Let me state upfront: I am from Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, because of the state's strong German heritage, we take our sausages seriously. No withered wiener shall pass by my lips, no boring bratwurst nor heinous hot dog...a substandard sausage is simply shameful. Therefore, it was with some reserve that I went to Seattle's Po Dog, a restaurant that specializes in the goofy and gourmet glorification of the humble hot dog. I will now stop my alliteration so you can continue reading this without wanting to strangle me.

I made two trips across Lake Washington to Po Dog's U-District location -- the first around 9PM and the second mid-afternoon the next day -- so I could get a better sampling of the menu. However experienced or inexperienced you may be with ingesting wieners, you can appreciate that Po Dog is ready to help you broaden your world-view on what can be done with a dog. First, choose your meat: 100% beef Kosher dog, Field Roast Veggie dog, brat, kielbasa, or Chicken-Apple sausage. You may mix-and-match preps and toppings or go with one of the signature items from the very intriguing menu.

The drink selection is also nifty. We ended up with a Manny's draft beer, a Diet Coke, a Jarritos soda, and the superior Mexican Coke.

The two orders of shoestring fries arrived first. OH MAN. Talk about addictive! There's no doubt -- these are the best fries I have had in a long time: hot, crispy, salty, just the right amount of grease, with a fresh potato flavor. To make them even more delicious, they arrived with a sampler of three dippers: homemade Chipotle ketchup, homemade spicy lemon aioli, and wasabi aioli, all excellent. The fries were consumed rather quickly.

While waiting for the dogs, I spied Po Dog's signature t-shirts, which read "I <3 WIENERS." Sadly, I was discouraged from buying one. Bah.


The Dub-T Dog, which is "creamy cheese sauce, crushed potato chips, topped with ketchup and mustard." Fries added by hand by MissEight for artistic flair.

The day's special, the Chili Dog, with chili, onions, shredded cheese, creamy cheese sauce, and sour cream.

And...hold on to your lederhosen, my Wisconsin pals...the PB Dog, with peanut butter, sliced banana, and chopped nuts!

The verdicts?

Meat: The Hebrew National hot dogs were excellent, juicy with lots of perfectly-balanced flavor, the veggie dog was rich and tasty, but the brat was a bit boiled-bland, sort of like a Johnsonville bockwurst.

Buns: Soft and smooshy, with a slightly-sweet taste, very fresh.

Toppings: The Dub-T is a great traditional combo, and the crushed chips a great compliment to the dog. The Chili Dog was hearty and satisfying, not overly spicy. The PB Dog was just a tiny bit weird at first, but ultimately totally yum. If you like peanut butter-and-bacon sammiches or Elvis, you'll be good with this one. The only complaint I had with it was that the peanut butter was so thick that it took awhile to actually eat. It was a slowwwwww dog.

So now I'm sitting here writing this and TOTALLY wanting to go back RIGHT NOW and try another dog combo (not to mention those FRIES), so that tells you something: I really liked Po Dog. Fun, fresh, different, cool, open super late, with a friendly staff. They made my face smile and my stomach happy. Po Dog gets my Official Wisconsin Native Sausage Stamp Of Approval, which comes with free polka lessons! You lucky devils.

tel. 206-325-6055

Hours: M-Th - 11AM to midnight; F-Sa - 11AM to 2:30AM; Sun 11AM to 10PM

UPDATE 3/30/12: Po Dog's U-District location is now closed, but a new Po Dog has opened in Ballard!

Capitol Hill: 1009 E. Union St., Seattle WA 98122
Ballard: 2014 NW Market St