Haute Dog & Fries Serves Gourmet Wieners
Hamurgers and hot dogs are the great American foods to the rest of the world. No matter where you are in the area, you are just steps away from a great burger – Five Guys, Shake Shack, Bolt Burger, Smash Burger, Z-Burger, BGR, Good Stuff Eatery, Bobby’s Burger Place, Ray’s Hell Burger, Burger Tap & Shake, Elevation Burger, Plan B Burger, Bareburger…the list goes on and on.
But if you want a hot dog, about your only choice is the cart on the corner with dogs swimming in hot water and soggy buns now that the Matchbox Food Group closed DC-3 on Barracks Row. Sure, many have tried to serve an elevated wiener like Chi-DogO on 14th Street NW that only lasted a year. Or Amsterdam Falafelshop’s M’Dawg Haute Dogs that opened in 2007 but didn’t last two years in Adams Morgan.
But there is the tiny Haute Dogs & Fries restaurant serving gourmet dogs at 610 Montgomery St., Alexandria, a few blocks from the Braddock Road Metro station. Owned by Lionel Holmes and Pamela Swanson, the original Haute Dogs was in Purcellville, but it closed last year after the owners failed to reach an agreement to renew their lease. Customers will only pay so much for a hot dog. They also have a stand in Section 106 at Nationals Park.
Inside the long, skinny restaurant there might be seating for 30. There’s an old Ms. Pac Man machine in the back that still works, and the walls are line with photos of four-legged dogs.
Instead of the usual squishy buns, Haute Dogs uses top-split, New England-style buns from Ottenberg’s Bakery that are delivered daily. They are the kind that lobster rolls usually come on – squared off sides that they butter and toast. The buns make a strong first impression. It’s the first thing you taste before sinking your teeth in the all-beef frank from Purcellville’s Fields of Athenry Farm. Dogs come in chicken or veggie too and gluten-free buns are also available.
Sure, there’s the classics, but be adventurous. For $10.50, you can try any two dogs and a soda. I ordered the Coney Island and the Chicago-style dogs along with a side of hand-cut Idaho fries.
The Coney Island with its meat sauce, chopped onions, yellow mustard and celery salt took me back to the local hot dog shop we used to visit growing up. The meat sauce was finely ground and perfectly seasoned, and the finely-chopped onions covered the top. The Chicago-style dog came with tomato, pickle, chopped onions, sweet relish, banana peppers, yellow mustard and celery salt. Although the bun was missing the poppy seeds and the pepper rings weren’t quite right, I still chowed it down.
Other gourmet dogs you can try include the signature Haute Dog with house-made warm onion relish, yellow mustard, mayonnaise and celery salt; the N.Y. Ruben with grilled sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and brown mustard; the Fenway Dog with ketchup, sweet relish, yellow mustard and chopped onions; the Banh Mi with Sriracha mayo, carrots, cucumber, jalapenos and cilantro; the Duck, Duck, Dog with hoisin sauce, scallions and cucumbers; and the Chi Wee Wee with black beans, tomatoes, sour cream and chopped onions, to name a few.
If none of those sound to your liking, don’t worry. Haute Dogs has 20 different toppings and you can create your own — even rainbow sprinkles!
And if hot dogs aren’t your thing, there are local sausages from Loudon County including German, spicy Italian, lamb, kielbasa and a Tex-Mex beef bratwurst. If you’d rather go in a completely different direction, there’s also a New England-style lobster roll, fish and chips, cheeseburger sliders, lamb sliders, cheese or load nachos and The Snooki, a fried pickle, coleslaw and Sriracha mayo served in a bun.
In addition to fries, there are sweet potato fries, house-made mac and cheese, chili mac, tater tots, coleslaw, fried pickles and house-made baked beans. For dessert, there is ice cream from Gifford’s Ice Cream and Trickling Springs hand-dipped or in shakes, as well as brownies. Or try the Eskimo Dog, a brown sugar cinnamon toasted bun topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate and caramel. Craft and domestic beers are on tap and in bottles.
Haute Dog & Fries is open from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Sunday.