The Haute Dog at Serendipity 3, New York, NY

Yesterday, Swagger and I took a trip to the city to try the world's most expensive hot dog, the "haute" dog from Serendipity 3 in New York. This dog was deemed the most expensive by the Guinness Book of World Records last year and features a 12 inch hot dog grilled in truffle oil inside a pretzel bun grilled with truffle butter with duck fois gras on top and three condiments on the side- caramelized Vidalia onions, truffled Dijon mustard, and Heirloom tomato ketchup for the low, low price of $69. Pretty fancy, but was it up to snuff?If you've never been to Serendipity, it's like taking a trip back to your "confirmed bachelor" uncle's house as a child- you know, the one that bordered on being a hybrid shrine to Chippendale's and Judy Garland. With a nearly sterile color palate of white, off-white and bright white, it has the feel of an old-fashioned ice cream parlor- one with the occasional homoerotic wall decoration. The menu is preserved in the mid-fifties, with items such as the Virginia Slim Open, a turkey-based sandwich, and the One-Eyed Jack (no explanation needed).But we, that is to say, Swagger and I, had bigger game in mind. Thanks to the magical powers of PR Head Joe Calderone, we headed in at five and got to tackle the beast. We sated our palates with Serendipity's classic libation, the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. I had tried to prepare myself for this ahead of time, but wasn't entirely aware of the full threshold of chocolate we were about to endure. This was an extremely rich, refreshing drink served in a receptacle that could have comfortably housed a couple of goldfish, never mind a massive drink. Despite its size, it was easy to slurp down and was mighty quenching during our lunch. It is also apparently easy to replicate, thanks to TEH WUNDERS OF OPRAH. I may not have been able to distinguish the provenance of the FHC's blend of 14 chocolates from Cote D'Ivoire to Chuao, but the flavor was bold and well-blended. Perfect for yesterday's gorgeous weather.

Our hot dog arrived swiftly after a pleasant bout of rapport with the staff and Joe, and to the chagrin and hatred of the primarily JAP clientele, we were immediately the center of attention. Finally, I was the apotheosis of all my Jewish American Princess fantasies. The hot dog was here. It is truly the best of its kind, therefore, it cannot be judged on a scale of normal hot dogs. Unfortunately, as a result of its excellence I hold it to a higher standard than the quotidian tube steak. A hot dog's appeal lies in a careful balance of its ingredients. The rich fattiness of a beef hot dog is cushioned by a bun, and in return, both lubricated and counterbalanced by a cadre of primarily acidic condiments- ketchup, mustard, relish, all things with a high level of vinegar and tang. Even richer condiments can propel a dog onto a higher plane- who hasn't crushed on a bacon wrapped hot dog?The main issues lay in the composition of the hot dog. While each individual component was expertly prepared- especially the pretzel baguette that I would have been happy to slather with butter and eat alone, eaten together they were not as compatible as I'd have imagined. Everything about this was done on an enormous scale. Fois gras, though decadent, was just overwhelming along with the truffle oil laced hot dog, a savory and slippery delight. The pretzel bread took up 2/3 of each bite. It was truly massive and more suited to a massive hoagie sandwich or two hot dogs at once and really threw off the ratio of each bite. Luckily, the extra bits shaved off each bite made excellent vehicles for the condiments, all tangy, flavorful and very fresh, the most outstanding being the Heirloom tomato ketchup, though it's more justified to call it jam, with an upfront charred flavor and red pepper accents, it accentuated the saltiness in the bread without adding to it.After three bites, I was stuffed. I'd been bested, but by the best- the smooth, creamy fois gras really did me in. While I can't say that this was a perfect hot dog, it was certainly exceptional for its category. For the world's most expensive hot dog, it's affordable enough to split the cost with friends if only for nostalgic purposes. With crisp and impeccable service and a perfect balance of kitsch and class, this is a place I'd visit again in the future. Again, a huge thanks is in order to Joe Calderone for his hospitality.

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