Thursday, July 12, 2012

DC-3

423 8th St. SE
Washington, DC 20003
202.546.1935
www.eatdc3.com
DC-3 on Urbanspoon

Who has two thumbs and has always been a fan of a good hot dog?  This guy.  When I lived in NYC, I loved the fact that you could get a good hot dog on any corner of the city and let's not even mention that there isn't a better late night food place than Crif Dogs (Temptee Dog, it will change your life).  So, of course, this guy couldn't wait to try out DC-3 which is just a block away from Ted's Bulletin and owned by the same people.  I guess pretty soon they're going to own the whole block down there by the Navy Yard.  But, even I can't eat 10 hot dogs in one seating so I decided to pay multiple visits to DC-3 over the span of a week so I could try as many dogs as possible.


First things, first.  They serve PBR.  PBR Tall Boys.  I probably should just stop writing now.  They had me at Pabst.  Someone once told me that PBR is water with a little beer added.  That may be true but that doesn't mean it's not fantastic.  Yes, once again, they serve PBR.

The first dog I tackled was the NY Coney which is an all-beef dog with chili, onions and yellow mustard.  I thought it fitting to start off with a straight up American classic.  The dog was grilled just right up to the point where there's a little charring and the skin gets crinkly.  The chili was milder than I expected but still plentiful and sweet but not enough to hide the dog.

Next up was the DC Hot Half Smoke which is a grilled pork & beef dog cut in half with relish, onions, and mustard.  Son, it just got real.  This dog packed a ton of heat.  Even though the title warns you, I didn't quite expect it and had to pause to take a few gulps of PBR.  No, it wasn't just an excuse to drink PBR (like I need one) but there is some real spice in the Half Smoke.  While I enjoyed it, I felt myself needing to douse my mouth long after I had finished the dog.

What?  Take bacon and wrap it around a hot dog?  That would never taste good.  Yeah.  No.  The next dog I tried out was the Jersey Bacon-Wrapped Ripper.  This was a dog with jalapeno relish and deli mustard.  Wrapping bacon around a hot dog is as close to a sure thing as you can get so I don't have much to say about the dog itself since I've said about four times that it was wrapped in bacon!  What I did learn is that I really enjoyed the extra kick from the deli mustard.  Something about it's additional sharpness and heat versus regular mustard just appeals to me more.

The Rochester White Snappy Griller comes from a deli named Zweigle's in Rochester, NY that's been around since 1880 and according to their web site they make their dogs in "strict adherence to 'Old World' recipes and techniques".  It looks like when they old world, they mean Germany and hence that the snappy griller is closer in taste to German sausage then a hot dog.  It's in a natural casing so it's got a rather white exterior that's a bit off-putting and comes with one lone strand of mustard.  The flavor, though, is exact and really comes through.  I also think I learned that I like the open top buns better with this dog with a nice toasting on the actually bread part and not the crust.

When I was a kid, we used to make this long ass drive from Toronto to North Carolina about twice a year to visit my aunt and uncle.  Right about when we heat Virginia, we'd stop to get gas at the same place with a little tiny roadside diner called Country Kitchen and we would always get their corn dogs.  It was the highlight of the drive and the corn dogs were amazing so I had high hopes for the Old Fashioned Corn Dog at DC-3.  Yeah, I know it's tough to compete with a cherished childhood memory but this corn dog did a great job.  The batter formed a thick coating, wasn't overloaded with grease and gave off a great corn flavor.  However, it did not overshadow the dog.

On my last visit to DC-3, I went a bit unconventional and started with Chef E's Italian Sausage.  This is your classic spicy Italian sausage with grilled peppers and onions.  The kind you'd get after drinking at Spring Lounge for five hours then walking down Mulberry Street during the San Gennaro festival.  Actually, it was a bit better but still evoked the right memory of every street fair that I've ever been to.  The peppers and onions were steaming hot adding sweetness to the sausage which had just the right amount of heat.

I had my doubts about the next "dog".  It was more like a deep fried fish stick shaped like a hot dog with coleslaw, malt vinegar and a lemon served on a toasted deli bun.  The Seattle Pike Place Ultimate Fish Dog is just a good solid classic fish sandwich.  The batter was nice and crispy but a bit on the heavy side.  The fish inside came out flaky and hot.

I finished off my experience at DC-3 with a NYC Street Vendor Dog. It's exactly what it says, a grilled dog with a steamed bun with regular yellow mustard and sauerkraut.   Every time I got on off the street, I only added ketchup and mustard but never sauerkraut.  Yeah, I know, what's wrong with me?  This dog was a pretty authentic replica of what I remember off the streets of NYC which taught me a few things about my tastes.  I liked the dog, mustard and sauerkraut in general but I think I really do prefer a little toast on the buns for a bit more texture.  The soft steamed bun just wasn't doing it for me.  Sorry street vendor guys.

After I was done, I had a few takeaways from this experience.  The first was that I left a ton of types of hot dogs on the table still like the Chicago 7 which looked like it had everything on it and the Bay Bridge Dog which had Old Bay seasoning.  The second thing was that I ate a metric f*ck ton of hot dogs over the whole week and that wasn't something I wanted to repeat anytime soon so those other types of dogs will have to wait.  The third is that DC-3 had me at PBR tall boys.  No, seriously, they did.  But, even if they didn't have PBR, the dogs were pretty solid all the way around.  There was enough of a variation from each of the ones I tried whether it was in the type of dog or in the toppings that didn't make me think I was eating the same thing over and over again.  I'm still holding out hope that they include a dog with cream cheese but for now, if I'm craving a hot dog and I'm not in NYC, I know I can find something at DC-3 that will satisfy that craving.

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