Definitely one of the most established and hyped hot-dog places in New York with branches all over the city. Of course, to do a proper review I had see where it all started.
|I love the little hot dog man|
Half the appeal of Nathan's is the location. Coney Island feels about as far away from Manhattan as possible, with open space, a beach, boardwalk, carnival, freak sideshow, the whole shebang. Actually, in many ways it reminded me of being Santa Cruz, CA, but without the hula-hoop twirling hippies.
|For the sake of tact, I cut out the ambulance to the left.|
Despite the apparent health hazards the crowd wasn't deterred, and a small barrier like a trip to the ER wasn't going to stop me from trying the most famous hot dog in NY. Besides, according to my television the nurses in emergency rooms are as spicy as andouille sausage.
The Item: 4/5
Good! Surprisingly good! The dogs have a bold flavors and a great snap, quintessentially hotdog like. They slightly toast the buns on the same griddle as the dogs, which is a nice perk, but if you get toppings it will soak right through and make the bun soggy. The hotdogs are thin, and the toppings are thick, a ratio I'm not usually fond of, but the flavor cuts through well. I even detected a hint of spice, though it may be the onion/pepper combo of toppings. I also tried a corn dog which was....ordinary. Too much corn, not enough dog, which is too bad since the dogs are pretty tasty.
|Observe the hot dog shaped grease stain on the lid. Delicious.|
Here lies the heart of most complaints about Nathan's, the price. I agree, $3.50 is too damn much for a hotdog. It's not a sausage or organic or anything special, it's just a thin, but tasty, hotdog; what you're really paying for is the experience of being there and the hype. I got three dogs and a drink, and dropped about $15. I'd recommend getting a kids meal, it comes with a dog, fries and a drink for $5.99, not bad.
|So far the record is 68 hot dogs. Yum.|
What put the 'other' category into the 4 range instead of a 3, however, was the annual hot dog eating contest Nathan's sponsors. This level of street meat cultural contribution cannot go unrecognized. The next contest will be held at Nathan's flagship store in Coney Island on July 4th, 2011. I'm going. (update: I went, it was the kind of horror akin to watching a slow motion train hurtling towards a cliff and wondering if the brakes will work in time. Everyone should go once)..
Overall Score: 4/5
Despite the above-average price and all the hype, I completely enjoyed my experience at Nathan's. The dogs were good, the atmosphere was nice, the drinks are plentiful, and the beach is lovely. I'm sure I'll go back again, just be sure to chew thoroughly so you don't end up in the hospital too.