Thursday, August 4, 2011
Hartford Food Guy Reviews: Roadside Dogger
After writing about our visit to the Lucky Taco truck yesterday we decided to follow up by posting the Hartford Food Guy's visit to the Roadside Dogger a couple weeks ago. Sad City falls squarely in the Anthony Bourdain camp of loving street food. Seems like food trucks, like cupcakes, are kind of the new in thing these days. One of the highlights of any visit to NYC is the ability to eat different types of street food while wandering about the city.
We only wish there was more street food in Hartford. Instead we'll just have to settle for the ice cream truck at night.
I’ve been home this week keeping an eye on my wife, so after picking up a prescription, I decided to stop by the Roadside Dogger, which parks every AM at the corner of Main and Athenaeum (Athenaeum is the little street that separates the art museum from the Travelers).
Strictly speaking, of course, the Dogger isn’t a restaurant, but it does serve breakfast and lunch every day to people who work Downtown. In fact, it’s one of a good number of trucks that camp out along Main Street and around Bushnell Park, serving a bewildering variety of dogs, burgers, Chinese (or at least Chinese-American) dishes, and more or less anything and everything else you can eat with your hands, a skewer, or a plastic fork.
I am tempted to get philosophical and say the food truck, like Sam Colt’s .45 caliber revolver, is a great equalizer. Around a food truck you’re likely to find stockbrokers, lawyers, government bureaucrats, blue, pink, and white collar workers, as well people from the service industry, students, and more or less anybody else who has $5 to spend and wants a quick bite to eat. There, I guess I just said it.
The Dogger is pretty typical of the “American” (as opposed to say “Chinese” or “Middle Eastern”) food truck, which offers up hot dogs, hamburgers, steak and cheese sandwiches, grilled sausages, etc. The Dogger has all these offerings, plus grilled cheese, and ham, pastrami, and tuna sandwiches, as well as a very simple breakfast consisting of a bagel with (plain) cream cheese, a muffin, or an egg and cheese sandwich with bacon, sausage, or ham, and coffee. Not fancy, but then again you are about as far from fine dining as you can be.
For lunch I had a steak and cheese sandwich on a sub roll, with mustard, onions, and peppers. Not fancy, but yummy nonetheless. The steak was OK, but it was hot and the onions and peppers added some good flavor. The sandwich was slathered in yellow mustard, and certainly not brown mustard, which though delicious, would be totally out of place on a food truck. I like yellow mustard, but I could have done with a bit less. Still, my only real complaint (and remember I am judging by the standards of a food truck, not Max Downtown) was the cheese, which was that gooey orange stuff. Still, for $4, it is hard to complain.
One really good thing about the Dogger is that everything is cooked to order. This takes a bit longer, but it means your food is going to be hot and will not have been sitting on a warmer (or worse) before it's served to you.
The Roadside Dogger is not the greatest place to grab lunch Downtown, but it is a solid food truck that serves up basic, delicious, and incredibly unhealthy food quickly, and at a fair price. The next time you are Downtown at lunchtime, swing by, or at least check out one of the many other food trucks in the neighborhood. Although they are only there a few hours a day, they are part of what makes Downtown go.