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Kaka'ako Eats: Hank's Haute Dogs


Hank’s now “Triple D Famous” Lobster Haute Dog

While Hank’s Haute Dogs has been in the local media spotlight a number of times already, it was the sales pitch of celebrity host Guy Fieri and his nationally-televised Food Network hit road show ‘Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives’ that finally sold me into checking this place out. Yup, I bit the bait.

Actually we all bit the bait, as joining me on this visit were my usual partners in food debauchery crime, Diner A, Diner E and our other occasional accomplice, the beautiful and lovely Diner AC.

OK, so we’re bringing a crowd, but not as if that was necessary, as whenever restaurants in town are showcased in the media, the following days, weeks, months and perhaps years mean long lines of people show up to see what all the hype is about. They say restaurants typically see a 20% or higher increase in business after a televised Triple D visit, and it clearly reflected that at Hank’s…

This was at peak lunch hour (11:45am) yesterday, Aloha Friday, April 9, 2010. Just DAYS after Hank’s big “Triple D” debut.

And Hank certainly ain’t shy about letting the world know his place was on the show, as you see that huge Food Network poster emblazoned next to his business sign on the storefront. I think any restaurant should be proud of this, as there’s lots of prestige and bragging rights that come with being featured on this popular Food Network show… even if it has the word “Dive” in it.

As said earlier, this also means lots of hype and expectations of all things GREAT as Guy often portrays it for the sake of good TV. Food TV that is. Overhearing other folks talking while standing in line, we heard “Triple D” mentioned a number of times, as well as “this is my first time here” (because of the show) and other small talk conversation along that line.

The customer demographic on our visit was mostly white collar workers in the area and locals who looked like it was their day off and/or coming from the beach, with a few military personnel, but not any tourists as far as I could tell. But I’m sure folks from the mainland will be getting off the plane soon, fresh off the “Triple D Goes Hawaiian” local kine grindz tips, seeking out Hank’s Haute Dog Stand.

Triple D is all about what its name stands for, which includes mom ‘n pops and hole-in-the-walls, and Hank’s fits that bill to the T, with just enough room inside for a surrounding counter to eat on and some stools…

Along with the small counter surround inside, there’s some stools outside in front to sit on, as well as three umbrella patio tables on the side of the joint…

We sat on the last table in the back where that gal in pink (I don’t know who that is) is currently sitting. Along with the umbrellas, there’s a tree above that provides extra shade, so it’s actually quite pleasant sitting here, especially with the tradewinds on this day.

As mentioned earlier, Hank’s has already been reviewed by countless local media outlets, and you can check out just about every one, framed and plastered on the walls within for your reading pleasure as you chow down some dog. Hey there’s a clever hot dog stand name: ‘Chow Down Dog’!

Hank’s has a semi-open kitchen…

Notice the Triple D cap hanging on the shelf here next to the good luck Maneki Nekko…

Apparently as some point in time President (or perhaps then elect) Obama ate here, although I don’t remember reading about that in the paper…

Then again, if you’re a high profile politician or celebrity, chances are the paparazzi photos of you in Hawaii will either be of your fat untanned okole on the beach (JLH), or of you EATING some awesome local kine grindz. Ha ha!

Hank has a few collector T-Shirts related to his trade up on display, starting with this one, which is my fave’…

Dog icons from the CONUS, including Superdawg and Pink’s!…

As you’ll see later, I think Guy got the idea for his autograph for Hank’s from one of these t-shirts…

There’s plenty of signs around to remind you that you’re in a hot dog joint…

As you’ll soon find out, Hank’s Haute Dogs are priced much higher than 15 cents, but thanks for the wishful thinking!

Don’t forget…

This is again wishful thinking, as Hank’s doesn’t have a condiment station, except for one ketchup pump. More on that later.

Do you like ketchup on your hot dog? I do! But shhhhhhh, don’t tell Bob Schwartz that…

I think it’s a German thing about the “no ketchup on hot dogs” creed. Well, I’m part German, but I ain’t buyin’ it.

Hank has a relatively new “express” location in Waikiki at the International Marketplace…

According to several signs around the place, Hank’s feature’s Vienna Beef Sausages…

And it looks like Monday is “Ladies Night”, as Hank’s has a male review, with Italian being the flavor of the evening…

LOL! Just kiddin’. A reader of mine eMailed me and explained this as sliced Italian beef piled high, and served with Giardiniera Italian Pickles in the form of a sandwich. This, which he says “blew my socks off! Delicious!”

Every day of the week there’s a special Haute Dog: Tuesdays are Alligator day ($8.30),  Wednesdays are Rabbit and Veal day ($7.50), Thursdays are Buffalo Bratwurst day ($7.50), Saturdays are Duck and Foie Gras day ($9.50), Sundays are Kobe Wagyu day ($8.50) and Fridays are Lobster day! Hey, that’s TODAY! Woooo-hooooo!

Along with Hank’s very exotic encased meat selections on each day of the week, he also has a regular menu…

So confident you’ll love it, that he’s betting you’ll want a Hank’s logowear t-shirt and cap to take home in memory of the “Haute Dog experience”….

The cap is more expensive because the logo is embroidered.

Speaking of expensive, you know it’ll take some diggin’ deep in the pockets when it comes to lobster…

This will be the first time in history that I’ll be paying over $10 for a FREAKIN’ HOT DOG!  Oh, excuse me, it’s a “Haute Dog”. Oh, O.K. then, I feel better about it already. lol

Well, right about now we’ve all decided what to order, where I already knew I had dibs for the Lobster Dog, Diner A decided to try the “Fat Boy”, Diner E went for the Andouille, and Diner AC went for the Chicago.

As for the ordering “system”, they don’t hand out numbered receipts or have fancy high tech pagers (at least not yet anyway, but they might need to after the Triple D exposure), but they simply vocally call out your name when your order’s ready.

While I waited for my order, a few trays of Haute Dogs came flowing out of the kitchen for other hungry patrons, including these Chicago Dogs and Chilidogs…

And this Polish Dog and Chilidog, along with a Hibiscus Lemonade…

Hibiscus Lemonades were definitely the most popular drink…

Chicago Dogs and Chilidogs also looked to be the most popular sellers based on what I seen flying (yes, these dogs were FLYING) out of the kitchen. And I gotta’ hand it to Hank, considering how busy it was on our visit, the service was surprisingly very speedy. While I didn’t time it, I’m guesstimating my order was ready in less than 10 minutes.

So here we have my order, which is the Aloha Friday Special, the Lobster Dog, a side of Onion Rings and a Fresh Lilikoi Lime Soda…

Here’s Diner E’s spread, which includes the Andouille Haute Dog, a small order of Hank’s “Awesome” Fries and a Hibiscus Lemonade…

Diner A’s spread includes a “Fatboy”, a large order of Hank’s “Awesome” Fries along with Garlic Aioli sauce and a Pepsi…

Finally we have Diner AC who chose the Chicago Dog…


Hank’s Haute Dogs – Chicago Dog: Vienna all-beef, all natural casing sausage, yellow mustard, raw onion, very green relish, tomato, dill pickle, sport hot peppers and celery salt on a  poppyseed bun. $4.95

OK, everything looks fantastic. Let’s unpack ’em ‘n whack ’em, starting with the Chicago Dog…

Hey, nice fingernails Diner AC! Matches your phone! Great color contrast as well to all them “dragged through the garden” veggies toppin’ that Chicago dog. And WOW, that relish sure is “very” green! Looks almost like bell peppers.

Let’s have a bite…

Awe, wook, she cwadles it wike a widdle, widdle baby. LOL

So how is it? She said the sausage is very juicy, flavorful and beefy, with a super-snappy casing. Actually a little too much snap, making it kinda’ rubbery to bite into. Still delicious though.

The combination of the yellow mustard, very green relish, dill pickle, sport hot peppers, tomato, onions and celery sea salt added plenty of life to the party, where she noted the hot peppers especially stood out as a complimentary flavor component, adding a spicy kick without being overbearing.

Summing it up, she gives Hank’s Chicago Dog a very satisfying and delicious 3 SPAM Musubi.

Now let’s check out Diner E’s Andouille Haute Dog…

Diggin’ the nicely caramelized onions on it. Let’s take that bad boy outta’ the box…


Hank’s Haute Dogs – Andouille Haute Dog: Char-grilled with onion and Cajun-spiced mustard. $6

That Cajun-spiced mustard looks like it should be packin’ plenty of zest ‘n zing.

Let’s set it up for the angle of attack…

In a very romantic and soft tone, “Andouille, baby. Come to me baby, come to me” lol. Let’s have a bite….

So what’s the verdict, Diner “Saimin Kaukau” E? “Eh, not bad, but not great” he says. See, Diner E likes his meat with some sweet in it, as is a testament for all things Teriyaki. In fact, now that I think about it, I’m very surprised Mr. Hank Adaniya doesn’t have a Teriyaki Haute Dog. Very, surprising, considering his Okinawan heritage.

But anyway, yeah, Diner “Saimin Kaukau” E thought the Andouille sausage itself lacked dimension, being mostly just spicy hot, and a little too much at that, while also being dry and not juicy at all. To top that off, no pun intended, the Cajun Mustard and Sauteed Onions weren’t enough accoutrement to supplement the sausage. He suggested the “very” green relish would have really helped out here, and I can totally undertstand where he’s coming from.

Which has us wondering why Hank’s doesn’t provide a self-serve condiment station so patrons can add what they want on their Haute Dogs. I mean it’s fine to have the dog designed by Hank with the accoutrements he designs them for, but everyone has different tastes. Some may like relish or onions, and some don’t. It’s just the way it is.

Therefore, I would suggest to Hank, “Eh Hank! Buss’ out one self-serve condiment station, brah!”. Please include all the accoutrements on the self-serve condiment station that you put on your “Haute” designed dogs, including the green relish, onions, mustards in several varieties, other things, and yes, KETCHUP. OK, well, he already does provide self-serve ketchup. At least we have that option to go with at our own discretion.

Sure, self-serve condiment stations can get messy, and there’s a few greedy folks who take more than they need, but that’s the only way we can truly personalize the Haute Dog to our own individual tastes. Even if you have to add say another 25 to 50 cents to cover the cost, I think it’s worth it.

That in mind, getting back to the Andouille, here we have a deconstructed view of it, where you see it looks pretty naked…

I like the score marks on the sausage. That’s something I think they should do with the Lobster Dog, which I’ll explain later.

Summing up Hank’s Andouille Haute Dog, more or a better combination of accoutrments may have saved its dryness and lack of character of the Andouille itself, yet as it’s served today, Diner “Saimin Kaukau” E gives it 2 SPAM Musubi.

Moving along, let’s take a closer look at Diner A’s “Fatboy”…


Hank’s Haute Dogs – “Fatboy” Hank’s Frank: Bacon-wrapped deep-fried Vienna sausage with mayo’, lettuce and tomato. $5.95

Based on its ingredients, this is essentially a BLT done doggy style, with the Vienna all-beef natural casing hot dog wrapped with bacon, AND served with an Aioli? Oh my, where’s my statin pills?!!!

Let’s set ’em up for the attack…

Notice they score an X on the ends, which I’m assuming prevents the encased meat from turning into “Fatboy the nuclear bomb” when it’s in the deep fryer.

Let’s have a bite…

Juicy, savory, snappy good. Although Diner A said he couldn’t really taste the smokey, porky bacon flavor per se, he did note, whatever it did do, the thin slices of bacon wrapping the sausage sure added plenty of flavor to his weiner.

Another bite…

Wow, that sure LOOKS juicy! As said earlier, the sausage didn’t taste “bacon-ee”, so the accoutrement treatment of mayo’, lettuce and tomato didn’t give off the impression of “Hey this tastes just like a BLT Hot Dog!”. Like Diner E’s Andouille Dog, Diner A suggested the “very” green relish would have really helped out his dog as well. Which is why I’ll suggest again to Hank that he offer a a complete self-serve condiment station to us customers.


Diner A’s “polished” Hank’s Haute Dog tray

Summing it up, Diner A gives Hank’s “Fatboy” Frank a very satisfying 3 SPAM Musubi, polishing his tray, as shown above, to prove it.

Along with his “Fatboy”, Diner A also got a tray of Hank’s “Awesome” Fries…


Hank’s Haute Dogs – Awesome French Fries: Fresh cut, double cooked. $3.75 large

Keep in mind that these aren’t the fries that are fried in duck lard, as the “Duck Fries” are only available on Saturdays. Shucks! I really wanted to try those.

Diner A chose the Garlic Aioli to go with it…


Hank’s Haute Dogs – Garlic Aioli dipping sauce

That garlic aioli is decadently delicious, although it might be a bit much to stomach on a hot Hawaiian day.

Hank’s “awesome” fries are very crispy on the outside and seasoned just right with plenty of flavor and character, but I found them to taste a little lukewarm, stiff and overcooked, like they had been sitting in a warmer for a long period of time.  I’m not sure how far in advance they make them and then keep them under the heat lamp, but they were certainly going through cycles of that process as I observed the semi-open kitchen operate.

Diner A gives Hank’s “awesome” fries 3 SPAM Musubi, but personally I’d give them a 2. If they were hotter and/or more freshly fried, it surely would have a higher score from me.

Finally we have my Lobster Haute Dog and Onion Rings…


Hank’s Haute Dogs – Lobster Dog with Garlic Aioli, “Very” Green Relish and Takuan. $10.50

A closer look at the Lobster Dog…

Notice the very light tan color of the sausage. This a result as Hank cases these babies himself in-house using Shrimp, Bay Scallops, Lobster and Surimi (fish) Paste, which is the stuff they use to make imitation crab. Whereas in this case (no pun intended), the Surimi acts as as a binder for all the other goodies in the mix. Also in the mix are carrots, onions and green onions, while for the “fat” component there’s mayonnaise that’s flavored with a variety of seasonings. Wow, at least on paper, it sounds OFF-THE-CHARTS DELICIOUS!

Let’s have a bite…

Oh yeah, this is DEFINITELY a Lobster Dog for sure, no doubt about that. You can really taste the Lobster, while at the same time the shrimp and scallops stand out in flavor as well. I’d say almost equally between the three, as of course if it were predominantly Lobster making up the bulk of it, the price of admission would have to be much higher than $10-fitty.

The Lobster Dog is first poached in water to cook the seafood medley through, then shocked in ice water to arrest it from overcooking. For service, they sautee it in a pan with clarified butter, then it takes one more dunk in a clarified butter bath.

Surprisingly and with a little disappointment, I couldn’t taste that clarified butter on my Lobster Dog, as if it had been wiped off or something. What I think they should do is score the casing like they do with the Andouille Sausage so that the butter can get inside and “mingle” with the seafood mixture. Ya’ know?

I think the best way to describe the Lobster Sausage is like eating an encased crab patty, albeit one that’s leaning more in favor of Lobster and Shrimp than crab (for obvious reasons). Overall it’s very delicious.

As for the accoutrements, I dunno’, for me, the takuan didn’t match with it. Perhaps the delicate flavors of the shellfish medley just doesn’t agree with the pungent, slightly acidic flavor of the takuan, which is a pickled Japanese radish. Same for the “Very Green Relish”. The Garlic Aioli, no doubt worked though, and definitely helped it along. I’m thinking maybe the lettuce and sauteed onions would be better on it, adding some crispness from the lettuce and savory accent from the onions.

Another serving idea is to give the customers a little container of clarified butter and lemon so they can dip it in that as they eat it. Imagine that clarified butter on the sausage AND the bun. You know that’s gonna’ rock! Rock Lobster rock!

Summing it up, as it’s served on this day, I give Hank’s Lobster Haute Dog a very solid 3 SPAM Musubi, with potential to be a 5 with better matched accoutrements and a side of clarified butter to accompany it.

Paired with my Lobster dog was a side of Onion Rings…


Hank’s Haute Dogs – Onion Rings. $3.75

Diner AC also had Onion Rings, which she added some Spicy Curry Ketchup dipping sauce to go along with it…

That Spicy Curry Ketchup tastes great with a kick from what I’m guessing is Cayenne Pepper, and just a very subtle curry flavor. Highly recommended dipping sauce.

As for the Onion Rings, notice there’s some separation of panko batter from onion, but ah, minah. The batter was crispy and tasty and the onions inside nice and tender. Only thing I wish is that they were a little sweeter. I think they’re regular white round onion. No Maui stuff here. That would have been pretty “haute”. Perhaps that’s another suggestion: “Eh Hank, please offer Hank’s Haute Maui Onion Rings!”

As served today, I give Hank’s Onion Rings a very tasty 3 SPAM Musubi. Even better with the Garlic Aioli and Spicy Curry Ketchup dipping sauces.


Guy Fieri autographed Triple D poster reads:  Hank’s Haute Dogs “The King of encased Meats!” Guy

My Fresh Lilikoi Lemonade was very refreshing and light, while Diner E also gave a big thumbs up to the Hibiscus Lemonade, which a said earlier, was a very popular choice by the crowd.

Well, Triple D has done its job, getting us in the door of yet another restaurant featured on their show. While we didn’t end up using “Guy Speak” punchlines such as “Off the hook”, “Money”, “In it to win it”, or “Winner, winner Haute Dog dinner” in describing our food for the most part we all walked out very satisfied. We were also happy to finally have a taste for ourselves what all the fuss has been over the Haute Dog eats at Hank’s.

Check out the Triple D segment on Hank’s Haute Dogs here…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0wAyiZ3-jk

I’ll definitely return for more, with the Kobe Wagyu Haute Dog and Truffle Mac ‘n Cheese on my hit list next.

Hank’s Haute Dogs
324 Coral Street  (right across from the Volvo dealership)
Honolulu, Hawaii  96813
Tel. (808) 532-HANK (4265)
www.HanksHauteDogs.com

Business hours:
Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm
Saturday and Sunday 11am to 5pm

Cash only, no credit cards.

Free parking on Sunday in lot behind (otherwise only street parking)

The Tasty Island rating:

(3) Very Good. Considerable of another visit or purchase. (Supah’ Ono!)

Related links:
Casual Eats: Hank’s Haute Dogs – LocoKineGrindz.com
Unique eats at Hank’s Haute Dogs – Honolulu Metromix
Hank’s Haute Dogs – Champuru.net
Hank’s Haute Dogs is a Weiner! – Honolulu Star Bulletin
Hank’s Haute Dogs – Yelp user reviews

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P.S. While we’re on the subject of haute dogs, I wanna’ turn Hank on to my “Tonkrazy Dog” (that didn’t sound right, but it sounds funny lol)…

My “Tonkrazy” Dog (on the left) is made using a Redondo’s Arabiki Hot Dog on a bed of thinly-sliced cabbage, drizzled with Ikari brand Tonkatsu Sauce and finished with slivers of Takuwan (the yellow stuff) and Beni Shoga (the red stuff). All this on a nicely toasted bun.

Brah, let me tell you, this buggah is WINNAHZ! IN IT TO WIN IT! MONEY HONEY!

Trust me, go buy the ingredients and make one or a few for yourself. I can almost guarantee you’ll come back thanking me for the recipe. I’m pretty proud of this creation I came up with, and I think Hank should try it. It would fit right in with his “Haute” theme.

Another cool concept Hank should start playing with is the “Haute Pig-in-the-Blanket” like that AWESOME public school cafeteria Pig-in-a-Blanket I featured here just recently…

I could see Hank doing all kinds of crazy stuff with it wrapped up blanket style. Imagine a Lobster dog in that! You get the crusty-sweet bread, combined with the flavor of lobster, shrimp, scallops and that garlic aioli, then dip that in some clarified butter and OMG!!!

Yeah, I’m full of all kinds of “bright ideas” today for a business that isn’t even mine, but hey! One can dream, right?!!!

B-52’s Rock Lobster!…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDZy6-fMCw4

27 thoughts on “Kaka'ako Eats: Hank's Haute Dogs

  • April 17, 2010 at 5:51 pm
    Permalink

    I’m a regular at Hanks — collecting holes in my punch card for a heavenly sausage T-shirt (only two more dogs to go). My kids who were born in Germany, and are therefore apparently predisposed to need regular encased meat fixes, enjoy the bratwurst. Once Hanks had an homage to the currywurst which was pretty delicious. My favorite is the chicken dog with mango relish and a lilikoi lime soda. Tell diner E that’s where he’ll find his “sweet.”

    Reply

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