In the ongoing debate over who makes the best hot dog on Long Island, devotees of simple, grilled, natural-casing beef dogs — whether from a kosher deli, hot dog cart or chain — often hold the mic. This summer, though, that is not the place we find ourselves. Rather, it is the Baroque hot dog that rules the moment, objets d'art embellished with crumbled meat and melted cheese, or bacon and avocado, or pulverized potato chips and sauces you didn't even know existed.
The humble hot dog may have emerged in Bavaria in the late 19th century, but other cultures have taken the form to dizzying extremes — notably Colombians, masters of an over-the-top dog whose sheer volume of toppings defies gravity. While those are not easy to find on Long Island, ornate hot dogs are on the rise — especially after the opening of Rock City Dogs in Bay Shore, where cult favorite Feltman's franks can come topped with everything from lobster to Dipsy Doodles.
Here are five lavish frankfurter creations to try on Long Island.
Cubano hot dog at Standard Rec (49 E. Main St., Patchogue): This striking, theatrical new spot is filled with bold colors, vintage details and arcade games. Chef Michael Meehan's menu riffs on street food, including this whimsical collision between a hot dog and a Cubano sandwich: a Wagyu-beef frank sliced lengthwise, grilled, then layered between a pressed Blue Duck Bakery roll with bread-and-butter pickles, smoked ham, Gruyere cheese and a pulsating Creole-style mustard that lifts the entire thing an octave or more. More info: 631-730-8100
Deep Purple at Rock City Dogs (3 E. Main St., Bay Shore): Sure, you can get a $40 lobster-topped dog at this new Bay Shore hangout, but the comparatively quieter creations shimmer with imagination— specifically, a Feltman's dog topped with beet-pickled cabbage, plus whipped goat cheese and dijonnaise sauce. It's a clever take on a standard mustard-and-sauerkraut dog, and you can chase it with a tiki drink filled with top-top shelf rum. More info: 631-876-2530, rockcitydogs.com
Tres salsas dog at Out of the Park Burgers (101 S. Research Pl., Central Islip): The burger-centric name of this spot (in the same plaza as Home Depot) obscures the fact that the hot dog game is strong here, tinged with Colombian and Peruvian exuberance. The basic beef dog on a bun is satisfying enough, but the tres salsas dog is, as the name suggests, slathered in multiple sauces, from fruity pineapple to cilantro-garlic to pink mayo. Figure in grilled onions, molten mozzarella, bacon bits and crushed potato chips, and you have a party. More info: 631-582-1122
Completo at San Antonio Bakery & Restaurant (174 Rockaway Ave., Valley Stream): There are times when you feel the pull of tradition bristle against a craving for something new. The Completo, the Chilean spin on the hot dog, is for those times: a beef frank topped with sauerkraut, mashed avocado, minced tomatoes and a drizzle of mayo, on a toasted house bun. Grab some empanadas while you're here, and maybe some tres leches cake, too. More info: 516-568-0075, sanantoniobakery.square.site
Chorriperro at La Fonda Latino Grill (426 Hawkins Ave., Ronkonkoma): Despite the busy takeout trade at this Ronkonkoma spot, the perro caliente Colombianos (Colombian hot dogs) here are anything but casual, and can take 20 minutes or more to construct. The chorriperro sports chorizo sausage over a grilled beef dog, plus drizzles of pink sauce (sort of a mayo-ketchup hybrid) and golden, crumbled potato strings for crunch. The mixto takes that constuction a step further still with the addition of hunks of garlicky chicken, slices of bacon and melted mozzarella cheese. Both are hearty, two-handed affairs, so consider eating at one of the tables in the cheerful dining room with some horchata at your elbow. More info: 631-467-3278, lafondalatinorestaurant.com