Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Will hot dogs join cupcakes, frozen yogurt, hamburgers, and pork belly in the long line of recent culinary trends? The team behind Matchbox and Ted's Bulletin hopes so. Their brand new venture, DC-3, seeks to raise the level of the hot dog above the dirty water variety that you'll find at the carts on most street corners.

DC-3, located on 8th Street SE/Barracks Row, is named after the Douglas DC-3 airplane of the 1930s and 40s. The interior carries the vintage airplane feel through to every detail. From rivets on the tables to menus shaped like plane tickets, they didn't miss a thing.

DC-3 features over a dozen specialty hot dogs reflecting different regions of the U.S. The photo menu on the wall helped us narrow down our selections. It is a fairly tiny order-at-the-counter operation and the lunch time atmosphere was a bit crazed, but the staff did an admirable job of churning out orders accurately (especially for a brand newly opened restaurant).

We agreed to choose 3 specialty dogs to share and it wasn't easy narrowing things down. In a last minute selection, B chose the Seattle Pike Place Ultimate Fish-Dog. I don't know about you, but the name "fish-dog" does not make me hungry. However, I'm glad I ignored the name and just dove in. This was a hefty piece of deep fried cod (not a hot dog) on a (local!) Heidelberg Bakery deli bun, topped with coleslaw and malt vinegar. More reminiscent of fish and chips than a hot dog, this was a unique but very tasty treat. We also got a side of "frips" which are a half-fry, half-chip DC-3 creation. I'm glad we tried this waffle-fry like invention but I'll probably stick to regular fries on my next visit. I looked longingly at the fried pickles but my wonderful husband doesn't like getting within 10 feet of pickles.

B also ordered the Bay Bridge Pretzel Dog (left) that pays homage to our local beach region. It sports an all-beef hot dog topped with homemade crab dip and Old Bay served on a Heidelberg pretzel roll. Another unique combination that worked surprisingly well. When we first saw the dark color of the pretzel rolls we were worried they'd be too hard but they were pleasantly soft and chewy.

I chose the Ahtie's Philly Cheesesteak-Style Whiz Wit (Certified Angus Beef Dog, Heidelberg pretzel roll, Cheese Whiz, sauteed onions). Just like a Philly Cheesesteak without the 'tude from the guys at Geno's or Pat's.

If none of the regional specialties sound appealing, you can also customize your dog. Make sure you use the clever DC-3 lingo to order. For example, if you want ketchup on your dog, ask them to "Ruin It." My mom hails from NY and would definitely agree with the DC-3 team that putting ketchup on a hot dog is sacrilege.
You can also ask them to "Fire It Up" (add sriracha sauce), "Make It A Splitski" (butterfly it and flat- or char-grill it), "Make It A Ripper (deep fry it - at your own risk), or make it "Achin' For Some Bacon!" (bacon-wrapped).

Playing off the wildly popular 3.6.9 mini burgers at Matchbox, DC-3 offers 2.4.6 mini hot dogs. Corn dogs, veggie dogs, veggie chili, foot long hot dogs, and an italian beef sandwich round out the menu. For dessert, they'll spin you a fresh cotton candy or dish up soft serve ice cream with a variety of toppings.

Second Thoughts from B

Some may rejoice and some may rush to stock up their bomb shelter for the apocalypse, but regardless of your point of view, gourmet hot dogs are invading our city. Whether it's DC-3 or the Madhatter or half-smokes at Nats games, ordering a plain hot dog is becoming a rarity. Hot dogs are now full blown meals that barely resemble the staple of BBQs and baseball games from just a few years ago.

That's not to say there's not room for improvement. The only time we ever eat a plain hot dog is for nostalgia (Dodger dog) or necessity. Tailgates long ago ditched the wiener on white bread for Polish sausages and garlic toasted French rolls. It is that evolution that DC-3 seems to be harnessing by combining the familiar with the interesting.

Each of the three dogs were the happy marriage of a familiar dish within a hot dog concept. The place was fun and the menu was versatile. In other words, a great place to go with friends and another casual hot spot in DC.
Dc-3 on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

FrenchTwistDC said...

My thoughts: I hope they apply for a liquor license. I'm sorry, I'm glad I get freshly spun cotton candy and all, but if I'm going to eat a hot dog, I'm going to want to have a beer with it ;-)