Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nathan's?... In Birmingham? - Wall Street Deli

Who would think that one can buy a Nathan's hot dog in downtown Birmingham. Nathan's is the legendary hot dog that started many years ago at Coney Island. To read what New Yorker's think about these hot dogs one would think that they are sent from on high.

So this week we went for hot dogs two days in a row. The second day we ended up at the Wall Street Deli in the food court at the Harbert Center where they prominently advertise Nathan's Hot Dogs.

Here we were at the Wall Street Deli for a late lunch. We like to get there late because we miss the noon crowd and sometime get to talk with the entrepreneur. We started ordering our hot dogs and quickly realized that these hot dogs would be called "jumbo" at most places so we modified our order to be a total of three dogs rather than two each. We ended up splitting a traditional hot dog, then each getting a chili dog. Mine was a chili cheese dog!

When they prepare these hot dogs they pull the wiener from a container labeled "caution hot"; then place it in a peculiar little grill where it is grilled a short time (I suspect not long enough. I also wonder if the label on the other container is necessary). They then take great pains to put on the toppings desired by the customer.

Robert and I agreed on our assessment of this meal. The hot dogs are good, but not exceptional. They taste like what would be called a "Polish Sausage" at most places. The unique recipe didn't taste very unique to us. We also agreed that we don't particularly care for hot dogs that overflow so badly that they must be eaten with a knife and fork. Finally, we agreed that we like our hot dogs served hot rather than warm. While the taste was good the experience was not one that made either of us yearn for a repeat performance. The chili was good but the dogs were nothing special in the end. Not to be avoided, but not worth going too far out of your way for. Here's a thought, we were asked if they were for take-out or for there; I wouldn't want to unwrap one of these overloaded hot dogs later. It would really be a mess.

We had a great time; we ate in a beautiful food court on the balcony under the sky light (not the "Mid Town Food Court" below) ; but we went away a little disappointed; somehow the experience didn't live up to the legand. I would still take the opportunity to buy a Nathan's hot dog if in New York city, but my expectations would be a little lower after this experience.