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Crif Dogs - awesome

Lau Jun 21, 2008 04:36 PM

So this is pretty filthy, i hit up crif dogs after eating at kamui den (actually went drinking in between and we were going home and one of my friends wanted to hit crif dogs)...i can't believe i ate that much. Anyhow, I haven't eaten there is ages and wow it was great.

- Chili dog - great deep fried hot dog with chili on it, pretty self explanatory and pretty great
- Cheese tater tots - again pretty self-explanatory and really awesome

this place doesn't need much of an explanation b/c its a hot dog place, but its awesome and you should try it if you haven't been before.

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  1. r
    rschwim RE: Lau Jun 21, 2008 10:08 PM

    Try the Crif dog with bacon and raw onions--It's very simple and...it's to die from!

    8 Replies
    1. re: rschwim
      hotdoglover RE: rschwim Jun 22, 2008 04:35 AM

      Crif's is a pretty good knockoff of Rutt's Hut in New Jersey. This is the place that Crif's is patterned after according to one of the original owners. The dog is a Thumann's pork based dog made especially for deep frying. It has 2 extra ingredients; semolina and soy protein concentrate that aid in frying. This dog is also a little milder and contains more pork than the regular Thumann's griller.

      This type of dog may be an aquired taste. People either love it or hate it. It's a mild tasting, but not bland dog that goes well with various toppings. At Rutt's, I order a "weller" which means well done. I would get it that way at Crif's. Knowing that the deep fried concept (especially with a milder pork based dog) is foreign to New Yorkers, the original owners decided to have a more well seasoned kosher style all beef dog on the menu. This is still available and called the New Yorker. It is a natural casing all beef dog from Thumann's that is prepared on a griddle rather than deep fried. It is delicious and popular. Crif's is a great little place to grab a hot dog. They also serve beer.

      1. re: hotdoglover
        guttergourmet RE: hotdoglover Jun 22, 2008 05:40 AM

        HDL-always a pleasure to read your posts. I don't mean to "grill" you, but if you had to pick the best dog in NYC, what would it be?

        1. re: guttergourmet
          hotdoglover RE: guttergourmet Jun 22, 2008 07:35 AM

          Nathan's, Katz's, Papaya King, and Gray's are all excellent. The first three use the natural casing all beef Sabrett. I prefer the spicing in these to a Nathan's. Out of the three, I would pick Papaya King. Although it's close, sometimes the dogs at Katz's don't spend enough time on the griddle. Papaya King and Gray's use the same exact dog, but Papaya King gets their dogs delivered in refrigerated trucks while Gray's recieves theirs frozen. For whatever reason, most of the times the dogs taste fresher at Papaya King. As good as these dogs are, I prefer a natural casing Best's from N.J. Syd's was the best. They are gone now. The same dog is available at Jimmy Buff's East Hanover location and Bubba's in Lyndhurst. Jerry's in Elizabeth serves an excellent dog. An 8 to a lb Best's natural casing frank that has been boiled and finished off on a steel grill. Perfect snap, juicy, and excellent tasting.

          1. re: hotdoglover
            guttergourmet RE: hotdoglover Jun 22, 2008 07:36 AM

            What about 2nd Ave. Deli?

            1. re: guttergourmet
              hotdoglover RE: guttergourmet Jun 22, 2008 05:38 PM

              2nd Ave Deli serves an Empire National kosher dog with a collagen casing that has been prepared on a griddle. A quality dog, but I prefer the spicing in the other beef dogs mentioned.

            2. re: hotdoglover
              mrnyc RE: hotdoglover Jun 22, 2008 12:11 PM


              totally agree with you re PK consistantly beating out GRAYS despite being the same dog. i didnt know about the delivery difference, but how interesting -- that may be the difference.

              however, if you get a well enough griddled dog at KATZ that is easily the best in town. my trick is of course to go on off times and also to first press your nose in the window and and have a good long look, then if you like what you see go in and grab one!

              1. re: mrnyc
                hotdoglover RE: mrnyc Jun 22, 2008 05:42 PM

                Last time I was at Katz's the dog was prepared well. It's slightly larger than Papaya King's and Gray's. All three are in the same ballpark, but like I said, sometimes one may be better due to freshness, time spent on the griddle, etc. Last time I compared dogs in N.Y., Katz's was excellent. So was Papaya King and Gray's, but the bun was stale at Papaya King.

            3. re: guttergourmet
              hotdoglover RE: guttergourmet Jun 26, 2008 06:33 AM

              One place I forgot to mention in New York is Jumbo Hot Dog in Chinatown. There are people who consider this the best dog in New York. It's certainly the best value out there. A buck for a quarter pound all beef dog. The brand is Best's, which I prefer to Sabrett. Although the dogs here are good, I wouldn't consider them the best for a few reasons. I prefer thinner dogs to the thick quarter pounders. Some quarter pound dogs are longer and thinner (which I like better) but this one is short and fat. A minor point to be sure, but the dogs are also skinless and prepared on a roller grill rather than a regular grill or griddle. In my opinion you get a better flavor and char from a real grill. Also the dogs are served hotter. Roller grills are for movie theatres, not hot dog restaurants. Nevertheless, the dogs are fine at Jumbo Hot Dog and you won't find a better value. I can see why those who love the spicing and flavor of a Best's (N.J. not Chicago) frankfurter and don't mind the shape, roller grill, or skinless version might consider this the best hot dog in New York.


        2. thew RE: Lau Jun 22, 2008 06:30 AM

          funny. i always think of crif dogs as the front for pdt

          1. a_and_w RE: Lau Jun 22, 2008 11:25 AM

            I haven't eaten at Criff Dogs in ages either but was frankly (groan...) unimpressed.

            1. d
              debvil RE: Lau Jun 22, 2008 02:25 PM

              Was visiting from Ct (where we have stellar dogs) went to Crif on Friday evening ordered a NY dog. It was terrible. Reminded me of those Perdue chicken dogs my mom used to try to pass off to us as kids.

              Took 2 bites and tossed it.

              Try Super Duper weenie in CT or just a split grilled hummels dog at home and they both blow crif away.

              4 Replies
              1. re: debvil
                kathryn RE: debvil Jun 22, 2008 02:47 PM

                Yeah, I don't really like the NYer dog. The genius is in the deep fried hot dog, that is bacon wrapped, with unusual toppings.

                1. re: debvil
                  hotdoglover RE: debvil Jun 23, 2008 05:56 PM

                  Maybe you had a bad sample? The NY dog is an all beef natural casing Thumann's. I've been to Conecticut numerous times to sample dogs and they are exceptional. When I went to Super Duper Weenie, they served a frank from Miller's Provisions out of Stratford. When the company closed, Gary Zemola, owner of Super Duper Weenie, got the recipe and had the franks made by someone else. When that ended, he switched to Hummel's.

                  Hummel's are good, and prevalent in Southern Connecticut. I've had them at Swanky Franks, Danny's, Merritt Canteen, Mr. Mac's, Glenwood Drive In, and others. I especially like the charbroiled dogs at the Glenwood.

                  My favorite dog from Connecticut can be found at Rosco's in Hartford. A quality beef and pork dog (Thumann's griller) is griddled and placed on a toasted New England bun. The owner makes outstanding homemade toppings, but this dog is fine with just mustard.

                  Connecticut takes a back seat to no state when it comes to hot dogs.

                  1. re: hotdoglover
                    Cpalms RE: hotdoglover Jun 23, 2008 06:39 PM

                    HDL....you, my friend, are a madman....i love it, keep it coming

                    although, I slightly disagree with u about Grays, I find the dogs tend to be more well done at Grays that PK, the buns a little fresher too...all that being said, I'd kill for either one right now....

                    1. re: Cpalms
                      tpigeon RE: Cpalms Jun 23, 2008 08:25 PM

                      Yes, there are people who love hotdogs and there is hotdoglover. He is the best poster by far on hotdogs. No one else is even close. Now I know why I always liked PK a little better than Grays. I could never put my finger on it until I read this thread...

                2. j
                  joeyz RE: Lau Jun 22, 2008 02:31 PM

                  their burgers are good, and a good value. love the cheese fries.

                  1. thew RE: Lau Jun 22, 2008 03:53 PM

                    seriously - don't any of you go into pdt from crif dog?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: kathryn
                      Lau RE: kathryn Jun 22, 2008 04:36 PM

                      was planning on it originally, but threw in the towel b/c i ate enough and drank enough to probably shave a year off my life

                      1. re: kathryn
                        thew RE: kathryn Jun 22, 2008 06:03 PM

                        lol was that telling?

                      2. MsAlyp RE: Lau Jun 26, 2008 10:34 AM

                        I agree Crif Dogs is good but their gems are in their "secret" bar annex that you get to via the telephone booth called PDT.

                        In this first rate bar you can get two of their "special edition" dogs one by Wylie Dufresne and one by David Chang. I find Chang Dog to be better, wrapped in crispy bacon, topped with spicy Kimchi. The Dufresne dog has tomato molasses ketchup, lettuce along with deep fried mayo.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MsAlyp
                          kathryn RE: MsAlyp Jun 26, 2008 10:47 AM

                          You can get the Chang Dog at Crif Dogs, not just in PDT. It's now on the regular Crif menu.

                        2. c
                          ChowDiva RE: Lau Jun 26, 2008 10:49 AM

                          I love the tsunami...bacon wrapped with pineapple, green onion, and teriyaki. Yum!

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