The Natty Boh Sausage ($4.59) got picked during this visit to the Dog Bar partly because I'll always choose brats over hot dogs when offered the choice, and partly because, to the extent you are familiar with Dietz & Watson hot dogs, you already know what to expect from the foundation of the Dog Bar's menu: the lowly wiener.
The brat's bathed in Boh before the kitchen commits it to the final, browning heat. It's placed in a bun, and here again, your general awareness of the ubiquitous Wonder Bread-ish white flour dog bun supplies you with all the description you need. The long roll is a soft, chewy comfort food that does its job nicely, especially considering the buns at Dog Bar carry a lot more weight than those doing duty at the family picnic, where the dog's best friends are limited to French's, Heinz and gloppy green relish.
But at the Dog Bar, the menu's about toppings.
I went modest with the Boh brat. The woman behind the counter seemed to hope I'd order some bizarre combination of ochre, egg and champagne poached shallots (not that any of those are actually available at Dog Bar … yet). Or at least, she seemed disappointed that I settled for the merely prosaic, if classic, sauteed onions and red peppers with a liberal zig-zagging of spicy brown mustard.
Sometimes less really is more, though. The substantial brat poking out from either end of the bun slathered with savory veggies and topped with mustard didn't need another thing. Not that, in retrospect, I don't kick myself for not asking for a touch of cheese. But this dog sufficed.
Now consider the Hawaiian Dog. It's topped with mango salsa, pineapple chunks and chopped green onion. The Reuben Dog gets kraut, jack cheese and Thousand Island dressing.
Chile, bacon, jalapenos, Old Bay, cole slaw, guacamole and more, in any combination you might fancy, are among the atypical dressings on offer. Dog Bar will even top your wiener with French fries and/or pulled pork.
Our counterperson told us that one night a woman came in from bar-hopping and ordered a dog with all the toppings. Maybe that's why they serve your order in a round plastic dog dish? Anyway, the point was, if it's in house, this kitchen will pile it on.
The Dog Bar is a funky fun concept restaurant that pushes the cheap-eats envelope and connects whimsy with bargain. Dog Bar's wieners weigh in at a quarter-pound and the toppings are doled out in heaps. From 11 a.m to 1 p.m. they offer a special that includes two hot dogs, two free toppings (limited variety — many will cost extra) and a drink for five bucks. No price on the menu surpassed $5.49.
Frankly, this kitchen offers little you can't cook up at home to the same effect, provided you have the same up-till-3-a.m.-concocting-new-combos imagination. But why would you? Come. Sit. Stay. Eat.
Where: 2938 O'Donnell St., Canton
Lunch hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays-Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-3 a.m. Thursdays-Saturdays
Lunch entrees: $4.49-$5.99