Tacos & Hot Dogs at New York Hotdog & Coffee – NYC
Korean tacos were the craze last year because of the Kogi truck in L.A., but if you’re looking for Korean-Mexican fusion in New York, don’t go looking for it at New York Hotdog & Coffee on Bleecker, the first American outpost of the fast food chain in Korea. The tacos there are more of a Korean person’s loose interpretation of Mexican food with Korean ingredients, but it’s still tasty, and a great spot if you’re babysitting or happen to be drunk.
The Spicy Bulgogi Taco ($2.25), bulgogi (불고기, thinly sliced barbecued beef) and onions drizzled with hot sauce on a soft flour tortilla, was pretty good. The bulgogi was of the Korean fast-food variety, but was juicier than expected. I still rather have my bulgogi wrapped in a perilla leaf with a dab of ssamjang (쌈장, spicy bean paste), but if I were with picky kids or people squeamish about Korean food, I could see this being a safe alternative.
The Dak-Kalbi Taco ($2.25), dak-galbi (닭갈비, spicy barbecued chicken) and onions on a soft flour tortilla, was less successful. The dak-galbi was hardly spicy and the sauce way too sweet. If you must have a taco, skip the Dak-Kalbi Taco and order two of the Spicy Bulgogi Tacos.
Another option is one of the many hot dogs New York Hotdog & Coffee became popular for before everyone went gaga over Korean tacos. I ordered the Kimchi Bulgogi Hotdog ($6.50), an all beef hot dog (spicy beef, soy, and chicken are also available) cradled next to a fan of Korean red curl lettuce (상추, sangchu) and topped with bulgogi and kimchi on a toasted bun. The hot dog was indeed pretty, as is everything at New York Hotdog & Coffee (the people who work there have an eye for presentation, remarkable for a fast food restaurant in the States), but I don’t think bulgogi was necessary. There’s a reason I don’t stick hot dogs in my hamburgers or eat hot dogs on top of steaks, it just doesn’t go. Sometimes, two meats aren’t better than one. Perhaps a bulgogi sausage would have been more interesting. The kimchi, however, I liked. I like kimchi on my hot dogs. (Call me crazy, but it’s delicious on pizza too.) I really miss the kimchi hot dog cart that used to be on Ludlow Street. After drinks, it used to be my go-to late night snack. Which brings up a point, you’d probably enjoy the food at New York Hotdog & Coffee more after you’ve had a few drinks. It’s that kind of food. New York Hotdog & Coffee closes at midnight Fridays and Saturdays, but if they stayed open later, I’m sure they would get a good share of stumbling obnoxious drunks.
The fries were really good though, sober or not. Although the Spicy Fries ($2.49 for a small) weren’t spicy at all, the hot oven-baked fries were crunchy with crackly little bits on the outside and soft on the inside.
The food at New York Hotdog & Coffee isn’t gourmet, or even real fusion, but it’s cheap and enjoyable in a trashy fast-food type of way. Not sure if I’ll ever be babysitting, but after a drink or two, I could see myself going back; never stumbling or obnoxious of course.
New York Hotdog & Coffee
245 Bleecker Street (betw Cornelia & Carmine St.; map)
New York, NY 10014
~OH LORD THE BULGOGIS DOG! What i realized is that this makes an insanely cheap meal if you have rice from elsewhere since the amount of meat is sufficient for a meal. 🙂 being cheap since 1988.
Interesting semi-fusion. Maybe you can suggest some ideas to the owner. How about ssamjang with the fries?
Those are oven baked fries!?? lol They looked fried!! -=D I love me some crunchy fries !
@Nicholas – Do you travel with rice?! OMG, too funny.
@someguy – Ssamjang with fries! Oh noes….
@wonders – I know, I kept thinking that myself. They were SO GOOD for baked.
Wow that spicy bulgogi taco looks yummy! Very interesting blend of cultures in the food.
You mean you don’t? LOL no, my friends and I had just gotten Chinese before I made them go, so we had a couple containers of rice. It’s like a bento on the go.
you new yorkers’ food couldnt get more complicated.but i love it.
@Patty – It was, the bulgogi taco was the best.
@Nicholas – You have good friends!
@uken – Missed you last time you were here, hope to see you next time to eat some “complicated food” together!
The bulgogi tacos are pretty damn good. I felt the hot dog had too much on it as well.
@Abdul – Did you get the fries? Fries are so good.
Personally, I prefer Coney Island hot dogs, Detroit style. They’re the best!