Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hot diggity dog!

Tricked-out hot dogs are en vogue in America, teasing wagging tongues with genius accoutrements that most likely were never dreamed of back in the days when chili was the top exotic condiment to dress a frank. D's Six Pack & Dogz follows the craze religiously, cranking out dogs smothered in heavyweight garnishes creative enough to dazzle a foodie set but approachable enough to please a beer-guzzling crowd, as its name suggests. Beer signs and sports paraphernalia in the Monroeville, PA, branch fit snugly like puzzle pieces with D's ultra casual menu, but tables covered with bygone images from 19th century general goods catalogs are better suited for a hip gastropub. Our hip-slung waiter also looked liked an odd piece within the meathead scene at D's. His James Dean swagger was backed up by a slight, slicked-back pompadour, Elvis style. He was cordial, but sluggish, perhaps a bit bitter for having to toil away on the afternoon eve of New Year's day, serving wieners and booze to already rip-roaring customers.

I chowed down to the Red Alert, a hot-headed dog loaded with an avalanche of fiery jalapeno and pickled peppers and sprinkled with a snow of cayenne pepper. The chunks of blazing peppers revealed a plump all-beef grilled puppy that yielded a subtle snap and generous juiciness. A poppy seed studded bun, an unlikely gourmet option in this pub-heavy venue, served as the vessel to hold all components securely together. My brother abandoned his Pittsburgh roots to toy with the Chicago dog, a well-outfitted frank spilling with relish, onions, pickles, tomatoes, peppers, mustard and just a touch of celery salt to round the flavors out with spark. Other frisky dogs at D's include a stretchy mac and cheese and the Roethlisberger-inspired Big Ben (a fries and coleslaw number - the essential Pittsburgh toppings).

For a featherweight, but satisfying side, bypass staid fries and sample an extra large basket of D's home-fried chips for size. Our spicy Cajun-dusted slices of spuds produced a dichotomy of crunchy and chewy textures, which is exactly how I fancy my artisan chips to feel. We ordered a heap of blue cheese dressing to slather upon our chips, but the Cajun seasoning alone sufficed for devilish flavor.

D's list of beer options extends beyond the regional Yuengling and Rolling Rock. Grab a six pack to go and mix and match your set with D's domestic and international offerings. Or stay put for a while and kick back on a towering microbrew in between your slovenly bites. If you lean toward something dark and full-bodied, gurgle about with the Duck Rabbit Milk Stout. The lactose-based sweetness balances the deep roasted grains and dark chocolate finale.

You could order other greasy pub goodies like gooey pizza pies, lip-smacking chicken wings and the arch nemesis, the burger, but do as the name encourages and immerse yourself into a decorated hot dog, plus variety six pack of brewskis. Wagging tongues shall be tamed.

D's Six Pack & Dogz
Web site: 

Monroeville, PA
4320 Northern Pike

Ph: 412-856-5666

Swissvale, PA

1118 South Braddock Avenue
Ph: 412-241-4666

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