Following the burger’s lead, the hot dog has gone gourmet, and its upscale makeover — you’ll find a veal corn dog at Lacroix — makes it worth a second look. Still, the Kobe version at Rouge had us skeptical: Isn’t the whole point of eating up-market beef to experience its buttery texture? But as Rouge chef Matt Zagorski — whose Kobe wiener is actually Australian Wagyu — explains, “Beef that comes from a better cow yields a better, less greasy product. The meat is so flavorful that it doesn’t need as much processing and seasoning as a regular hot dog.” To settle the matter, we just had to test one out. The Rouge dog, on a proudly proffered Pepperidge Farm roll, sweetened up with house-made relish and dabbed with whole-grain aioli, is so good and snappy (thanks to a natural casing) that you have to remind yourself to slow down and enjoy every last $15 bite.
Taste: Eat This Now: Hot Dogs
Originally published in Philadelphia Magazine, August 2009