Dude Food: Eatzi's

3403 Oak Lawn Ave.

Dude Factor: 5, or Thurston Howell, III, on a scale of 1 ("Carlton Banks") to 10 ("Jed Clampett")

From the moment the Observer first moved to Maple and Oak Lawn in 2005, lunch runs to Eatzi's became a frequent occurrence around here, but honestly, this dude never understood it.

"Is this a weird restaurant or a shitty grocery store?" I thought to myself. "Where is the menu? Where can I find the Totino's pizza rolls? Why are all these rich people here? Why are all the parking spaces so damn small?"

Sure, the sandwich, salad and grill lines seemed cut and dried enough, but if you didn't want a sandwich, salad or $10 rotisserie chicken meal for lunch, you were relegated to the hinterlands...where I'd generally wonder among the refrigerator cases, snatching free samples and spacing out until I finally decided on something that was invariably disappointing.

Those coconut chicken tenders and Kobe beef sliders might look great sitting there in the deli case, but give them 45 seconds in a bombed-out office microwave and you'll soon wonder why you handed over a 10 spot for the experience.

Recently, however, I noticed some promising additions to the Eatzi's grill menu--namely, "a rolled house burger made with fresh ground tenderloin" and "an authentic Hoffman hot dog served on our house made pan au lait hot dog bun."

Obviously, I had to bro up and investigate.

My associate and I arrived to find an appalling lack of the free Ba-Da-Bing sauce samples that usually constitute half of any Eatzi's lunch. But we pressed on, with my broham going for the hamburger as I defiantly ordered the hot dog--keeping one eye firmly fixed on the chef to make sure he didn't cover it in Grey Poupon or some other bullshit blueblood condiment.

Both were pleasant surprises, with the half-pound burger (topped with pepper jack) impressing a frequent Angry Dog diner and my natural casing hot dog--which despite obvious grill marks showed a doubly disturbing pinkness--asserting itself as one of Dallas' finest wiener offerings. The house made potato chips were also a hit, though the strange seasoning eluded easy classification.

I can tell you authoritatively there was something in there that wasn't salt, pepper, red pepper, garlic salt or Doritos Nacho cheese powder, though.

For $3.99 and $5.99 respectively, you can't really go wrong, unless you scratch some tool's Lexus on the way out or something. And for a dog this good, I'll take that chance.