How does one make something better? This is a question that has been asked since the invention of the wheel, the cotton gin, and sliced bread. Improvements to the already existent are what have driven the advancement of mankind. Plato, Aristotle, Galileo, Da Vinci, Edison, Jack Black, and more have wandered down the path of enlightenment for us before. But have we as a society become stagnant? Has our ability to improve, innovate, and invent gone by the wayside? I think not, my friends. Because, in Harlem, there is a hot dog that is bacon wrapped, deep fried, and topped with cherry relish. Thank you, Harlem Shake. My faith in humanity is restored.
On 124th st, off of the 2-3 train stop in Harlem, sits this diner style restaurant that is a homage to Harlem history and culture. They serve shakes (obviously), burgers, fries, hot dogs, and Cheerwine. For those that don’t know about Cheerwine, it is the greatest soft drink ever invented. Go south and you’ll find them everywhere, so it is very refreshing (no pun intended) to see one in NYC. On the walls of the diner are signed pictures of Harlem celebrities, Harlem mementos, and an old school back-lit menu like something from the movie Grease. The music is funky, upbeat, and there to preserve the mood. But, most importantly, when I asked about their best dog, I got the right answer.
The Sonoran Dog. Bacon wrapped, deep fried, topped with cherry and pickle relish and a spicy chipotle sauce. Even better, a well toasted Martin’s potato roll is the chassis for this well-oiled machine. At first, I was hesitant on the deep-fried portion of this frank. Luckily, they didn’t add any breading, so it wasn’t too heavy. In fact, it just added a layer of crispiness that essentially enhanced the already existent snap. The quality of the sausage was on point (credit to Boar’s Head), and you’d have to be a fool to complain about bacon wrapped around your weenie. The mixture of the relish and the sauce then basically escorted you through St. Peter’s gate into hot dog heaven. Go eat the Sonoran dog, it is one of the best in NYC hands down.
Accompanying the Sonoran was the Jerk. This guy is adorned with Jamaican Jerk coleslaw, creole sauce, and pork rinds. While very good, I basically don’t want to talk about it because the Sonoran completely overshadowed it with its prowess. Then, because we could, Mike and I split a Snoop Dog. That’s right, a Snoop Dog. Sippin’ on weenies and cheese.
Simple, yet elegant. I’m on a cheese streak lately. This dog had much more cheese on it than the Shake Shack Shack-Meister, and did the whole cheese thing even better. The cheese topping was like an entire pack of 24 Kraft singles melted and condensed, blessed by the Pope, and poured over the dog. Fantastic dessert.
Go to Harlem, eat a Sonoran Dog at Harlem Shake. Go to a jazz club (I recommend Minton’s), and have yourself a night about it. I sure did.
P.S. This is the best Harlem Shake I’ve ever seen. The Banana Shake: Banana Shake