Update: Dog é Style has closed it’s doors as of December 2015.
128 Genesee St, Buffalo, NY 14202
While Buffalo has had some experience with gourmet hot dogs in the past couple years, thanks to Frank Gourmet Hot Dogs Food Truck, Dog é Style is the first sit down spot to offer a menu full of gourmet wieners.
After years of heated debate around Buffalo’s best hot dog purveyor and Buffalo’s superior char-broiled technique vs. whatever ball park franks the rest of the world eats, it’s nice to see some gourmet options available. I’ve always thought hot dogs would be an interesting vehicle for different flavor combinations. Turns out I was both right and wrong.
There’s a lot of novelty going on here. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, mildly unique experience, the avant-garde hot dogs at Dog é Style are probably up your alley. At the same time, if you’re looking to ditch your brown-bag lunch for a Wardynski’s charcoal-grilled hot dog and a side of awesome fries, they’ve got that too. On top of all that, Dog é Style transforms into a nice casual happy hour location with interesting bar snacks – especially during warmer months.
We visited the newish bar/restaurant for lunch on a weekday a while back. In my opinion, the space is interesting, featuring vibrant colors and out-of the ordinary textures and lighting. The shipping container element, while somewhat contrived, adds a certain unique quality to the space. The large retractable, glass garage doors are a nice touch. The first floor feels a bit disjointed and the second reminds me of a casual cafeteria.
The ordering process leaves something to be desired. I wish I could shed more light on the “right way” to go about ordering and receiving food. Unfortunately, all I can come up with is: Order fries, pop, dogs, etc. at the back counter. Then wait in the awkward space for your food. We found ourselves wondering if we were in the right place more than once.
Do you want alcohol? It seems like you might have to order it separately at the bar, but I’m not positive on that one. When we were there, it didn’t appear that any bartender was on staff. Maybe the bar is closed during the day. But if you’re visiting for dinner, that might be a real issue. Do you order your drink at the bar and then head over to the food/non alcoholic drink line? They certainty didn’t seem equipped to get you a beer from where they were standing in the kitchen. Is it just me or am I asking more questions than I’m answering here? (Read on for SOME answers.)
Previous to the opening of Dog e Style, I read in The News that the original idea was to get in line (all the way in the back of the restaurant, I’m assuming) and order there, pushing your tray along the counter and picking up your dogs as they are ready, paying at the end of the counter closest to the bar. This makes sense to me, but this is not how things went down on our visit.
As I waited, my mind wandered. What would happen if someone ordered a milkshake? Or if there had been anyone in line to order in front of us? I’ll tell you what, it would have been a long wait as there were only two people working in the open kitchen.
The weirdest part is that when your name is called, there’s no opening in the window/counter where you grab your tray full of food. The cook literally had to stop what he was doing (no time for that) to hand each person their tray over the window that enclosed a counter that was not being used.
Once you get your food you’ll probably want to head towards the many tables upstairs – you know, to get the hell out of the way. You’ll find handsome, rugged wood floors, staggered ceilings and plastic blue walls made of shipping containers mimicking the exterior.
In the front of the restaurant, a retracting window opens to a small balcony overlooking the Genesee and North Oak intersection – one of the restaurants best features in warmer months.
- Banh Mi Dog – Saigon Style with pickled veg, spicy mayo, chilis and cilantro, $4.50
Our favorite, along with the rest of WNY. Not too spicy even with a generous amount of chilis and Sriracha mayo hiding beneath the dog. Pickled carrot and daikon slaw offered a nice compliment to the heavy base. Fresh cilantro rounded out the Vietnamese flavor profiles.
- Greek Dog – Lamb with tomato, pepperoncini, feta, olive and onions, $5.75
While it sounded good and looked even better, I was disappointed with the execution. The toppings lacked flavor and the meat was seasoned to the point of overpowering. If you order this one, grab extra napkins and get ready for an avalanche of toppings. Probably my least favorite of the bunch.
- Fat Duck Dog – Duck and Foie Gras with mushrooms and truffle aioli, $12.00
I was pleasantly surprised with this extravagant display. It’s probably not something I would order every time, but eating something so decedent can be a fun experience if you like a good food adventure now and then. Oddly enough, the Fat Duck Dog that we got was prepared differently than the one Buffalo Eats tried shortly after their opening. I can’t help but be glad that our foie gras came mixed into the topping because like Donnie, I probably wouldn’t have been able to eat the entire thing with sliced pieces on top.
- NOLA Dog – Ham with provolone, olive salad and fried oysters, $6.00
The olives here are a nice touch but the ham topping was a little much for me. To be fair, if you’re eating four Dog é Style dogs you may run into the problem of “a little too much” a little too often. I’d recommend sticking to one per visit. The NOLA Dog comes as a simple hot dog with loads of olives and onions atop a thick layer of stiff cheese pooled in the bottom of the bun. The top layer consisted of three average sized, moderately battered, deep fried oysters. Warning: They fall off.
Upon coming up for air, expect toppings to cover your face, the table, other hot dogs and probably some of your clothing.
It must be noted that the buns are very good. The fresh rolls do their job of aiding the table-to-mouth process without ever getting away or steeling thunder. Just what I want in a hot dog bun.
The twice fried fries were outstanding. I couldn’t stop reaching for more. Clearly twice fried is the secret.
What Else Looks Good
- Smoked Pork Sausage – Hot mustard, caramel sweet onions, $5.50
- Beef on Weck Dog – Weck roll, all beef jumbo dog, Horseradish mayo, $5.00
- Philly Cheesesteak – Strip steak sauteed with peppers, onions and hot Italian giardiniera mix topped with homemade cheese sauce on garlic roll and twice fried fries, $9.95
The sad truth when it comes to hot dogs is that sometimes less really is more. I never find myself regretting even a singe bite of a regular old chargrilled Sahlens/Wardynski with ketchup and mustard. That being said, I love innovation and creativity more than a simple hot dog with Heinz. I appreciate Dog é Style taking risks and will return to see what they come up with in the future, and for seconds of the Banh Mi Dog of course.