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Sunday, February 19, 2012
New thing #18: American Coney Dog
I think every town in SE Michigan has at least one Coney Island restaurant. Since I'm from upstate New York, I couldn't figure out why there was so much interest in a faded amusement park town near Brooklyn. I'm guessing it's because Coney Island, NY is famous for 'introducing' the hot dog to the USA. And a staple of every Coney Island restaurant is a coney dog, a natural casing beef hot dog topped with a meaty beanless chili, a strip of yellow mustard and a sprinkle of chopped white onion, served in a warmed steamed bun. These restaurants are also known for great Greek and Mediterranean food, and for serving breakfast all day long. I love Greek food. I love breakfast. So although I've eaten at several different Coney Islands, I've never gotten around to actually trying the coney.
Back in Buffalo, if someone came to visit and wanted to try chicken wings, we'd take them to the Anchor Bar. To try a classic coney, Senior & I went to the place where the Detroit coney originated - American Coney Island. This is a cool little restaurant at the corner of Lafayette & Michigan Avenues in the heart of the city. We got a window seat with a great view and placed an order for two coneys, a small Greek-style salad, and a side of shoestring fries (which we rated a respectable 58 on the Jubie scale, where the highest possible score is, of course, a 69). Our coneys looked just like the picture and were nice and messy to eat. The hot dogs made a satisfying pop when you bit into them. The chili was mildly spicy and heavy on the beefy flavor, almost like a gravy, and subtly flavored by the mustard and onions. It was good, but it would have been better with ketchup. Sorry Michiganders... is that irreverent?