Oh boy, there are so many reasons not to go to Dat Dog.
Thousands of them.
As in the thousands of calories that descend upon you, reducing you to a Rip Van Winkle stupor upon leaving and Amish-style shunning of the bathroom scale for days afterward.
And that is why it is with just a bit of guilt I tell you that if you’ve not been to Dat Dog, you must go.
I’ll admit it; we’re late to the game. The homage to all things dog has been open on Freret for more than a year now. They’ve already outgrown their launch location and moved across the street to a repurposed garage. We don’t eat a lot of hot dogs, and we don’t cherish any misguided illusions about how healthy they are, so whenever we discussed Dat Dog we just ended up somewhere else, until last week.
Let me tell you, that was a mistake, because calories aside I can’t find anything wrong with this place.
It’s counter-service inside the space that very purposely retains an industrial feel well seasoned with several tablespoons of funky. Corrugated metal fronts the order area and bar, accented by bright colors. Chalkboards enumerate the details of the sausage wonderland you’ve just entered. Tables are scattered inside and augmented by a bunch of picnic benches outside.
Waiting to place your order is an opportunity to contemplate enough choices to warrant a flowchart. You pick from perhaps a dozen or so dogs, everything from the humble frankfurter to more exotic cousins like duck sausage. Sheree picked a smoked bratwurst and I opted for a hot sausage (from Kennah, brah). And then there are the condiments: everything you’ve ever put on a dog and plenty I’m pretty sure you haven’t. Andouille sauce (one of my choices), hummus, and more middle-of-the-road toppings like cheese, onions, jalapenos, etc. Or you can be brave as Sheree was and just pick your sausage and allow it to be topped as the proprietors see fit. A very nice touch is the pricing structure: Your dog is flat-priced based on the sausage ordered, eliminating the need for any tedious cost-benefit analysis of the satisfaction ROI for adding chili AND cheese, for example.
And there are fries. Massive boats of fries. As we waited to order we observed an aircraft carrier sized portion of chili cheese fries that looked like the mother of all guilty pleasures. Not ready to careen quite that far off the cliff, we opted for the naked pomme frites, still evidence of a substantial potato massacre but modest enough to make us feel positively virtuous when we contemplated what we could’ve ordered. The two dogs and the fries set us back a very reasonable eighteen bucks. Well, until we got to the bar.
Did I mention they have a bar? Oh yes, these are very bad men.
As if sausage nirvana were not enough, you can exit stage right after placing your food order and contemplate a selection of draft and bottled beer as well as wines by the glass and bottle. The wine list is the only thing in Dat Dog that might fairly be described as svelte, but it is more than adequate and a nice touch.
The dogs and fries were terrific, leaving us wanting to explore the menu further (once we hit the gym a little).
This place is just fun. That is clearly what Dat Dog swung for, and they hit it out of the park. An ideal place for a group to gather and perfect to take a swarm of kids. And it might have just retired the award for best hangover destination in New Orleans. Galatoire’s should hand out laminated directions so you know exactly where to go the day after a Friday lunch.
Dat Dog opens at 11am Monday through Saturday and at noon on Sunday. No, you can’t eat here every day, but you need to get some every now and then. One of the best casual concepts in the city and yet another star in the growing Freret constellation. Don’t miss it.