Hank’s Haute Dogs

Reid, 9. November 2007, 17:52

(on Coral Street in Kakaako)

I was excited to try this place because I like sausages, and I read that Hank’s was serving a variety of sausages–Portuguese, Polish, Italian, chicken, among others.

Hank has local roots although he was supposedly a successful restauranteur in Chicago. Here are some of the “dogs” I’ve tried:

Chicago dog: This came with the works, Chicago style–pickles, relish, tomato and onions. Hank’s brings the condiments from Chicago. (He told me that just by the smell he can tell if it’s from Chicago, or something to that effect.) The relish were a bright green and definitely had a different taste. (I can’t really describe it, but it had a fresher, crisper quality.) More importantly, Hank brings in the Vienna brand sausages for this dog. He told me that what separates this from stuff from Costco is the casing. The verdict? It was OK. I don’t care for all the condiments, and the dog was OK, nothing spectacular. I honestly didn’t think it was better than Sam’s Club’s polish or all-beef dogs. Plus, Sam’s is cheaper and a bit bigger. (Hank”s are about six inches)

Bratwurst I wanted this grilled, but they do this boiled. I thought it was a little mushy and not kinda bland.

Italian This was pretty good, although not something I would make a strong effort to get. (This is served only on Tuesday.)

They have daily specials. According to Hank the favorite of the people working there is the rabbit. He thinks it has something to do with the spices/seasoning. That’s served on Wednesday.

They also have a duck and foie gras dog, and Hank is excited about the a new seafood sausage he’ll offer soon.

The dogs are between $5-$6.

Oh yeah, one of the best things I liked was the dipping sauces he had for the fries–curry ketchup, wasabi-cream and some kind of aioli. They were all tasty.

Hank’s Haute Dogs pt 2

I went this past Friday to try their lobster dog. The “dog” is made up of scallops, shrimp and fish in addition to the lobster. It also comes with the wasabi aioli sauce, takuan (real mild) and I think the Chicago relish. (The owner really tries to get the right condiments, so you should try what he recommends.) The concept of a seafood sausage appeals to me because I love seafood and I love sausages. However, most of the ones I’ve had in the past have been disappointing. The seafood is usually mashed and blended together creating a vienna sausage type consistency. The flavors are indistinct and bland.

Not so with this lobster dog. The casing gives is a firmer texture, and the seafood inside is not so mushy (although it’s far from crisp), and the flavors really blend well. I must say the condiments also really add to the dog, too.

However, the downside is that the dogs are not very big–similar in size to a typical oscar meyer dog. And they’re not cheap, coming in at a $10.50! They’re very good though–definitely the best I’ve had there.

I also tried their rabbit and veal sausage. The owner said that this was the favorite of all the workers there. It was good, and up until the lobster sausage this was probably the best I had. Having said that, I can barely recall the taste of the sausage. The sausage was kinda mild in flavor, but the seasoning and condiments worked well with this. I can’t remember the price but it was over $5.

I’m going to try their duck foie gras and kobe beef; the latter developed by Chef Dale from Bravo’s Top Chef program. According to the owner, Dale was one of the cooks at the upscale restaurant he owned in Chicago.

Mitchell, August 2008
Hank’s Haute Dogs in Kakaako

I’ve heard so much buzz about this place’s shipping in its casings from the mainland to offer specialty dogs that I couldn’t wait to get a day to try it. Reid’s been there a few times, but Penny and I hadn’t checked it out yet, so we went last Friday.

We ordered the lobster dog, the classic Chicago dog, and the andouille dog. The buns on all three were a bready, soft bun sort of like a potato bun but not that soft. I liked them. Reid didn’t, but he thought the potato-type bun at Teddy’s Bigger Burger was no good either and preferred the ciabatta-type bun at South Shore Grill. If the food contained in the bun isn’t too greasy or saucy, the potato bun works a lot better for me.

We split each dog three ways. I forgot to bring a camera.

The Chicago dog was in the classic mold, including bright green relish, a pepper, and a dill pickle spear. This was mediocre at best. The flavor was bland and just not very beefy or interesting. There’s no way it was better than the dollar-fifty beef dogs at Costco, which come with a soda and are a little heftier. Five bucks for this thing made it clearly not a winner.

The andouille dog had a nice, smoky flavor, and it was grilled so that it had a really nice char on it. I generally prefer a really good beefy flavor for a hot dog, but this was a nice departure. I haven’t had a lot of andouille, so I don’t have much experience to compare it to anything; however, just on its own terms it was a quality dog.

The lobster dog is a special and only available on some days. It’s also $10.50. Made with ground lobster and other seafood, it is a flavorful, crumbly dog stuffed into a thin casing. While the thing was loaded with flavor, it didn’t provide much in the way of bite or mouthfeel. I guess I’m saying it wasn’t very hot-dog-like, but for what it was, it was good. I wouldn’t pay $10.50 for it again, ‘though I might pay one-third of that for one-third of the dog, as I did Friday.

In fact, I think this is the best way to eat at Hank’s: take a few friends and get a few different things, dividing the dogs up so everyone gets a little of everything. We also had two orders of fries and because there were three of us, we ordered four different dipping sauces ($.25 to $.50 each) and this added a fun, tasty dimension to the meal I otherwise wouldn’t have had if I’d eaten alone. The dipping sauces were a creamy aioli, a chili-ketchup, a wasabi-mayo kind of thing, and some kind of thousand-island type of sauce. They were all good, but the wasabi thing was the best and was a nice balance to the chili-ketchup thing. Having four sauces to play with (and what amounted to only two-thirds of an order of fries) in this way was great. So take friends. Take me: I’ll go. We each had drinks (Diet Cokes for two of us and a strawberry hibiscus lemonade for the other) and our bill came out to about thirteen bucks each. Too expensive to have every day, but certainly reasonable for once in a while.

Renee, August 2008
the bg girlz (my sister’s workplace peeps) were SO into this place last year that we’ve pretty much gone thru the whole menu. you’re right—it’s a good idea to get a bunch of people together so everyone can sample the different flavors if you’re not already familiar with this place. because the portions are small, once you’ve found your favorites, you’re not going to want to share. if you want to try the onion rings, get your own order, ’cause i’m not parting with even one and if you don’t like them, i’ll eat the rest of yours too =D. they season theirs with celery salt & while i’m not a fan of anything celery, i went out and bought my own bottle of celery salt after trying these rings. i love all their drinks – the pineapple ice is particularly refreshing on hot days.

my fave dog was a special & if it’s on the menu board, just get it. it’s called a fatboy: a hot dog, wrapped in bacon & thrown into the deep fryer & served with shredded lettuce & tomatoes and mayo (a play on the blt). i’m hoping it’ll have so many requests that they’ll be forced to put it on the regular menu. it wasn’t available yesterday, so we ended up getting the andouille. my sister likes the chili dog. amanda loves the no-dog. the lobster one was pretty good, though one bite’s enough for me. note that they do try to get the best combination of flavors with the condiments, so if you’re prone to making omissions/substitutions, it’s probably best not to do so here until you’ve tried the originals first. i normally would be inclined to omit the takuan on the lobster dog, but i must admit that it works here. brat’s not bad & i’m not wild about the chicken one. i haven’t had the p.sge. one mainly b/c i like purity mild & they use a diff. brand. i had the hank’s frank at a special olympics event & it was okay, but with all the other menu options available, why go with the basic stuff?

they have additional menu items in the evenings like the truffled mac & cheese. check the website for hours & additional info. btw, they just opened a second location in the international marketplace in waikiki. there’s several items on that menu that they don’t have at the original location, but i wouldn’t go out of my way to get there if you’re not already in waikiki.

4 Responses to “Hank’s Haute Dogs”

  1. Reid

    We went here this weekend, and it looks like Renee got her wish: the fatboy is on the regular menu. We got that, plus fries fried in duck fat (which didn’t seem to make much difference.) The fatboy was good, but I didn’t love it as much as Renee. (Larri liked it more than I did.)

  2. Don

    What dog(s) would you recommend?

  3. Reid


    I like the lobster dog, but 1.) they only serve in on Fridays; 2.) it’s over $10; 3.) it’s small–about four bites worth. I really like the taste of it, though (the selected condiments go well with it), and even the texture was better than I thought. (I expected something more mushy.) As much as I like the lobster dog, I’m not enthusiastic about getting this again (for the reasons above).

    If you don’t mind the drawbacks I mentioned above, I’d get the lobster dog. (I’m pretty sure you’re going to be very dissatisfied given the value.)

    Honestly, I can’t remember the other dogs so much–although that’s indicative of what I think of them. I do remember the ones that were let-downs: the foie gras and also the kobe. The fatboy–the bacon wrapped and deep-fried–was OK. You might like that.

    I also like the dipping sauces they offer. People rave about their onion rings, but you may get annoyed by the quantity (five or so pieces) and the cost.

  4. Reid


    I ate the lobster dog recently and it wasn’t that good. The first time I ate this, I’m pretty sure they put shrimp and scallops–not so this time. The flavor was lacking and it was more mushy than I remember.

    Larri’s really likes the fatboy–so much so that this might be a favorite lunch spot for her.

    I tried the Chicago dog recently, and, for some reason, I liked it a lot better this time. My theory is that when I first went to Hank’s, I was expecting a really good (unique) tasting hot dog/sausage. The Chicago dog fails in this regard (although it’s not a bad tasting dog by any means). When I ate it recently, I don’t think I had those expectations, and I enjoyed the way the condiments worked with the dog–the juices and crunch of the pickle and the peppers worked really well. I liked the tomato, too. Weird.

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