Drunk minds think alike, or at least so it seems. After an evening of serious drinking you don’t often find yourself in an establishment surrounded by sober folks. Drunks do as other drunks do and flock to certain types of food dispensing institutions. Most often these institutions have a few things in common. They’re cheap. They’re pumping out easy to manage handheld fare (a very important feature when your hand eye coordination is impaired). And they’re often casual to the point of being downright dive-y. If I stopped this post now I would have summed up Crif Dogs rather well.
Crif Dogs has two locations in NYC and both are situated in prime spots for those hordes of drunk minds thinking alike; Williamsburg, Brooklyn and St. Mark’s Place in the East Village. Location, location, location.
We moseyed (stumbled, whatever) into Crif Dogs mid-way through a night out in Williamsburg. There we found our people. Happy, laughing, inebriated, hungry people. We perused the rather long menu of hot dog creations and realized that perhaps the owners were themselves a few sheets to the wind when they put together these dog combinations.
Ever want a hot dog that tastes like an everything bagel, complete with a cream cheese schmear? You’re in luck. Just order the jon-jon deragon. Perhaps you’re craving breakfast food but you’ve found yourself at a hot dog establishment. No problem. They’ve got you covered. Order the good morning and you get your dog wrapped in bacon, covered in cheese and adorned with a fried egg. Problem solved. The two dogs that caught our eye were the garden state (a little bit of home for this Jersey girl) and the tsunami. We placed our order with the very nice girl at the counter and waited for our order. While we hung out Nick repeated the word tsunami as he had heard George Takei say it on a Howard Stern rerun. “You pronounce the t” he said over and over. I laughed loudly. Crif dogs is the type of place where you can do that at 1am and people seem to embrace it.
In no time flat our dogs were up and we dug in hungrily.
Nick’s tsunami was a house dog wrapped in bacon topped with teriyaki, pineapple and green onions. He like the interplay between sweet and savory. Overall he gave it two thumbs up.
My garden state was a little less on the light side and a little more on the blow up your stomach lining side. I, however, threw caution to the wind and dove in. My dog was wrapped in Taylor ham, aka pork roll, a Jersey staple. Then it was buried under a mound of chopped pepperoncini, good ‘ol American cheese and mustard. Tasty it was. Healthy it wasn’t.
A good number of people were raving about the tater tots and the girl at a neighboring table (btw…we were sitting at a table that was made out of an old video game) generously gave me some of her untouched tots due to her over order. Tots ARE a great addition to any hot dog laden, after hours feast.
We could have ordered a few beers (all under $3) but instead chose to re-hydrate via the help yourself jug ‘o water in the back of the store.
The menu also featured sides like fries, slaw, chili and “beans”. I’m assuming they’re of the baked variety but I didn’t order them.
We left crif dogs satiated and for just a few bucks which was exactly what we had hoped to accomplish that evening. My garden state, as yummy as it was, might not have been the best choice in retrospect as it haunted me throughout the evening. Perhaps next time I’ll take the route of ordering a plain Crif Dog and topping it with less painful items. Although if history has taught us anything it’s that humans don’t tend to make the best decisions when bar hopping, and so, I fully expect myself to stupidly order something like the spicy redneck upon my return. Silly, silly me.
Crif Dogs is open ‘till 4am on Friday and Saturday nights, 2am the rest of the week.
Both locations have some seating but the good thing about a hot dog joint is that even when you’re not in full control of your faculties you can handle standing and eating meat in tube form on a bun.
They have an all-beef dog for those of you who don’t dine on swine. Their Crif is pork and beef, smoked and then deep fried like god intended. They also have a veggie dog.