Hot on the heels of the hot dog concept started by Japadog in Vancouver, BC, Seattle saw the opening of Gourmet Dog Japon in 2010 that offered up riffs on the American hot dog with Japanese condiments. Could this work here? The reviews have been positive. As with any adventurous food fusion project, no matter how “way out” it appears, success still boils down to whether unlikely combinations of ingredients taste good together in fresh ways. Japadog has been doing very well with its offerings. The oroshi dog I had there was delicious.
Could we say the same thing for the Samurai Dog here, which Andrew Zimmern had the hots over? Well, yes, to a large degree. Rather than the apple chicken sausage that comes standard (c’mon, really? Apple chicken?), I substituted a beef dog. Sandwiched between a lightly toasted Kirkland (i.e., Costco) bun—that glutinous wunderkind of bread—the sausage also comes with sliced Japanese green onions (negi), grated horseradish (daikon oroshi) and wasabi mayo. There was also a special soy sauce that complemented the oroshi. This was a very fine dog (☆☆☆½), substantial, savory and pungent. My wife asked for a modification to her Matsuri Dog (☆☆½), substitution of daikon oroshi for grated carrots. Otherwise, there were also slivered seaweed (nori), teriyaki glazed onions and Japanese mayo (Kewpie) dressing a kielbasa sausage. Her complaints were that the teriyaki onions made the dog too sweet and daikon oroshi was insipid from not having been freshly grated. Otherwise, the nori provided excellent toasty, briny notes. I discovered after getting home that the Kabuki Dog features red ginger, cabbage, bonito flakes (katsuobushi) and Japanese mayo, which I would really like to have tried. It wasn’t on the menu, so I wonder if it’s no longer offered. Or could it be a combination that just didn’t sell?
Some of the dogs on the menu were not what I’d expect from a business trying to promote Japanese flavors, making one wonder if they’re trying to appeal to American tastes. A Pizza Dog is topped with mozzarella and pepperoni. Chili Maru & Cheese has bacon, chili and cabbage.
For now, Japadog is still king but Gourmet Dog Japon is a good substitute.
Gourmet Dog Japon
Corner of 2nd Ave and Pike