew I had to check it out.

However I didn’t want to do it alone. So I opened my phone and went down my list to see if any of my buddies wanted to embark on this adventure with me. With every call I got excuse after excuse like, “I’m visiting my dad in the hospital,” or “Dude, I’m too hung-over to eat.”

After realizing none of my buddies had their priorities straight I decided to go solo. So I hopped in my car. Put the address into my trusty GPS and headed out to hipster central. When I pulled into the parking lot I was extremely happy. The place looked like a dump. Instead of taking the shell of hot dog stand that had graced the neighborhood since 1915 and turning it into something fancy it appeared they kept the structure and dining area intact from it’s last renovation, which if I had to guess was in 1970 something. They even kept the original logo, which I think adds to the charm and awesomeness of the place.

While standing line my stomach was growling loudly. It was my body’s way of letting the three indecisive girls standing in front of me know that I was hungry and couldn’t wait for them to decide what kind of dogs they wanted. As they blankly stared at the menu and asked the guy behind the counter what each item on the menu tasted like. As he tried to describe each one I got even hungrier. At the moment I was about to Hulk out, jump behind the counter and make my own they reached a decision, three plain dogs. How adventurous.

Now that they were done I stood at the elusive front of the line. The guy behind the counter asked me what I wanted. Now I consider myself an expert at this. I should know what I want before hitting the road. Not this time. This time I caught a case of indecision. As I blankly stared at the menu I could hear the stomach growling of the person behind me. I didn’t want to feel his rage so I placed my order. Since I was possessed by hunger I’m going to admit that I went a little overboard. Here’s what I got:

One Chili Cheese Dog
One Banh Mi Dog
One Kimchi Dog
One order of duck fat fries
One Diet Coke

After placing my gluttonous order I grabbed a seat at the counter and waited. I glanced at all the other customers enjoying their food and couldn’t wait to be one of them. Five minutes later they brought me my tray and I started digging in.

I started with the chili cheese dog. I was kind of expecting a regular old hot dog with onions, chili sauce and cheese sauce. Station Street exceeded that. The dog was 100% beef with natural casing, covered with onions, arsenal cheese curds and homemade smoked briscut chili. Growing up in Detroit I thought nothing could beat a Coney Dog from All-American Coney. I was wrong. This was the best chili cheese dog that I’ve ever had. As I finished the last bite I was wishing I ordered three of these delicacies but I had to move onto the next one.

I’m going to make a startling admission here, up until 2009 I never had Vietnamese food. I never knew the joy of pho or a bahn mi until I moved to Seattle. The moment I had them they became a regular staple of my piss poor diet. After leaving Seattle for Pittsburgh I’ve had to endure sub-standard Vietnamese fare. For the last ten months I’ve been searching for the best bahn mi in the steel city. I had no idea that I’d find it at gourmet hot dog joint.

The Bahn Mi Dog consists of a beef dog, pork liver, pickled cucumber, pickled red onion, jalapeno, sweet chili and cilantro. The first bite had a kick. Sweat started pouring down my brow. I didn’t know if I could handle the heat. Each bite was more intense than the last. My mouth was on fire. I was almost out of Diet Coke. I really wanted to walk to the counter and get a refill; if I did that this dog would win. I couldn’t let that happen so I chomped away until Bahn Mi dog was distant memory.

If they didn’t go overboard on the spices this would be one of the best hot dogs I’ve ever tasted.

After getting a refill I walked back and saw the Kimchi Dog staring me in the face. I didn’t know if I could handle another spicy dog. I wanted to give-up. But I couldn’t. I had to devour this baby.

The Kimchi Dog is made of 100% beef, kimchi, kewpie mayo, nori and bonito. I was expecting it to have more of a kick, but it had more sweet than spice. A very pleasant and delicious surprise.

After finishing it I took a look at my duck fat fries and grabbed a few. After stuffing them into my mouth I realized I had enough. I couldn’t go on, the food had beaten me into submission. I needed a nap.

Station Square is the best hot dog joint in Pittsburgh. They only serve 100% beef dogs that have that snap with almost every bite. Since they’re located where hipsters congregate they do have a veggie option. If you find yourself in the burgh for any reason you need to get your ass in here immediately. 

Penned by none other than THE SCHNEIDS.