Samson's Gourmet, the Latest Addition to Dallas' Hot Dog Scene, Is Open on Oak Lawn

Dallas is not a hot dog city. This is evidenced by the lack of hot dog carts patrolling streets downtown. Sure, there are a few hot dog shops scattered around, but the tube-steak is in no way a significant contributor to the local culinary culture.

There is, however, a surge in hot dog restaurants that are hoping Dallas will eventually become a hot dog city. Wild About Harry's, Dog Stop, and Chicago Hot Dog have been around for years while Jerry's Wood Fired Dogs in East Dallas is a relative newcomer. The Stand and Bowery gave it their best in Uptown but neither lasted. Both closed shortly after opening.

And now Samson's Gourmet Hot Dogs is giving the hot dog game a go on Oak Lawn Avenue. They opened about a month ago promising elevated links on custom baked buns, with a topping display that mimics Chipotle.

The comparison is accurate. You walk in, pick a frank (all beef, beef and pork, bratwurst, and more) pick your toppings from an endless selection of stainless steel serving pans just behind the counter. There are onions shaved raw and onions cooked down to a pulp and there are multiple krauts and spicy chili. There are toppings that might surprise you (like avocado, cucumbers and feta cheese) and there are toppings that may frighten you (like truffle oil).

All of this is tucked into a very small bun baked by Empire Bakery, which can only be described as lacking. The bread itself is delicious but it's not nearly long enough to cradle the 9-inch hotdogs served at Samson's, and not deep enough to handle whatever you've decided to have the guy behind the counter heap on your dog. You end up with an inch and a half of hot dog hanging out either end, with a topping tsunami overwhelming the middle.

The dogs themselves are decent -- Kuby's makes them to spec for the hot dog shop -- but the abuses they endure once they arrive are less than appetizing. The links sit in a shallow bath of hot water till you order. Then they're tossed in an oven and heated with the bun. When the oven torture is complete, toppings run from decent to dismal. The chili is a fine enough combination of meat and heat, but the guacamole was so oxidized it was black, and a few other toppings look less than fresh. It's not exactly the material of the next hot dog revolution.

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