Over the summer I ate a really good corn dog on MacDougal Street that reminded me how much I love to eat a really good corn dog. You don't often see these portable street treats on menus around here, but come on, a snappy hot dog stick on a stick, encased in crisp fried dough, dipped in mustard? Delicious.
Even more rare in New York City than those beach-shack classics, though, are rice hot dogs, which use rice flour instead of corn flour on the outside, come stuffed, studded, sauced, and sprinkled with all kinds of goodies. There have been a few attempts to bring these beasts to Manhattan (at a place called Snowy Village last winter, for example, which has since closed), but based on a street feast I had earlier this week at a tiny storefront called Oh K-Dog, which just opened on Ludlow Street, the latest foray might actually stick.
This is the first East Coast outpost of the Oh K-Dog chain, and it's run by four locals who met while hanging out on the Lower East Side. One of the owners, Dina Chun, told me that she and her friends had been talking about starting a business before COVID hit, and though the pandemic stalled their plans initially, ironically it became easier to find a doable, short term lease as the year went on. Taking over a former dollar-slice shop right off Stanton Street, Oh K-Dog is well positioned to feed both LES residents, who turned out in surprising numbers in the middle of the afternoon on Tuesday, and Hell Square party tourists whenever that becomes a thing again.
There are two primary parts to the menu here, starting with a dozen varieties of the Korean Rice Hot Dogs, ranging from the most basic (a frank on a stick, fried in a rice flour and panko bread crumb batter) to more extravagant models involving potatoes, and/or mozzarella, and/or squid ink. No matter which one you choose your counter person will offer to roll it in sugar, an invitation I would normally decline but Chun convinced me to try it on my otherwise pretty straightforward Cheddar Hot Dog, just to get the full Oh K-Dog experience. It was very... sweet.
My favorite snack-on-a-stick was the Potato Mozza Dog, the batter studded with salty potato chunks and filled with stringy cheese. The Squid Ink Half and Half (mozzarella up top, hot dog below) was also satisfying, and pretty cute as well, with the frank sliced at the bottom to resemble the octopus emoji. The rice coating on all the dogs is thick, more chewy than crisp, and any one of them would work nicely as a sop either after or in the midst of a night of drinking.
The other, and perhaps even more appealing, category here is the Egg Toasts, fat slabs of buttery brioche sliced about three-quarters of the way down and stuffed with soft scrambled eggs and your choice of such expected companions as bacon, cheese, ham, and/or avocado. You can get one of Oh K-Dog's sauces drizzled on top—I went with the Cheese Mustard on my Bacon and Cheese—and the whole juicy package makes for a worthy addition to NYC's obsessed-over breakfast sandwich canon.
There's no seating of any kind at Oh K-Dog, but the cardboard packaging is cleverly designed to keep things tidy while mobile and, like the best street food, the dishes themselves are sturdily constructed for stress-free, stand-on-the-sidewalk eating. You can also bring your haul two blocks over to the tables on the Allen Street median.
Oh K-Dog is located at 159A Ludlow Street, just south of Stanton Street, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m (ohkdog.com)