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Crif's - meh?

Tried it last night for the first time. Had a New Yorker plain (on purpose for taste testing). Tasted just like Gray's. Thought the dog was bit too slim for the bun. (Have they shrunk over the years?) I'd still give edge to Nathans for NYC dogs. However, I don't think any of the foregoing are anything to write home about. Didn't think the NYer was worth the $2.50. Thing is...my personal preference is for boiled, not grilled, so that makes a big difference at the outset. But I can't even get a decent Sabrett's nowadays at the street vendors. They're always soft, not snappy anymore. My recipe nowadays for best hotdog is Boar's Head or Hebrew with natural casing on a Sunbeam hotdog roll with Hunt's ketchup and Sabrett's pushcart style onions (from a jar).

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  1. Ketchup and onions vs mustart and kraut. Now there is a great debate. I prefer the potato roll the best. And who came up with the top split bun? I hate that.

    1. The New Yorker at Crif Dogs (singular, no possessive) is actually supposed to be a copy of a Gray's style hot dog: all beef hot dog, grilled. The rest of the menu actually uses a different hot dog (pork & beef) and the franks are deep-fried.

      I wouldn't dismiss Crif until you try a Crif pork & beef dog (instead of all beef) that is deep-fried (sans batter). If you want a plain one just order the "Crif Dog" to get the purest experience for your taste test.

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6901...

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      Crif Dogs
      113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

      2 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        Thanks, kathryn. I'll give it one more shot when I'm in the nabe.

        (By the way, the possessive was on purpose because I shortened it. I also truncated the other names. I'm finding a lot of CH comments show up prominently on Google searches - not sure I'm entirely comfortable having my opinion - now, more carefully crafted to be sure - ending up on the internets thing for the world to see, rather than the relative safety of fellow CHers.)

        1. re: nooyawka

          Do report back when you get a chance.

          The negative aspect of using a slightly different name is that fellow CHers won't be able to find your post when they search. And the Places feature won't work either.

      2. I personally like Crif Dogs and several of their combinations (Spicy Redneck, Chihuahua, etc.) not to mention their cheesy tots! Perfect after-hours food. But I've never gotten their plain dogs so I can understand where you're coming from.

        5 Replies
        1. re: uwsister

          Tots!? How'd I miss that?! Now, that definitely merits a quick follow-up visit...

          1. re: nooyawka

            Oh yeah, those tots are at least 40% reason why I go to Crif Dogs. Maybe higher.

            1. re: uwsister

              Okay, I'm back. I revisited Crif Dogs about 3 week ago, so this report is somewhat late. I tried the Crif Dog (again plain), and absolutely was UNDERwhelmed by it. No snap to the skin and the flavor reminded my of an Oscar Meyer weiner. And I had the tater tots. While they were the traditional style (ie, the kind I had as a kid), they were soaked in grease. I could barely eat them even after dousing them with ketchup. I'm sorry to say I think Crif Dogs is just not my cup of tea.

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              Crif Dogs
              113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009

              1. re: nooyawka

                Hmm. I never found their tater tots to be particularly greasy - but then again I can't remember the last time I was there sober. Sorry that you didn't have a good experience!

                1. re: uwsister

                  Ha! That's the key - first ingest beer, then hot dog. I had it all backwards :)

        2. Ketchup on a NY hot dog! OY MY god!! Mustard, Kraut and maybe relish is NY style.
          I.M.H.O. of course.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Motosport

            I'm shocked! I always thought NY style was "the works" - ketchup, mustard, sauerkraut, and that onion stuff if they've got it. Relish is exotic but mighty tasty if available.

          2. You lost me at boiled with ketchup

            6 Replies
            1. re: ESNY

              I know....ketchup on a hot dog is a sacrilege and laughable for a lotta folks. I've always been contrarian. Never understood the "mustard & kraut" thing (I'm a lifelong New Yorker, I might add). I'm at the age (fortunately, or not) where I'm secure enough to come out of the closet on my ketchupy predilections. :)

              1. re: nooyawka

                and Hunts Catsup?? Not Heinz?? I hope you don't put Miracle Whip on your pastrami on white bread!!

                1. re: nooyawka

                  I'm anti-kraut too. Just give me a dog with mustard.

                  Crif dogs excels with their fried dog and I view the inclusion of the New Yorker sort of in the same vein as the fish at Peter Luger. Their plain fried dog is good although not as good as Rutt's Hut which they are emulating. You get a great snap and flavor from the frying. I generally stick with the regular fried dog and not the more dressed up things on the menu.

                  1. re: ESNY

                    I love Rutts Hut. When I worked in Clifton we went there all the time. You have to check out the attached pic. I took it at Rutts Hut after I ordered lunch. Look at the colors contrast betwen the dogs, chili, cheese and Mountain Dew. Pure Art.

                     
                    1. re: princeofpork

                      Every time I find myself in NJ, my car just seems to drive itself to Rutt's Hut for 2 rippers and a Dew.

                      1. re: ESNY

                        DOnt sleep on the Chili. Its excellent