The Star Ledger S.W.A.T. Dog report
Week three, full sauerkraut speed ahead. The S.W.A.T. Dog Team started at Tony's Specialized Hot Dogs, a fixture in Newark's Branch Brook Park for 30-plus years. Loved the sign on the truck panel: "Do not touch. Look, it's hot!"
What's hot are Tony's onions. "The hottest onions I've ever had," reported team member Kamal Brown, who does not shy from fiery food.
Tony's Super Dog -- chili, onions, cheese, mustard, relish, hot onions -- had the S.W.A.T. Dog's driver delirious with delight.
Next, we visited one of the state's hot dog shrines, Rutt's Hut in Clifton. It was rippers -- deep-fried hot dogs, the skins ripped open -- all around. "A classic," said John Fox, who also raved about the relish. But fill-in member Gayll Fisher disagreed. "This dog is not barking," she pronounced.
The Big Dog then rumbled to the Hot Grill, also in Clifton. Love the counter repartee here; one guy shouts out your order, another guy repeats it. Our crew wasn't crazy about the chili. Jeff Greene described the dog as "an average deep-fried dog, uninspiring," but Fox disagreed, calling it "a classic North Jersey Texas weiner."
You could call Clifton Hot Dog Central. The New Corral, also in Clifton, offers an upscale diner setting with your dog. Once again, a split jury. "As bland and tasteless a hot dog as I've ever eaten," Greene huffed. "Deep-fried to perfection," Brown countered. "Good girth, but ultimately quotidian," said Mike Goldberger, quoting Shakespeare, or someone.
One last stop: historic Libby's Lunch in Paterson, across the street from the Great Falls. "Typical Passaic County dog -- pork dogs do fry up nice," Brown weighed in. "One of the best Texas weiners in New Jersey," added Fox, who also admired the "nice and spicy" chili.
Next week: The S.W.A.T. Dog team rolls into Union County.
Note: Have a favorite hot dog stop? Let us know! Call the Munchmobile Hotline at (973) 392-1765 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org