Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Scotty Dog

The Scotty Dog
There's something about a beautiful day that just makes you want to eat a hot dog. It kind of defies all logic... that mix of nasty bits whipped up into a large chunk of sodium heart attack delight. But think about it, on a beautiful day, how likely is it that when you have the choice of fried chicken or a hot dog that you choose the fried chicken? Or hot dog versus a salad? Hot dog, obvi. How about a hot dog versus a pizza? Hot dog wins again. Hot dog versus lobster roll? Well... that one's not really fair, is it?
At any rate, there are a few hot dog joints up on the North Shore. There used to be Rondogs, which was kind of a Beverly institution. Unfortunately, Rondog's has closed and the other places available aren't really anything special, so on this lovely day we headed to the location of the original Rondogs to give a new car hop style hot dog stand that had come to replace the much beloved eatery a try.
The new hot dog stand is called the Scotty Dog. It looks similar to the old joint, but of course with a new sign and such. There are three picnic tables, and a few adirondack chairs, but the location, smack at the corner of Rantoul and Elliot Streets is everything you should expect it to be. It's an intersection. Lots of honking, no beautiful vistas, just a few nice young ladies running out to cars to take orders, and the smell of sweet sweet exhaust until your food arrives. 
Now... what to order? Just get a hot dog you dope. Don't go for the burgers or whatever else you might see on the menu. Order up a specialty dog, and I highly recommend the Scotty Chicago Dog.
The Chicago Dog
Gaze upon the symphony of flavor composed within a poppy seed bun. This version of a Chicago dog far surpasses any of the Chicago dog copy cats that you might find at other hot dog stands in the area. Part of it is that they nailed all of the elements. The neon green relish. The sport peppers. The sliver of pickle. The onions. The celery salt, tomato wedges and spicy mustard. There's an awful lot of crunch and spice within the pillow of a poppy seed roll, enough so that you might be able to report to your mother that you actually had a salad with your lunch today. But generally speaking, they've just really hit a sweet spot with each of the components that you might find in a similar dog ordered at Super Dog of Chicago. (Yes, I'm sure it's not as good as that which you find in Chicago, but for around here, it's pretty darn great.) Finally, I do have to speak to the reason for the name of the dish, right? The sausage itself is wonderful: vienna beef, as advertised, with that natural casing snap. It's salty and juicy and savory, plus screams baseball and summer and sunshine like nothing else on this planet possibly could. Go Red Sox!!!!!!
The Eileen Ruben Dog
We didn't stop with just the Chicago dog. Onto the Eileen Rueben Dog. This was another excellent dog. Same vienna beef sausage and poppy bun, but this time served up with a slice of American cheese (don't turn your nose up... you love it), grilled sauerkraut and a couple good squeezes of thousand island dressing. Just as a proper rueben comes together with the sweet and tangy dressing, a salty and sour pickle flavor of the sauerkraut, and the fantastic salty savoriness of a meat element, this dog really is a bad for you symphony of nom nom nom. I don't even know what that means. It was great, that's what it means.
The CFO Dog
For our final tour of Scotty Dog's offerings, we ordered the CFO. Chief Financial Officer? If you see a CFO eating this thing, you should high five the powerman. Again, same solid dog, same solid bun. But this time, topped with grilled onions, a homemade pickle relish (in which the relish resembles an actual dice of dill pickles rather than a sweet glop of relish from a bottle), and another smear of their mustard. With the sweetness of the wilted onions and the sour crunch of those pickles, with the further addition of a touch of minced dill (herbs? on a hot dog!!), your salty vienna sausage really is dressed up to something borderline sophisticated, but still hip enough to party. Needless to say, another winner from the Scotty Dog.
The Fries
I should also say that if you are so inclined to order a side dish, the french fries are pretty darn good. Nicely salted, piping hot, and with that touch of fast food crunch. No complaints here.
So, if you find yourself hankering for a dog on a beautiful day, take a trip down to the Scotty Dog. Despite being located in a kind of crappy area of Beverly... sights and sounds of an angry intersection and all, you'll find their hot dogs absolutely delectable.

The Scotty Dog
 437 Rantoul Street
Beverly, MA

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