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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Burgers and hot dogs all day at Bocado and HD1

The Italian dog at HD1
It was hamburgers and hot dogs for me last Friday. My regular lunch friends and I went to Bocado and my dinner group tried out HD1.

Bocado's burger — a simple double-patty with American cheese — is still my favorite in the city. It's not gunked-up with exotic toppings that obscure, rather than enhance the beef's flavor, as seems to be the new standard. It costs $8.75 at lunch, $12 at dinner. If you want a deal, though, order it on Tuesday night after 5 p.m. and you get draft beer with it.

After the burger, the best sandwich on our table was the prosciutto with brie, arugula, fig jam, pate and sea salt. At $11.25, it was also the most expensive.

Chef Todd Ginsberg continues to be among our city's best chefs despite his relatively low profile.

So, that evening, I headed to HD1 to introduce my friends to Richard Blais' "haute dogs." I've had mixed but mainly positive feelings about this place from the start. Historically, I've not liked hot dogs but do like sausages. This go-round I ordered a conventional (pork and beef) dog with mustard and relish, as well as the Italian sausage with radicchio. To my surprise, I liked the conventional dog a lot more than the Italian, which was served room-temperature and was way-gristly. (This has not been my experience in the past.)

I ordered the bread pudding for dessert. It's hard to complain about a $3, generous serving, but it was way dry. If you order it, I suggest you ask that it be topped with some ice cream, if it's available.

We had some considerable problems with service. A friend received the wrong order twice. He gave up and kept the second try. Despite the confusion, the staff was too nice to hate.

Meanwhile, we're awaiting the opening of The Spence (75 Fifth St.), the new Midtown restaurant that Blais is opening in partnership with Concentrics, which has also become a partner in the operation of Flip Burger Boutique.

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