Speed's Hot Dogs 4/16
I finally tried Speed's hot dog truck today, figuring the nice weather would guarantee that the cart would be there. It was there!
Overall it was....just decent. Not amazing, not totally disappointing, just fine. Sorry! I'm glad I finally had the GREATEST HOT DOG IN THE US OF A (tinyurl.com/3n8llk), but for me it is not worth a repeat visit. My three complaints: (1) way too sweet for my tastes; (2) too expensive for what it is (I know it's GIANT, but $7 is too much for me to spend on a hot dog--I'd rather drink my lunch for that much, hehe); (3) consistency was weird--not quite hot dog, not quite sausage, sort of like tamago? (egg/omelet sushi).
Frankly (har har) I like the dogs at Spike's Junkyard Dogs more, and those are much easier (and cheaper) for me to get, so I'll stick to them. I'm always up for a food-related adventure, though, and I do thank Chowhound for supplying lots and lots of very accurate info!
Speaking of: for anyone who is put off by the difficulty of getting to/finding Speed's, don't be. I was expecting a 40 days 40 nights in the desert scenario, but it was actually quite simple to get there (if not particularly scenic). From Copley I took the bus and walked; it was 30min. or so each way, and was exactly where Chowhound said it would be (thanks again guys!).
Speed's Hotdog Wagon
54 Newmarket Square, Boston, MA 02118
re: C. Hamster
I took the #10, which runs between the Fairmont Copley Plaza and the "entrance" of Newmarket Square. On the way there I made the much less convenient trek of taking the #1 bus to the corner of Mass Ave. and Albany, then walking down Mass Ave. through snarled traffic and sketchy auto body shops to that same "entrance" to Newmarket.
Everyone is being so nice! I was hoping someone would tear me down the middle like Speed's selfsame dog for my unrefined hotdog palate....OK kidding.
I think everyone's being nice because although you're taking on a sacred cow, you're doing it respectfully and specifically.
Although I personally disagree with all three of your points (I like the sweetness, although omitting the BBQ sauce would cut it down; I think that although $7 isn't cheap, it is very good value considering the size and quality; as almansa says below, the Pearl consistency isn't for everyone, but it's definitely for me), I totally understand them.
Like a lot of posters (and, I imagine, lurkers) here, I actually wish there were more disagreement on the board. There's a really interesting active thread going on about this on the Site Talk board:
Side note: I was at Speed's today too, for a late lunch. Were you, by any chance, the guy who snapped the camera phone shot of the "menu"?
Finlero, the dude you mentioned wasn't me; I was there around 12:30-1pm, sans cameraphone.
I definitely agree with Bob Dobalina about the "Brigadoon" factor of Speed's (another thread on Speed's called it "Foodtruckadoon"). For me, knowing about and getting to a "hidden" place--or embracing its idiosyncrasies--has often caused me to loosen my otherwise (to my mind) take-no-prisoners standards a little. I feel this way more about bars than restaurants, and for the life of me I can't remember a specific food instance right now, but maybe input from others will jog my memory....
You are a brave hound.
Just kidding ... I'm glad you tried it, and I really respect the post with the "meh" review... I think it's an amazing dog but I really appreciate that you are willing to swim against the grain -- we can get into group-think sometimes.
So thanks for posting that. Sincerely.
I also tip my cap to your brave review.
I get your view completely, especially the texture/consistency angle.
I do believe the price is fair and the sweetness (imbued by the marinade of apple juice and brown sugar) is a perfect foil to the savory toppings - the 'special' sauce, mustard, onions, and chili.
That said, Speed Dog's unusual consistency stems from its massive size, slow cooking, and sub-like roll, which is much different than the traditional New England style bun. It really is a different feel on the tongue than the 'snap' dog (natural casing), which is what you will find at Spikes, Sully's, etc.
I happen to be a huge fan of the NC dog, Kayem's in particular (Kayem's Old Tyme snap dog meets my definition of perfect dog), so you're making sense to me.
The beauty of it all is the hot dog variety that is available to the CH community.
I'll add that Pearl Kountry Klub franks are not cheap, and not everybody likes them. I do. A lot. But at the Northeast Foodservice and Lodging show recently, I had the chance to taste all beef franks from Brandt Beef. They don't exist for the public yet, but they will soon. Man o' man, whatta dog! They're free of added nitrites/ates and are actually smoked in a smokehouse. Maybe could have used a tad more garlic, but I was okay with it. Best dog I've ever had, but when they finally get here, they will be expensive.
After the WSJ article and the inevitable Chowhound gushing that followed I also headed out to Speed's to try his hot dog and was disappointed. I totally agree with everything you say mbtabus69 although I wouldn't stretch as far as saying Spike's are better (perhaps I'm forever tainted after winning an eating contest there of 6 dogs in 20 mins).
For a $7 dog and the supposed best in the country it's really not all that. The Pearl sausage is good (it was Knockwurst when I went) but importantly it's not unique - you could make it yourself at your own BBQ and All Star Sandwich bar do the same dog I think for cheaper.
I'll stick to the $1 Fenway's at Lower Depths and the totally overlooked hotdog at UBurger which hits every note perfectly.