As every Jersey boy and girl knows, that lovely word 'Fuhgedaboudit!' may have multiple meanings ranging from righteous respect to righteous rancor. "Angelina Jolie? What a babe! Fuhgedaboudit!" Or "The New York Jets? The Super Bowl? Fuhgedaboudit!" Unfortunately for Rutt's Hut, in our opinion, if you're looking for great hot dogs, as they say in the more refined areas of Jersey, "Do kindly, and by all means, fuhgedaboudit!"
Prompted by a Food Channel special that rated Rutt's as one of the ten best doggeries in America, with great expectations, we drove 50 minutes to Clifton so we might enter the 'holy temple of hot dogs" as it's been called. 'So let me tell you somethin', pal. If this here place is a holy temple, then count me in as an atheist.'
We ordered our first pair of dogs done 'medium' as was suggested by a food critic. Blech! The pinkish, unappetizing looking sausages we received appeared to us as if they might be more at home in a jar of formaldehyde than in the pedestrian hot dog buns that reluctantly wrapped them. Fortunately, being damned near tasteless save for the cooking oil used to fry them, they tasted less bad than they looked. The much touted Rutt's Hut mustard relish was, to our palates, a dreadful concoction easily bettered by many right-out-of-the-jar store bought items. But onward we forged. We ordered our next pair of dogs 'well done', and though a significant improvement, I'd never recommend them to anyone. The Rutt's onion rings were okay, and definitely a cut above the usual frozen rings you'd expect in a diner. But had this been the 50's. I could have poured the grease remaining on my plate into my hair, and fashioned one helluva of a permanent pompadour.
Rutt's is not remotely in the same league as Pink's in LA or any of the better Chicago doggeries, or even Poochies in Skokie. So here's some advice: You want a great hot dog?' Go to Wegmans, get yourself some Niman Ranch 'Fearless' beef franks, grill them up and serve one centered lovingly in a Martin's Potato Hot Dog Roll toasted gently on only one side. Dress it with a stripe of plain old deli mustard, and prepare to purr when you take that first bite. And for onion rings? Wasn't that what Tony Soprano was eating when it all went black? Fuhgedaboudit!
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