The first visual customers will notice when walking into the casual mustard-yellow and ketchup-red themed hot dog stand is its enticing house specialty dogs menu.
Fab Hot Dogs offers 23 house specials, many of which are inspired by regional versions of gourmet meaty wieners in a bun.
The restaurant’s original concept was to have hot dogs from all around the country, such as the Carolina Slaw Dog, which is a steamed all-beef dog topped with chili southern coleslaw and mustard ($4.15), the Kansas City Dog which is a bacon-wrapped all-beef dog topped with BBQ sauce grilled onions and cheddar cheese ($4.15) and its best seller, the L.A. Street Dog ($4.15), which is what I chose.
After one bite from the L.A. street dog, my mouth was confused from the combination of flavors and textures. Even though the soft all-beef dog was wrapped in bacon, I could barely taste it. The combination of yellow mustard, ketchup and jalapeños quickly scorched my mouth, but the mayo and fresh red tomatoes subtly began to cut down the spicy torment. Once the initial hell-in-mouth party was over, the crunchy grilled peppers and onion strips became the focal point. I wish the peppers and onions were more charred and the meal had more mayo to cut down the spice.
Those who stand in line in front of Staples Center to buy a L.A. street dog may also know them as the Danger Dog, Tijuana Dog and Ghetto Dog. Yet there is an important distinction between the street side vendors’ version and Fabs’ L.A. dog: while the dogs bought on the street are often grilled, Fabs makes it a point to fry theirs.
“The reason we fry it is because we want to make sure the bacon is cooked through all the way,” said Joe Fabrocini, owner of Fab Hot Dogs. “A lot of times if you go to those stands downtown, you can unwrap the bacon, and see it is raw on the inside, which isn’t good.”
The family-owned wiener stand offers the free “I Ate It All Card,” which encourages customers to try something new by eating everything on the menu within one year in order to get their face on the “I Ate It All” wall of fame.
“It’s my new life goal to finish the ‘I Ate it All Card,’” said Cody Robinson, a Fabs patron.
Robinson said his next meal will be the Spicy Redneck, which is a bacon-wrapped all-beef dog topped with a fried egg, American cheese with mayo or hot salsa ($4.60). He recommended the Bald Eagle Ripper, with meat made up of pork, beef and semolina flower imported from Northern New Jersey.
According to Fabrocini, this top-quality, East coast-style hot dog with natural casing is fried in vegetable oil, which creates an extra crispy and charred texture, and is topped with homemade spicy mustard relish ($3.50).
“It’s epic meal time,” Robinson said.
4 out of 5 stars