Is it fair to compare the new Hot G Dog restaurant in Uptown to the now-shuttered Hot Doug’s? In ways. After all, the gourmet hot dog spot has clearly been influenced by Doug Sohn, and not just because Juan Carlos Garcia and Octavio Garcia once worked as line cooks at the famed sausage emporium before opening Hot G Dog. The menu too is quite similar to what once graced Sohn’s menu, and the sausages are still sourced from Chicago Game and Gourmet.
All that said, Hot G Dog is still its own place. Classic Hot Doug’s sausages may be on the menu here, but with a new twist (and new toppings) thanks to the Garcias. Duck fat fries are available here too — but not just on Friday and Saturday. Because — get this — it’s open on Sundays too, which means you can get your hot dog fix any time during the weekend. In fact, the counter-service restaurant is open every day of the week, including dinner hours (except on Sunday).
The restaurant too occupies a larger space, which (so far) seems to prevent waiting too long in the line. That said, as a new restaurant — unlike Sohn’s Hot Doug’s which had decades upon decades of practice — there are still some kinks to work out, especially since it is particularly hard not to think of Hot Doug’s while being here. Patrons nab tables while their friends or family wait in lines (a practice not allowed at Hot Doug’s), and the wait for the specially-crafted sausages does take longer than at Sohn’s emporium. When this Examiner went, patrons also had to request their tables to be cleaned.
But again, as the Garcias gain more experience at the front of the house — although they’re still involved in the cooking of the dogs — those issues will surely be worked out (hopefully).
Plus, at the end of the day, what really matters at Hot G Dog is the quality of the sausages, and these doggies? They’re easily on par with the best of the best from Hot Doug’s. The duck sausage — an incantation of the foie gras dog — comes topped with truffle aioli, fleur de sel, and of course, foie gras mousse. The linguica, an old standby at Doug’s, is perfectly balanced and meaty with its smoked gouda cheese, french fried onions, and black olive sauce. And they also offer a rotating ‘special,’ such as the hearty pheasant with cognac.
And don’t forget about the ‘regular’ dogs too. The corn dog is, easily, the best in the city with the exterior not overcooked. The Chicago style too tasted fresh and snappy, although the dog itself seemed a bit overwhelmed by all the array of toppings.
Overall, Hot G Dog is worth a trip, and if you were a die-hard fan of Hot Doug’s — tattoo and all — you’ll find a home here too. Just don’t forget cash.