LOCATION: 5030 Freret Street, New Orleans, LA 70115
It was the morning after being out on Bourbon Street until 2 a.m., and needless to say everyone decided to try and catch a bit of sleep before we got started for the day. First order of business: try to find some food to recharge the batteries a bit. My friend Bryan looked up a few places nearby the Airbnb that everyone was staying at, and an artisanal hot dog and sausage spot called Dat Dog won the lunch vote.
As you’re walking up to the restaurant, it’s hard not to notice the colorful murals that decorate the front of the building, along with a large outdoor seating area set up for the place. It’s all situated under constructed overhangs, with some flat-screen TVs wired in on one side if you’re there to hang out and catch some sports. Inside the restaurant, the décor was just as colorful and fun as the exterior, with the color variety reminding me of what you might find in a small crayon box.
In addition to your classic hot dog, there were also eight other types of sausages on the menu. Bratwursts and kielbasa were joined some less common selections like Vaucresson, alligator, duck, or crawfish. If you weren’t in the mood to customize your own toppings, Dat Dog offers 10 different house specials to peruse through as well. And if you didn’t want to go the hot dog or sausage route altogether, there were chicken, fish, and vegan options as well.
I was lucky to be one of the last people in the group to order, because I definitely needed some time to take in the full menu and decide what I wanted. I was able to boil down my choices to between two of the house specials: the Rougarou (alligator sausage) or The Son of a Saint (duck sausage). Although both sounded quite delicious, alligator was just calling my name, so the Rougarou it was.
With the toppings piled high on the alligator sausage, the Rougarou was visually pretty impressive from the moment it got set down on the table. Grilled onions, tomatoes, jalapeños, and bacon topped the alligator sausage, with a drizzle of barbecue sauce and spicy Creole mustard, all tucked into a butter-toasted bun. It certainly looked the part of an artisanal sausage offering all right, and I was excited to dig in.
Smoky, savory, and spicy — those are probably the three main flavors that you consistently get with each bite. The alligator sausage itself had a nice smoky taste, and the barbecue sauce and bacon served to reinforce that flavor. Jalapeños and the Creole mustard brought the kick and left that lingering heat after every bite. The thing that impressed me the most, however, was that I never felt like any of the flavors were too rich or overpowering. The proportions of the toppings were just right.
Shoutout to the seasoned tots as well. Even though they were just straight-up potatoes, they must have been fried just a little bit longer to help give them an added crispiness that I really enjoyed. The small basket of tots made for a great complement to the artisanal sausage offerings.
Personally, this was probably my favorite restaurant out of the ones we tried during our New Orleans trip. The vibe of the place was really neat, there was a whole bevy of food options to choose from, and I thought for the quality of what you get, the pricing was spot-on as well. There are a few different locations right in the New Orleans area, so if a colorful storefront catches your attention with some hot dog art on the outside, take that detour to go inside and check things out.
Let’s now take a look at the Dat Dog Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
And finally, here are my rankings for Dat Dog:
Food: 5 / 5
The alligator sausage house special left me walking away very impressed. It was a perfect balance of flavors from start to finish. (That barbecue sauce and jalapeño flavor combo is one I hadn’t thought of before, but might use in the future.) The seasoned tots also made for a delicious side as well. With the variety the restaurant has on their menu, you can always switch it up if you’re in the mood to do so.
Atmosphere: 4.75 / 5
Based on the garage doors next to the restaurant entrance as well as the large amount of open space in the front, I think the restaurant might have been situated in a converted auto shop. I was also a really big fan of the colorful décor, as it certainly gave the place its own sense of character.
Service: 4.25 / 5
Our orders were really cranking out of their kitchen. I’d say that we had been seated for no more than five minutes before food started showing up at the table.
Price: 4.75 / 5
For the most part, their hot dog and sausage house specials range from $7.50 to $8.75, which I was very happy with given the quality of the food, flavor combinations, and specialty offerings. The price of the tots starts at $3.75 but can start to jump up if you’re in the mood to stack on some toppings.