Japadog – Japanese/Fast Food – East Village
July 24th, 2012 by donuts4dinner

My friend Erin online-introduced me to her friend Lizzie back in 2008, and we quickly became Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and blogfriends. And by that I mean that we never actually met, despite living mere miles from each other. (Although one mile in Manhattan is like ten miles anywhere else.) But after four years, we finally forced a dinner a couple of weeks ago at Japadog in the East Village. And I’m not saying that eating a metric ton of wasabi mayo together makes people get along better, but it sure can’t hurt.

Japadog NYC
Tonkatsu dog: deep-fried pork cutlet marinated in tonkatsu sauce with fresh cabbage

Like a sweet and sour pork belly, this meat seemed to consist of at least half chewy, melty fat. The cabbage added crunch and brightness.

Japadog NYC
Croquette dog: Japanese croquette (fried mashed potato) and Arabiki sausage

Lizzie ordered hers with a veggie dog, which you can do with any of Japadog’s dogs. This is for people who scorn the idea that a meal shouldn’t be made up entirely of carbs.

Japadog NYC

Lizzie’s other veggie dog, which I believe was the Oroshi with grated daikon radish and “special” soy sauce. You get an idea of how huge and fluffy these buns are from this picture, but it still doesn’t convey exactly how hard they are to fit into your mouth.

Japadog NYC
Love Meat dog: homemade meat sauce and melted cheese

This website says this one is “popular to all ages”, despite its suggestive name. This was easily my favourite of the two Japadogs I tried, because um, it’s covered in three inches of cheese. I loved the smoky flavor from the blackened cheese and the meat-on-meat of the thick coney sauce over the hot dog. The chili cheese dog is the archetypal hot dog in my book, and this one did not disappoint.

Rating One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarBlank Star

All of the dogs we tried were just right flavor-wise, and the never-before-seen toppings were so novel that a lesser restaurant might have skimped on the links themselves; these were cooked so that I felt that much-desired snap when I bit into them. My only complaints were with the price of each dog, which were sometimes twice as much as that of the Crif Dogs right down the street, and the fact that my butter and shoyu French fries were completely unflavored until the last quarter of the bag. However, the last quarter of the bag tasted like fries covered in movie theatre popcorn butter, so I can overlook that. Especially since the tables at Japadog are plenty, the staff is sweet and friendly, and the decor is casual but cute enough that you could take a date here and not look like a cheapskate. You’ll look like a fool with chili and cheese all over your face, but that’s totally charming.

30 Saint Marks Place
New York, NY 10003 (map)

5 Responses  
  • Martha writes:
    July 24th, 201210:15 pmat

    Question: everytime I make it into the City (from suburbia…usually with children who eat most things happily) I am craving a big plate of perfectly crispy, fatty pork. What would be your recommendation?

    Thanks! I love your blog btw, you remind me of myself 12 years ago:-)

    • donuts4dinner writes:
      July 25th, 20129:58 amat

      Thanks for commenting! You have children who eat more than chicken nuggets?! Bless them.

      You have tons of terrific options for pork, but I think the best one as far as crispy and fatty goes is Porchetta. You can get it as a platter or a sandwich, and it has all of the crunch and chew and melt you could want. Take it to Tompkins Square Park with some of the ginger soda they sell, and you have yourself a picnic.

      My next-favourite is probably Obao, which isn’t as drip-down-your-arms moist as Porchetta’s, but it’s certainly as crisp if not moreso. You could make an eating tour of 53rd Street and get the pork belly at Obao, a small plate at Social Eatz next door, and a roll from the Kati Roll Company across the street.

      Fatty Crab and Num Pang also have excellent pork dishes/sandwiches, and Sakagura has a “special stewed diced pork” that’s one of the most delicious things you can buy in NYC for under $5. It’s a huge slab of tender, fatty pork belly, but it’s not crispy, so it may not check all of the boxes for you. You still have to try it sometime, though.

  • Jessica R. writes:
    July 25th, 201210:05 amat

    Fried mashed potatoes on a hot dog?! Sign me up!

  • Martha writes:
    July 30th, 20126:21 pmat

    Thanks for the great suggestions! Porchetta is at the top of my list next time we are in the city. And, yes, I am so blessed with boys who eat real food-the more exotic, the better. Foie? Yep! Uni sashimi? Yum! :-)

    • donuts4dinner writes:
      August 1st, 201212:30 pmat

      They’re going to be so bored when they’re my age! I didn’t eat foie and uni until I was probably 27. It’s going to be all bugs and innards for them by the time they turn 18. Hope they blog about it!

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