The Czajkowski: What do this sandwich and The 1812 Overture have in common?
Once it decided to establish a second branch in Williamsburg, nobody expected Crif Dogs to completely retain its sense of louche culinary transgressionalism, which had been expressed not only through its habit of wrapping hot dogs in bacon, deep-frying them, and then slapping on a piece of cheese, but in its dank basement premises and lewd logo of a scantily clad woman riding a hot dog as if it were … OK, a dick.
The trim and tony exterior suggests a more elevated place than the subterranean enclave that is the East Village Crif Dogs.
Indeed, the new place looks like a rec room in an Ivy League fraternity house, with an antique Ms. Pac-Man table, a neatly mounted series of showy skateboards, stamped tin ceiling that might have come from Restoration Hardware, and a set of matched tables and chairs that suggest no one had salvaged them from a used restaurant supply store on the Bowery, which is exactly what the original place looked like.
In line with its newly exalted premises, and consequent necessity of meeting the rent, a breakfast has been added, served from 7 a.m. (ouch!) to noon every weekday, and dubbed “brunch” from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. on weekends. (“Brunch” was a word that was previously inconsistent with Crif Dogs.) According to our spy in Williamsburg, Amy T., the place has been mobbed early every morning, with working stiffs about to jump on the L train into Manhattan garnering their cups of Intelligentsia coffee.
Crif Dogs’ expertly curated and perfectly conserved Musee de Skateboarologie.
The sunny premises appears to tilt at an unfortunate angle.
The food is what remains consistent at Crif Dogs. Rather than making, say, hot dog scrambled eggs or hot dog waffles or even pigs-in-blankets, the breakfast menu strikes out in a (slightly) different meat direction. The Czajkowski ($4.50) places a thick slice of fried bologna on what I take to be a sesame flagel (or maybe it’s a Montreal bagel), then freights it with cheese and a runny fried egg. The effect is really quite exquisite.
It’s only competition as far as your breakfast dining dollar goes, are the sliders called Little Buddies ($2 each). These are somewhat less satisfactory than the bigger, moister, and greasier sandwich, since they contain coleslaw and a small piece of American cheese on the kind of tiny hamburger brioche roll that they use at Pop Burger — plus another piece of grilled bologna, of course.
And, by the way, Czajkowski is a competing transliteration of Tchaikovsky — you know, the dude who wrote The Nutcracker Suite. Brain me one, Crif Dogs!
555 Driggs Street
Two “Little Buddies” are better than one!