Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dirty Frank's: A Review of Vegan Options

Lessner's new bar/restaurant opened last Wednesday in downtown Columbus. Inspired by hot dog stands [[and Ronald McDonald, it seemed]], the restaurant is meant to be a place where you sit and drink and order specialty dogs. The layout is very family, a collage of framed images -- Frank's featuring a small wall of cop photos as well as local artists' paintings [[including a saddening image of MJ]].

While the name of the restaurant is less than appetizing, Dirty Frank's menu as a vegetarian or meat eater is enticing and imaginative-- from sriracha cream cheeses to chutney dogs to taziki Greek dogs. The best part? She has 3, completely vegan, hot dogs to choose from: a polish sausage, a brat, and a dog. In spite of efforts to create a vegan accesible menu, you'll find that most of the items labeled "can be made vegan" are really just vegan because you remove all the toppings. For instance, the "Classy Lady" is topped with cheesy sauce and potato chips. Make it vegan, it's just a dog with potato chips on top. Or, the "True Love Always" is topped with cream cheese and olives. Make it vegan, it's just olives.

There are a couple other options that seem veggie geared like the "Chicago" or "Ohioana" loaded with veggies and great vegan flavors [[jalapenos, mustard, celery salt]]. But while you're eating your veggie loaded dog, you'll sit longing for the cream cheesy goodness.

Be careful, too, and double check stuff that sound vegan. The sriracha slaw has mayo in it. Also, the "Bollywood" dog, when we went on Friday, was labeled "can be made vegan" however there was fish oil in the sauce. Thanks to our awesome waitress who double checked, we ended up not trying that one. [[Although, Lessner has confirmed that they have since removed the fish oil.]]

I will say that the polish dog is out of this world. And I very much enjoyed the "Beano" with no cheese. I wish they were more inspired with the buns -- they only offer an all white poppyseed bun that doesn't seem to match all the flavors on the menu.

I ultimately left there inspired to make my own dogs. I don't think Dirty Frank's is anything to drive 25 minutes out of my way for, but if I'm down there, and looking for cheap drunchies [[3$ a dog!]], I'd go. And even though the vegan options are uninspired, Frank's is lucky to be in a world where they are seldom available.

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