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Restaurant Review: DareDevil Dogs

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Restaurant Review: DareDevil DogsAll photos by Walker Evans.
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DareDevil Dogs opened its doors in a South Campus crevice that’s about perfect for a hot dog joint. The former home of Commonwealth Sandwich Bar boasts a no-frills, edgy décor featuring just a few window seats for dining in. You’d want to schedule your visit at off-hours to score a spot in on of those coveted seats.

Standing around isn’t bad though. The hot dog eating crowd is fairly affable one, and for good reason: it’s a short wait for affordable vittles.

The offerings present an interesting, junkified take on the “gourmet” dining scene. While the official moniker proclaims gourmet hot dogs, it’s more like downscale fancy food. It’s not so much that the hot dogs are elevated, it’s that their sophisticated cohorts meld so well as junk food companions.

The menu is streamlined just like the restaurant’s design. Control freak diners have the option to design their own masterpieces: pick a dog (chicken, beef or vegan), pick a roll, then put stuff on it such as shaved brussels sprouts or pineapple guacamole.

But why do the designing, when the kitchen already offers tried and true combos?

Consider the popular starting point: Sky Diver ($6.50 – pictured up top). It’s on the conventional side of things, starting with bread that’s several cuts above your average Wonderbread bun. DareDevil uses a sweet, soft challah that holds its shape without wilting. On top of that is a plump hot dog (par for the course) with tangy baked beans, slaw, cheese and a bacon aioli: messy and good.

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But for gourmet-ish eats, move on to something more adventurous, such as the Fire Eater ($6.50). As the menu describes, it is a buttermilk-batter-fried chicken brat. Yes, it is, indeed, a deep fat fried brat, with a fragile shell of crispies that elevates it above the realm of a regular ol’ sausage. Then there’s more: it’s equipped with a chunky mix of buffalo sauce, whisper thin shavings of celery and onions, and some fatty blue cheese aioli to give it more weight.

Not sure if that’s gourmet, but it’s unconventional and fantastic.

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Also in the chicken department is the Wing Walker ($6.50). It’s a more conventionally prepared chicken brat, topped with mashed potatoes, pickled green tomatoes, caramelized onions and peppers, plus cheddar. This one scores in more of the comfort foods department with its mild melange of soft potatoes and veggies.

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Brussels sprouts might seem like a gratuitous, trendy topping for a hot dog, but they work, completely and unapologetically, with the Base Jumper ($6.50). Shaved and sautéed, the briny slices contribute a distinct nuttiness to the mix, along with mashed potatoes on a vegan dog.

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Sides for all these hot dogs include options such as mashed potatoes or baked beans, as well as chips and guac. The Sweet Potato Tots ($3) are recommended: they’re pint-sized nuggets of sweet n’ saltiness.

At base, the hot dogs taste like hot dogs. But the Dare Devil team is doing its own thing, pairing them with un-traditional fare that excels as compliments to the ultimate junk food. It delivers good value and fun ride that’s worth the time, raves and price. You can find it at 1437 N. High Street.

For more information, visit www.daredevilhotdogs.com.

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