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Fab's Hot Dogs in Reseda

After reading the praise for this place I decided to try it yesterday for lunch. It was so good that I returned today for another lunch. The steamed natural casing dog with their chili is dynamite. Great snap. I asked the guy where he sourced his dogs and he replied that he could tell me but then he'd have to kill me. He did admit that he has them shipped from New Jersey. The spicy Polish dog is the same one that Wiener Factory (RIP) used to use. Today I had a Ripper - deep fried until the casing splits. Very, very good. Their fries are outstanding, with a unique seasonig. Highly recommended.

The place is next door to a pizza joint called Brooklyn Pizzeria; they claim to have been in business for 35 years. The do a thin NY style pie. It smells good but I haven't tried it. My favorite in the west SFV for thin crust is D'Amore's. Can anyone offer a comparision of the two places? Thanks.

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  1. I cannot escape the siren's song that is Fab's, and have not been able to step foot into the pizza joint next door after many attempts to do so. Fab's is that good.. A hint about the chili-chees dog: when devoured in-house at Fab's, the shredded cheese (excellent quality, BTW) sits all fluffy-like atop the chili, dog, and bun. BUT, once I ordered this dog to go, and sure enough, 5 minutes in the sealed to-go wrapping & bag, and that lovely fluffy shredded cheese had morphed into even lovelier melty cheese! it was a revelation! So, my advice, order an eat-in dog at Fab's, but get the chili-cheese dog to-go. The transmutation is "..gold, Jerry, gold! ".

    5 Replies
    1. re: silence9

      The melted cheese effect on the "to go" chili cheese dog is exactly the phenomena that had me worshiping at the long departed El Patio on the north side of Wilshire Blvd. (midway between Bundy and Barrington) almost every week for years. If only I lived closer to Fab's my life expectancy would be severely diminished but my taste buds would be greatly enhanced.

      1. re: Servorg

        I was fortunate to be inside during the taping of Fab's for Drivers, Drive-ins and Dives. And all I can say, is go now before the airing in August to miss the crowds!!

        1. re: MarlaPR

          What a stroke of luck. The show airs on Monday 8/10 at 10 pm. Sage advice to go before then!

          1. re: TomSwift

            What are you talking about "after the show?" I cant get in sideways now it is so crowded every time I go by.

            1. re: SIMIHOUND

              I've only been there for lunch and, yes, it has been crowded (the round table with stools, the 3 indoor tables and outdoors) but the tables turn pretty fast as it's not exactly a place where one would linger. I'd suggest that you find one of the tough to find parking places and tough it out. It's worth it. But if Patrick's Roadhouse is any indication, the weeks after the airing of DDD will see a huge spike in customers and terrible waits.

    2. Tom,

      Fab's is a knockoff of Rutt's Hut in New Jersey. They use a hot dog from Thumann's that is made specially for deep frying. Many places in N.J. use this dog as does the popular Crif 's Dog in New York City.

      1. I’ve been going to Fab’s pretty much since they opened and they got their first positive review at Chowhound.

        At first, I was a ripper fanatic. Then it was the burgers…then it was the steamed dog with mustard relish…and then the Mexican street dog…

        Now, however many months later, I have found the definition of “hot dog” perfection:

        It is a bratwurst, with sauerkraut and mustard relish (bald eagle mustard relish, not hel’s), a side of garlic tater tots, and a coke.

        7 Replies
        1. re: ns1

          While I would very much enjoy reading comments about their burgers, my soul leapt up like a little hummingbird when I read "bratwurst, with sauerkraut and mustard relish", as that was the one that stunned me as well. We went with a bunch of the SCARF crowd, and while we alone would have picked just one sandwich each and let it go at that, we were all egging each other on to try another and then another... the memory is blurred, but I *THINK* I may have had three. Unless it was four. But the brat was one of them, and it was the one that rang most of my bells, though the bite I had of someone's Ripper was damn good too (yeah, it degenerated to the point of grown adults swapping bites like a bunch of hygienically-ignorant kindergartners). Food freaks on a tear, I tell ya...

          1. re: Will Owen

            Will, when was this? I must have missed it on the SCARF board.

            1. re: Will Owen

              what is this SCARF thing you speak of?

              And yes, that brat with sauerkraut/mustardrelish = perfection

              Actually, the mustard relish itself is pure perfection and makes EVERYTHING better, but complements the sauerkraut so well you just need to order one and see for yourself :)

              1. re: ns1

                Southern California Association of Radical Foodies. Several of us formed the group several years ago as a vehicle to circumvent the restrictions imposed by the Mods on the types of posts we could make on CH and to provide a means of communication that didn't interfear with CH. There are now several hundred members.

                    1. re: ChinoWayne

                      ...and it was I believe about a year ago. Hot day, maybe eight of us packed in that tiny room like squirmy pink sardines. A lot of that bite-sharing could possibly have been accidental, what with us all hanging out in each other's laps... Don't remember exactly whose idea it was, but it was a good'n.

              2. The wife and I have been going to Fabs since last fall. As a Jersey Boy who transplanted himself to LA 15 years ago, I can honestly say it's the closest thing to a "being in Jersey" hot dog I've had outside the state. Really quite good and everyone there's excessively nice.

                Sad thing is, my wife's not a hot dog fan. She likes the burgers though, so we can still go and enjoy it. We've even brought our 4 month old daughter there - twice!

                We went on Saturday afternoon and it felt like 100 degrees outside - it wasn't much cooler inside. That's really the worst thing I can say, how about a little more A/C. It is the Valley after all... =-)

                Now if only they'd start making the Max's style footlong hotdogs. These are the hotdogs found down on the shore in places like Point Pleasant and Seaside. Max's itself was on the Long Branch board walk before it "mysteriously" --cough-- Mob --cough-- burned down. They built a free standing one a few blocks away, but the ambiance, well I miss the old place.

                Anyway, my dad brings out a few frozen packages for me every trip he comes to visit (his grand daughter, not me). They are made by Schickhouse. They are Amazingly Tasty. These are NOT Dodger Dogs, not even close.

                2 Replies
                1. re: mrsantora

                  remember last year? they didn't even HAVE ac!

                  1. re: ns1

                    Yeah I know. Now they need to expand and get some more seats. Really with the DD&D coming up, we'll never get in there again! =-(

                2. I love Fab's and if it was only about 10 minutes away (like Weiner Factory was) instead of about 20-25 minutes, I would be there all the time. Good thing it's not closer or I wouldn't fit into my jeans. We tend to hit it up around 1 or 2 on Sunday afternoons, and the crowds aren't horrific (yet - wait till DD&D airs). I can get a red cabbage and cheese dog that's about 80% of the way there from the Weiner Factory version. I like the L.A. street dog, and the Carolina slaw dog, and my husband has lately been into the bacon-cheddar-melt dog and the Chicago dog. The ripper was ok as to the dog itself but I didn't really like the ripper relish. One gripe: they don't have ice. Which means I won't ever order a soda, because I only like my soda with ice.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Debbie W

                    Distance is my saving grace. I live 2 blocks from the old Wiener Factory location, so it's a trek to get to Fab's. My favorite is the spicy Polish sausage with the Mexicali toppings -- spicy chipotle sauce, guacamole and sour cream. I also have discovered that I need to get a double order of tater tots when I order take out because I otherwise have no tots left by the time I get home.

                    I will have to try the chili dog next.

                    1. re: Jwsel

                      FYI when we do chili dogs, we either ask for 1. the cheese to be put BELOW the chili for maximum meltage OR ask for nacho cheese

                    2. re: Debbie W

                      Debbie,
                      I am happy to report that Fab Hot Dogs is installing a soda machine with ice as we speak. The installation should be complete by next week this time.
                      Thank you
                      Joe Fabrocini

                    3. I'm not a big fan of hot dogs, but Fab's is delicious! Their chili is my favorite!

                      1. Tom, I live one mile away from Fabs and Brooklyn Pizzeria and I'm so happy that I do.

                        First, Fabs.... i've been 4 times since i discovered them via Chowhound a couple of months ago. Had the ripper, the bald eagle, a regular grilled and today was a special "Village dog". All have been wonderful. If you sign up for the email newsletter, you'll get an email once a week or so that offers "exclusive" items for its subscribers. This week's was the Village Dog, which is bacon-wrapped with avocado and cream cheese and a spicy sauce for $4.50. Sounds strange, but oh what a delicious lunch. The saltiness of the bacon, the perfect snap of the dog, and the richness and creaminess of the avocado and cream cheese...hot dog heaven.

                        I've been a customer of Brooklyn Pizza for many years now. It's pretty good. I like their sausage for some unknown reason. Maybe because it's tiny pieces that crisp up nicely on the pizza top. Definitely would recommend you trying it. I also like D'Amore's a lot, but they are expensive. Great crust and the cornmeal on the bottom. But I especially dig their white pizza (spinach, no tomato sauce) which surprises me because I typically want traditional types of sauce/toppings on my pie.

                        I lived in NYC for a few years and my husband is a native Ny'er and for me, D'Amore's is about the closest to NYC pizza I've found (with the exception of a place down in Santa Monica that i can't remember the name of). but when i'm picking up pizza for the family, i usually am short of cash, so i rarely get D'amores, altho i'd like to.

                        Even tho this may be horrible to say, I have to admit to loving California Pizza Kitchen's BLT pizza. It's hot and cold at the same time and exactly what it sounds like... cold lettuce tossed in mayo, tomatoes and bacon atop a hot crust. OMG, I could eat that every day. CPK may be a chain, but they are always consistently good in my opinion. I can't go there without ordering the singapore shrimp rolls and those avocado egg roll thingies.

                        1. Hi Tom!

                          Brooklyn Pizzeria is my favorite pizza in the the Valley. We had a D'Amore's here in Sherman Oaks for a while so I'm familiar. By the end of their stay in SO, the pizza got so thin you could see through the crust. I like thin but that was too thin for me. I haven't been to BP for a while but I've eaten there for about 15 years or so. Between D'Amore's and BP, I miuch prefer Brookly.

                          Enjoy!
                          Kate

                          1. Thanks to all, and especially to Kate (who is always hungry) and the number 22 Dip for the scoop on the pizza. The D'Amore's I go to hasn't resorted to see-through crust yet, but I do like the cornmeal. Agree, very expensive compared to almost anywhere else.

                            1. I've been told Fab's has a secret menu and apparently it's everything that's been offered thus far as the "special" of the week. I know about the garlic tots, but what else is there?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ReelMike84

                                reelmike, next time you go, sign up for their newsletter and you'll get a weekly email telling you about the "secret" items for that week. I got the email yesterday saying that the village dog, which was the secret item last week will be on their specials board this week for all to try.
                                so what you've been told may be right, or vice versa anyway.

                              2. I hate to be the one who sounds negative... but Fab's is just OK, not great. The chili has a weird bitter taste to it; the special mustard glop on the American Eagle Dog is simply disgusting -- gloppy-thick, and cabbage-stinky. After two visits and four of their specialities I'll be scarfing slices at Brooklyn. For hotdogs, it's Cupids for me! My apologies to anyone who may be offended by my honesty.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: BrianShaw

                                  No need to apologize. The owner of Fab's is from New Jersey and he is familiar with the many places in North Jersey that serve this dog. Although he is the only place in California serving it, it is quite common here in Jersey. And opinions vary. It is a unique dog, made especially for deep frying. It contains 2 ingredients that other dogs do not have that aid in frying. It is over 3/4 pork. I've found that people either love or hate this dog. I happen to like it, my family hates it. It is quite different than a spicier all beef dog. Like comparing apples and oranges.

                                  People usually like one style or the other. I've bought these dogs from a Thumann's distributor and prepared them at home. The key is leaving them in the oil long enough. As I mentioned earlier Fab's is a knock off of Rutt's Hut. Rutt's is perhaps the most well known hot dog joint in New Jersey. They have many imitators. Crif Dogs in New York (Manhattan) is also a knockoff that is doing well there as they are the only place in New York using this dog. Although Rutt's does not have a trademark on the term "ripper", it originated at Rutt's Hut, not Fab's, not Crifs, and not the many copycats in New Jersey.

                                  You know what they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I'm sure that Fab's dogs are liked for the same reason that Rutt's Hutt's dogs are. But be aware, Rutt's came first! Opened in 1928 and it is said that Babe Ruth ate there. I' myself was there today. If you are ever in N.J., check it out. They have the most unique relish you ever had. They are known for it. Goes great with their rippers. And they taste better than the copycats because they are fried in beef tallow, not vegetable oil.

                                  1. re: hotdoglover

                                    Thanks for the clarification. I am about 60% through my life and have totally been denied the "New Jersey experience"... my only visit to that state lasting for less than 1 hour.

                                    The dog itself was tasty. Every topping I've had, though, was definitely not to my liking. As an "outsider" I suppose it would be best to confine myself to the more simple ingredients... like regular mustard and onions.

                                    1. re: hotdoglover

                                      Fried in beef tallow? How great. If I can get into Fab when they're not swamped I'll suggest to Joe that he consider tallow, both for the rippers and for the fries and tots. But he probably already knows about the tallow.

                                      1. re: TomSwift

                                        Go when they open at 11 or around 3:00 and you shouldn't have a crowd problem. Or wait a couple more weeks and the tv buzz will have died down considerably.

                                        1. re: TomSwift

                                          I doubt that he knows about the beef tallow. Rutt's claims that they use vegetable oil. That's is what was reported on a Hot Dog Program. There are 3 families that own Rutt's and quite a few people who work there. Not everyone is guarded about the fact that beef tallow is used. It was confirmed recently when there was an article mentioning the possible future ban on trans fat in New Jersey. I also know people at Rutt's who told me that their dogs are better than the many other copycats in part because of the beef tallow. Other reasons are that the dogs are fried to different degrees of doneness. The dogs are called "in an outers" which are barely fried, "rippers" which are fried untill the skin rips, "wellers" that are fried to well done, and "cremators", which are almost black. Another reason why Rutt's is better is their unique relish. It is like no other. Many have tried (and failed) to duplicate it.

                                          Next time there ask Joe where he heard the term ripper. Does he also use the other Rutt's terms listed above?

                                        1. re: Kate is always hungry

                                          And now you can get a free cheese slice if you bring your Fab receipt over.

                                      2. Wow,

                                        I'm going to give this place a try,

                                        Thanks Fred