Dogmatic Sausage Systems (26 East 17th St, NY, NY) is a cute little hotdog joint. While most hotdog vendors (indoor and out) are a little grimy, a little tough and a little worn around the edges, the first thing you’ll notice about Dogmatic is that it’s bright and shiny. It’s got a fancy design, one big wood table with chairs that pull out and little trophies of wieners all over the place. It’s very modern, very New York and thankfully doesn’t distract from the sausages.
Dogmatic’s spin is that they serve guilt-free (no antibiotics, no artificial ingredients, blah blah blah) sausages cleverly packed into baguettes that you can walk around and eat. It’s pretty clever, they found a way to make sure that bit of ketchup or cabbage doesn’t fall off your hotdog and into your lap, or onto your hands. Seriously, why hasn’t anyone else thought of this? NASA, are you hiring?
The menu is simple (and they get kudo’s for focusing so intently on sandwiches): you pick a sausage (chicken, pork, beef, lamb or asparagus[?]) and a sauce (there are 6). That’s it. They have drinks and ice cream too. They cook up your wiener, add some sauce and put it in a handy bread holder. They’re cheap too, a single sausage runs $4.50 before tax ($4.88 after). That’s recession-friendly!
All is rosy for Dogmatic: they’ve got a clever name, a sleek new storefront and a good NYC-friendly pitch. There’s only one problem: the sausages are bland. I tried the beef sausage with cheddar jalapeno sauce and it tasted like jalapeno, not sausage. I closed my eyes and went to my power cave to erase all distractions about the US economy imploding and fully taste the meat. It was hard. It tasted like seasonings and cheesy peppers. It was quite dry, which the cheese helped. About 2/3rd the way through, the cheese that had settled at the closed end started shooting back up at me. Avoiding the obvious innuendo, it was a little unsettling and gross. Then it shot out the other end. Thank god it was delicious jalapeno cheddar.
With all the buzzwords they managed to cram into a single sausage joint, I expected them to taste like little bits of mana from heaven: it turns out that all the good intentions in the world don’t mean jack if your sausage is bland. Next time, spend some time on the actual food and less on the buzz, design and little carry-out bags. I’d go back if I was hungry, but I wouldn’t get excited or take friends or bother with my power cave. How long until someone solves the spread build-up and offers regular hotdogs in this shape?