Known for its empanadas and fritas cubanas, Miami might not seem like a hot-dog hotbed, but frankly, delicious takes on the formerly all-American classic exist. You just have to know where to look.
Prodigious beef-and-bun combinations can be found at restaurants that are turning the standard ketchup-mustard-relish ménage à trois into a more gourmet affair. Unlikely places like Asian-inspired Sakaya Kitchen tops its dog with homemade kimchee and crisp tater tots, while Dogma and House of Dog — artisanal joints focused on the frankfurter — continue to celebrate the hot dog via creative interpretations.
Though they vary in flavor, inspiration, size, and form, Miami’s breed of dogs surpasses expectations on so many levels. Ten of the best are below.
10. Los Verdes
Stop at one of Los Verdes’ many South Florida locations for Colombian-style hot dogs. The choriperro ($6.75) features a juicy Colombian sausage on a bun with mozzarella cheese, bacon, smashed potato chips, and a plethora of delectable flavorings, including pink, green, and special pineapple sauces. Plain Janes can order the simple perro ($5.50) for a regular hot dog. Everything goes best with a side of crinkle-cut fries ($2.75).
9. La Perrada de Edgar
Countries collide to construct one wiener-ific list at La Perrada de Edgar. Here, perros calientes are inspired by different nations, from France and Greece to Mexico and Brazil. Although the Colombian may be the most popular, go for the Super Edgar ($5.99), named for owner Edgar Gomez. Shrimp, crab, mozzarella, and a host of sauces are assembled atop a frank on a bun for a combo that brings you the best of both land and sea.
8. Arbetter's Hot Dogs
Respect the longevity of this Westchester restaurant that can pull off a simple fast-food menu at cheap prices for more than 50 years. So what exactly goes into constructing flawless frankfurters? In the case of Arbetter’s late founder Bob Arbetter and his relatives, who now carry on his legacy, a whole lot of deliciousness. It’s proven in the tangy relish hot dog ($2.40) and the famed sauerkraut dog with mustard ($2.25), but the chili onion dog ($2.45) is as good as it gets, especially when it’s flanked by a mountain of chili cheese fries ($3.75).
7. House of Dog
If its moniker or retro-grunge interior doesn’t give any hint about what House of Dog is into, the titular food proves this place means business. At this Miami Beach dive bar, all dogs are kosher and injected with beer, all buns are toasted, and all specialty dogs are to-die-for. Let the Ninja ($7) steal your heart with its surprising blend of pineapple, sautéed mushrooms, teriyaki, and wasabi aioli. You can’t go wrong with anything you order here, but one thing is certain: Nothing pairs better with beer-infused dogs than some craft beer to get the whole House of Dog experience.
6. Miami Smokers
The hot dogs at this pork-product emporium are not for the faint of heart and require a large appetite. Dubbed “sausage sandwiches” for a more sophisticated approach to the basic dog, they each come on a baguette that holds favorites such as Italian sausage ($9) and Okeechobee wild boar ($9). Bite into a spicy Thai sausage ($9), topped with spicy mayo, cilantro, pickle slaw, and crushed nuts, for a little heat in your meal. Wrap some bacon around your sausage of choice for $3.
5. La Moon
La Moon serves several dogs, including one with sautéed steak and another of the Colombian variety. But the one you should try on your first visit hails from a galaxy far, far away. La Moon’s reimagined hot dog, the Supermoon Perro ($7.75), features a frank with smoked chorizo, bacon, and a quail egg packed into a bun and smothered with five delectable sauces. There’s no right way to eat this superdog, so grab a napkin, tuck it into your shirt, and enjoy every messy mouthful.
4. Sweet Dogs 305
Sometimes a wiener is all you need to sweeten your day. Cue Sweet Dogs 305, a local go-to that has remained consistent via its versions of outrageous, palate-pleasing hot dogs with all the fixings. Go straight for two simple pleasures you’ve never tried together: the mac hot dog ($5.50), piling mac 'n' cheese, grated Parmesan, and garlic croutons on a hot dog. Sweet Dogs also has franks inspired by home teams such as the Dolphins and the Heat, but unlike the sports world, these dogs don’t disappoint.
3. Sakaya Kitchen
It might be hard to believe that Sakaya Kitchen, midtown’s Korean-fusion favorite, has a hot dog on its menu, but it does: the one and only K-Dog ($8). Imagine a Nathan’s all-beef frank turned up to 12 with house-made kimchee slaw, house-made mustard, and spicy, crisp tater tots served on top and on the side. If you’re expecting subtle flavor, you’ve got it all wrong. Like all things at Sakaya, this dish adds a modern Asian-influenced kick to an American staple.
2. Dogma Grill
There’s no shortage of inventive hot dogs at this frankfurter-focused grill serving all kinds of sausages. They come in different shapes and sizes. Dogma boasts plentiful classics — from Italian sausage ($7.50) and turkey franks ($3.75) to bratwursts ($4.95) and jumbo beef dogs ($4.75). There are also specialty franks inspired by the streets of New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Colombia, and other cities. It's no wonder Dogma has made a long-term home on Biscayne Boulevard for locals who share and appreciate a love of frank philosophy.
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1. Pincho Factory
Scrumptious, award-winning burgers such as the mouthwatering toston and fritanga are the name of the game at Pincho Factory, but that doesn’t mean the team behind this popular joint can’t craft game-changing dogs. Take one bite of the Cartel ($5.99) — a 100 percent kosher beef dog topped with chopped bacon, melted cheddar, mango sauce, pink sauce, and a heavy layer of potato sticks — and you'll be hooked.
Follow Maureen Aimee Mariano on Twitter.