Japadog Arrives in NYC!
I was thrilled to find out recently that legendary Vancouver hot dog cart Japadog just arrived with a store in NYC! Japanese toppings on a hot dog? What more could a toppings junkie like me ask for!
Japadog is located in the middle of St. Mark’s Place, where teenagers, NYU students, and tourists come for tattoos, cheap goods, and, apparently, to eat at a ton of Japanese restaurants. I never realized that this one-time mecca of punks and freaks had become a haven for sushi and noodle joints. There might be a couple of Vietnamese and Korean eateries also, and I know there’s an Afghani restaurant there as well. Japadog fits right in to the colorful craziness of the street. I walked up and started to take a picture and told the guy in orange handing out fliers that I was glad they came to NY. The guy behind him in the photo laughed out loud, and I’m not exactly sure why.
I tried doing some reconnaissance beforehand to figure out what I would order. The website lists their entire menu but not all the dogs are available at every location. I ended up ordering a Terimayo and a Croquette, with a side of wasabi fries!
I was very excited about this stand and had to give Mike the play-by-play, complete with photos. I sat at a counter with my food and checked out the massive Japadog timeline on the wall in front of me. It told the story of how the cart basically started with one person in Vancouver and how it became a sensation, to the point where their hands getting numb from serving so many dogs. There are photos on the timeline of people like Ice Cube and other celebrities ordering up. When I got my food, I actually started with the wasabi fries first. When you order fries you can get one of a variety of spices or powders to get mixed in. If you check out the menu, you can get anything from seaweed to teriyaki to black pepper.
To me, there’s nothing better than getting your french fries served up in a paper bag with translucent grease spots. The fries were skinny and actually reminded me of McDonalds, but with the added amazing powdered wasabi. It added flavor and the awesome punch to the head that you get from horseradish. The wasabi mayo dipping sauce actually helped cool down the bite of the powder. I could have just eaten a bag of these and be happy. But I was also here for these crazy ass hot dogs.
One of things you notice about the dogs is that they are given several slices that go way beyond a simple scoring. Maybe it helps the juices come out and baste the rest of the dog? I’m not sure, and I’ve never really seen it done anywhere else. The Croquette is pretty self-explanatory as far as toppings go. It’s fried mashed potato, possibly coated with panko crumbs, and given a squirt of some sweet sauce, maybe teriyaki. The dog itself is called an Arabiki sausage, which they describe as being made from coarse ground pork. I wouldn’t say it was my favorite kind of sausage, a little too mild for my taste. Most of the flavor on this sandwich came from the fried portion of the croquette, and the bun, which was very sturdy, grilled, and possibly basted with butter.
I liked the Terimayo very much. I thought the name was probably some cool Japanese word, but it basically just stands for teriyaki and mayo, the two sauces on this dog. The other toppings were grilled onions and the obvious thin strips of seaweed. The dog itself was also an all-beef dog, and had much more flavor than the arabiki. I was a bit hesitant about the seaweed, and kept smelling it when I was eating my other food. I thought it might be a mistake, but was actually surprised that the flavor was not overpowering at all. The real champions of this dog are the teriyaki/japanese mayo mix with the grilled onions. My eyes and tastebuds are completely open to this new sauce mix on a dog. The seaweed ended up being a lot milder than I originally thought and worked well. The Terimayo is their signature dog and is available at all the locations.
I’m very glad to see another hot dog stand come to NYC. I think their business will do well, especially since they scored a great location on St. Marks. There have been at least four closings off the top of my head that I can think of: Willie’s Dawgs, Hot Diggity Dog, NY Hot Dog & Coffee, and Superdog (which I never got to go to). I hope that these friendly guys will achieve success here!
Japadog 30 St. Marks Place, NYC NY