This week’s review takes us to a great place in downtown Austin — Frank. Frank serves, appropriately enough, sausages, and hot dogs. While their specialty dogs are what they’re becoming known for, they also serve the classics (chili cheese, Chicago-style, and just a good, old-fashioned beef frank) and specials. While I do like a good hot dog, or chili cheese dog, Dave and I decided to give their specialty dogs a try.
What’s any classic American hot dog dinner without fries? But we’re not talking about just any fries here, we’re talking about the French Canadian classic, poutine. Poutine is a dish I have wanted to try for a long time. A good friend of the Junkies is from Canada and told us about this dish many times, about how it’s one of the things he misses, and how it’s perfect ski food. But what exactly is it? Fries. Fries topped with cheese curds and savory brown gravy.
When I first heard of this I thought it sounded like one of the oddest things ever. And then he put it to me this way, “Do you like potatoes with gravy and cheese?” In fact, I do. So from that day on I had wanted to try poutine, and finally I have. The fries were crispy, the gravy was rich, and the cheese was perfectly melted. I don’t know how well these measure up to the original renditions, but I’d order this any time.
Now, on to the dogs! We’ll start with Dave’s, the Jackalope. The Jackalope, according to legend, is a jackrabbit with antlers, giving it the appearance of both an antelope and a jackrabbit, thus the name. This sausage lives up to the name, being made with rabbit, pork, and locally-farmed antelope. It’s served with a huckleberry compote, sriracha aioli, and Cheddar. The sausage has a great flavor, but be sure to get a big bite of everything at the same time. It’s sweet, savory, and little spicy all at once.
Next, we decided on the Notorious P.I.G. This one is made with house-made pork, jalepeño sage sausage, and bacon. So to be clear, that’s pork served with pork and topped with more pork. What could be wrong with that? Nothing, that’s what. But how do you make a sausage like this even better? How about a little barbeque sauce? Absolutely! How about a little macaroni and cheese on top? Wait, what? Yeah, you read that correctly. The Notorious P.I.G. comes served with a little macaroni and cheese on top. Its sounds strange, but believe me it really works!
But Frank offers more than just great sausages. First, there's the requisite live music (this is Austin after all). In fact, Jack White even showed up to do an unannounced set during South by Southwest. Secondly, they offer coffee. I know, you can a cup of Joe at any place day or night so what’s the big deal? To start with, they don’t offer that nasty pre-ground stuff that’s been sitting for too long, and has probably burned onto the bottom of the pot. Their coffee is made from Inteligencia brand coffee and is ground to order and prepared by their trained baristas. As if that’s not enough, they also have a great bar. Dave and I each got a Militia Manhattan. That’s a drink that’s made with bacon-infused whiskey, sweet and dry vermouth, cherries, and a bit of lemon.
Us two Food Junkies thoroughly enjoyed our meal. They next time any of y’all are in the area we recommend you stop by Frank for a dog!
Location: 407 Colorado, Austin, TX 78701
Austin Food Junkies' Rating: Three Lone Star Point
The Austin Food Junkies are Alex Artibee, Matt Braley, and Dave Braley, "Two guys who love food, and one chef, trained at the Texas Culinary Institute." Check out their reviews of other Austin area restaurants on their blog, Austin Food Junkies.