Though the grand opening of Adams Morgan hot dog shop M’Dawg Haute Dogs has been extended and re-extended over the last month, owner Scott Bennett promises “this is it.” Slated to open late next week, M’Dawg (pronounced “mah dog,” like the endearing pet name) will feature at least 12 wursts and wieners from our nation’s sausage capitals–including DC: Bennett promises the half-smoke will be “killer.”
The permanent menu will also include the New Jersey Ripper (a deep-fried, split down-the-middle Vienna Beef dog), the Sheboygan Bratwurst (Milwaukee soul food), a “standard” red hot, a homemade corn dog (with corn meal batter by David Greggory chef Greggory Hill), a veggie dog made from portabella mushroom and tofu, a venison dog, along with a few imports from Italy and Germany.
In the same vein as its sister business Amsterdam Falafel (located across the street), M’Dawg Haute Dogs will include an elaborate garnish table laden with funky relishes, chutneys (such as apricot), slaws (a Southern-styled one) and other spreads, all created by Hill. The David Greggory chef, who’s been moonlighting as a hotdog craftsman and who accompanied the Bennetts on a nationwide frank-tasting tour, “doesn’t sit still,” says Bennett, who has spent many hours watching Hill play with garnish concoctions. Of course plain old ketchup and mustard will be available, but Bennett, along with wife and co-owner Arianne, believes in the power of fixins bars. “No one in America, let alone Washington is doing it.”
The team is putting finishing touches on the décor—as of last week, local muralist Byron Peck still had a ways to go on the painted walls—but the Bennetts are still collecting candid shots of Washington-area pups (A window sign asks for photos by Dec 31, 2006, but they’ll accept entries over the next few weeks.): While one table is devoted to their own “dawgs” Saxon and Duce, an empty counter space near the front window still needs some character.
Like Amsterdam Falafel, the Bennett's new place will be open all-hours, for sober snacking or a late-night alternative to Jumbo Slice.
M'Dawg Haute Dogs, 2418 18th St., NW.