Refrigerator staples of the downtown twenty-something: a Brita pitcher, beer, string cheese, ketchup and a Crif Dog’s “Eat Me” weiner magnet featuring a babe in a bikini riding a hot dog. That’s some Infatuation friendly marketing right there. When I think about Crif Dogs, I’m brought back to the blackout of 2003. How amazing was that? NYC turned into one big block party. The night it all went down, Crif Dogs was the only place in the East Village that had power because they were smart enough to have a backup generator for exactly such occasion. So while everyone else was sweating it out while food spoiled, Crif’s happily cooked up dogs and topped off beers (on the house!) for the whole neighborhood. A classic NYC moment for sure, and a fond memory I’ll never forget.
Ever since the East Village started gentrifying, Crif Dogs has been there to support the lifestyle of the young, drunk, cash-strapped, and hungry. Open until 4am on the weekends and 2am during the week, C-Dogs is an all hours neighborhood hang, ideal for Late Night Eats, cheap beers, and a game of Ms. Pacman. There is one downside though. At night, big crowds of dude-bros gather, trying to impress their dates by being granted access into PDT, the not-so-secret cocktail lounge next door that you enter through a not-so-secret phone booth in the restaurant. We’re over that hidden door, walk through a secret tunnel nonsense. Get in and get out with your dogs while the Jersey Shore plays the name drop game with the bouncer.
While Bark Hot Dogs are crisp and snappy, Crif Dogs of the softer variety. The buttered buns cling to the dogs, absorbing all the juicy goodness of the meat and toppings. With so many good options, picking which dog to ride isn’t easy. We suggest ordering at least one wrapped wiener - the pork and beef dogs taste even better inside a layer of bacon or ham. We like customizing our own Crif Dogs, but some of our favorite menu dogs include: Tsunami (bacon wrapped house dog with teriyaki, pineapple and green onions), The B.L.T. (bacon wrapped dog with lettuce, tomato and mayo), Morning Jersey (taylor ham wrapped dog with melted cheese and a fried egg) and the Spicy Redneck (bacon wrapped house dog with chili, cole slaw and jalapeño).
These crunchy potato blimps are reason enough to visit Crif Dogs, and impossible not to pound two at a time.
Crispy, relatively plain (you need to dump on the salt), and really effin good. They even deliver well, a sign that a restaurant pays close attention to detail. It’s rare that delivery fries taste equally as good as the ones fresh out of the kitchen, and these do.
When was the last time you saw a restaurant carry RC Cola? I didn’t even know that still existed. I think I was playing Turbo Grafx the last time I drank one of these. Points for nostalgia.