As a denizen of Midtown during the workweek, I get kind of excited whenever new, tasty, inexpensive lunch options open near the office. I posted recently about The Side Door @ Beacon, taking on the cheeseburger to great happiness. But the limited menu has a second big lunch option: Mr. Pink’s Double Dog. Could two hot dogs in a big bun live up to that Beacon Burger experience?
I approached a little early for lunch, to find no line on this beautiful day.
The menu, same as ever, includes a picture of Mr. Pink himself. Isn’t he adorable? I knew I had to eat his namesake. Ordering was, of course, a breeze, and Mr. Pink was wrapped and ready. There’s a heating “station” at the door where the Beacon burgers and Mr. Pinks stand at the ready; it’s a little oven, not infrared lamps, so with any luck I’ll be returning to my desk with a warm sandwich, a cold quart of Tiger Tea, and the obligatory bag of chips.
Indeed I did; the hot dogs are definitely not your average street dog. They are quite probably a quarter-pound each, stacked in the “po’ boy roll” with a parmesan paste of sorts, lightly grilled onions, and a sweet pepper relish. Rather than adulterate the dogs with mustard or some other third-party condiment, I decided to try Mr. Pink as Side Door intended.
That’s a better view of the relish and the dogs. While one was certainly grilled more than the other, and I do like a charred dog, the two hot dogs seemed to taste alike other than the carbonization.
From the other side, you can see the amount of parmesan spread onto the dogs and bun and chunks of onion floating around.
There’s a little snap to the dogs’ casings, and the juice ran out just a little on each bite. They’re full of beefy flavor, a little spiced, but more like a ground-up steak with pepper than anything way out of the ordinary. All-around, two of the best hot dogs I’ve had the pleasure of eating in the city.
The bun, toasted as it was, held up for quite some time before the hinge gave way, and I enjoyed how the little kick of the peppers in the relish was counteracted by the pickles in it. The parmesan was a little weird; it was creamy, and a little salty, but it wasn’t really complementary to the beefiness of the hot dogs. It was tasty on its own, though, and I didn’t scrape it off. The grilled onions added a little to the mix, and the grilling took out most of the harshness, leaving a nice sweetness and a little tang to the dogs.
Over all? I think there might be more food in the Mr. Pink than the cheeseburger, but of course at that point it comes down to, will you spend $10 for two hot dogs? I have to say, they’re very good, and probably should just be called sausages lest they be lumped in with the dollar dog carts all over the city. I admit to having a hard time wrapping my head around the notion that I paid those prices for it, but Mr. Pink satisfied my lunch appetite perfectly well.
Of course the Tiger Tea was a limey winner again, though I do wish I could ease up on the ice, which from its sheer quantity lasted nearly until quitting time. It would be welcomed if I’d taken my haul to a nearby park to eat lunch, and I’m sure that’s what Side Door has in mind when prepping teas for the day.
With the improvement in service I was sure I’d see from my first visit, The Side Door @ Beacon has won a spot in my lunch rotation. I only hope it’s busy enough to continue to serve Midtown for a while without having to jack prices. Ten dollars is steep, but not unbearable for wood-grilled meat. So instead of worrying about that, I’ll make the trip willingly and often to enjoy the burgers and Pinks this summer and hope for the best come Fall. Definite recommend!
The Side Door @ Beacon
25 W 56th Street
(closer to 5th Avenue than 6th)