Food & Drink

Fast Food Review: Quizno’s Attempts a Chili Dog.



Quizno’s likes to present themselves as a fancier, more “artisanal” version of Subway, with toasted, flavorful bread, less-processed meat, and sometimes even premium ingredients like lobster (that actually tastes quite good).

So what’s the newest thing they’re testing? Hot dogs. Called “Q-Dogs,” because everyone wants their swiftly made meat snack to sound like a rapper.

Sure, you can go fancy with a hot dog. Jody Maroni’s does, and I love them for it. But let me put it this way: when I’m in the mood for nachos, I’m not looking for blue-corn chips with cottage cheese and chives. And when I’m looking for a chili dog, I don’t want it on a full-sized baguette with soup poured on top. Chili dogs need to a be a bit lowbrow. And they need to also start with a hot dog bun.

Hot dog buns can be fancy, if you like, but their main purpose is to hold ingredients together. If you’re lucky enough, the heat and the gloppy toppings of a truly great dog will liquefy the interior of your bun to create an added bread sauce of sorts, without going all the way to the outside and letting everything fall apart.

If you’re not lucky, you get bread intended for sub sandwiches, and they split the sausage in half, laying the halves side by side, to make it look like it’s an adequate filling for a roll that wide. The cheese is a couple slices of sandwich cut cheese. The chili is the version they serve as a soup – liquid with chunks, rather than the greasy paste-style that a dog (and nothing else) requires for junky transcendence.

The sausage is a thick Hebrew National, so it’s decent. I’d rather the Q got fancy and made their own “artisanal” sausage, but maybe if this idea takes off they will. Yellow mustard is yellow mustard and hard to fuck with. The sauteed onions are the kind they put on their prime rib sandwiches, and probably the best ingredient of the lot.

Here’s what you taste when you bite into this thing: a little bit of mustard, a whole lot of bread, a dawg-like texture, and a few stray kidney beans. Cheese? Fuhgeddaboutit. It’s there, but it lost the flavor fight.

A bacon and ranch dog is also available, as is a Chicago dog with tomatoes, pickles and peppers. A Philly cheesteak-style dog is advertised on some posters but crossed out on others. And supposedly you can make your own with whatever Quizno’s ingredients you like, which is where it could get interesting if you really load the thing up (blue cheese and lobster salad dog with avocado, anyone?).

But you still have to pick a sandwich bread. Making this inherently inferior to Wienerschnitzel’s pastrami dog on a pretzel bun, which is the grease bomb you really deserve. Since the end effect on your colon is the same in both instances – The More you Know! – you might as well enjoy the taste properly.

Not every Quizno’s is trying the hot dog adventure, so call first to be sure if you want to try and create your own, which seems like the only way to go with this. And let me know what you came up with – or would come up with – in comments below.

Subway, the ball is in your court. I know you can go lower-brow than this.