Best of 2005: Haute Dogs – at a Price

High-end hot dogs are on menus all over town.

High-end hot dogs are on menus all over town. Do ingredients such as Kobe beef and a house-made bun–not to mention a heftier price tag–ensure a snappier bite? Here are four that are worth the money.

Frank Ruta's spicy creation at Palena (3529 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-537-9250; $10) tastes more like a bratwurst, but it's a thing of beauty. The side of tart German potato salad is a perfect foil.

Some say the condiments are the best part of a hot dog, and those aren't the only people who'll like the Kobe dog on a pretzel roll at Creme (1322 U St., NW; 202-234-1884; $9). Dressings include kimchee, tomato marmalade, and two kinds of mustard.

Two could easily share the behemoth at the steakhouse Old Homestead (7501 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda; 301-654-2006; $19), generously stuffed with Kobe beef and slathered with sweet Kobe chili. Peppery Tater Tots and melted Cheshire cheddar verge on overkill, but when you're eating a footlong, isn't that the point?

The hot dog on the lunch menu at Johnny's Half Shell (2002 P St., NW; 202-296-2021; $7.50) isn't necessarily fancy, but it's hard to find a simple dog grilled right. For toppings, we like the bleu cheese and onions.

Washingtonian staffers contributing to this section were Cristina Abello, Susan Baer, Susan Davidson, Ken DeCell, Rebecca Dreilinger, Kim Isaac Eisler, Mary Clare Fleury, Kimberly Forrest, Brooke Lea Foster, Garrett M. Graff, Cynthia Hacinli, Thomas Head, Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Chad Lorenz, Leslie Milk, Aparna Nancherla, William O'Sullivan, Cindy Rich, and Chris Wilson. Also contributing were Cathy Alter, Ann Cochran, and Matthew Graham.

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