At the northern end of Park Slope, on Bergen Street, just off 6th Avenue, sits the unassuming Bark Hot Dogs. Very plain front. So plain, that during the day, with the neon sign off, it’s easy to walk right past Bark. But don’t get the idea that these are dirty water dogs or some burnt weiner at a backyard BBQ. These are Bark Dogs and they are amazing.
Bark’s mission statement is simple – only use high quality, local, and sustainable ingredients. The meat for the burgers is freshly ground every day. The pickles, relishes, and sauces are made onsite. Each hot dog and hamburger – cutlery cannot live by hotdog alone – is slow cooked to order on the griddle. There is nothing fast about this fast food. The only things not made onsite or for Bark is Heinz Ketchup, French’s Yellow Mustard, and Hellman’s Mayonnaise – some things cannot be perfected.
Keeping with the Local and sustainable ideology of Bark, they use only recycled products in their restaurant and ask customers to recycle when finished eating as well. The interior was designed using reclaimed materials.
Looking through their website, they list all of the local ingredient resources they use – from New York, Heritage Farms for the pork, Hartmann’s Old World Sausage makes private label hot dogs especially for Bark, dairy, fruit and vegetables all from the tri-state area, and let’s not forget the all important Il Laboritorio de Gelato ice cream used in their incredible milkshakes!
Bark is a no nonsense, easy going place. The seating, sadly, is those dreaded high tables and stools, but in this situation, in this place, they work. Up to eight people can eat at each table. There are two tables for two on the side. And, for those who cannot live without being tied into the internet,there is free wi-fi.
You walk up to the counter, stare at the menu hanging on the wall and order. You almost feel like a Lemming – standing, staring, head slightly cocked to one side, in exactly the same stance as all your fellow diners waiting to or trying to decide what to order. It isn’t that ordering is difficult, it’s just seriously difficult to narrow down your choices. You order, get your drinks and sit and wait. After your order is cooked to perfection, it’s brought over to your table by one of Bark’s very friendly staff.
For drinking is soda and beer. The soda is supplied by the wonderful Foxon Park beverage company in Connecticut. If you haven’t tried these sodas, please do, they are really yummy! The flavors are very crisp and clean. The beer is from Sixpoint Craft Ales brewed right in Brooklyn. We didn’t imbibe on this trip – it was a little early even for the most adventurous of cutlery.
Now here is where it becomes fun! The hot dogs are made from a combo of pork shoulder, pork jowl and beef shoulder. They are slowly cooked on the griddle. When they are done, as if they need any help in the taste department, they are brushed one of the house specialties, Bark Seasoning Butter – pork fat that’s smoked and rendered into lard, then whipped with butter and sea salt – cardiac arrest on a brush! The hot dogs are then served on New England style hot dog buns – that is to say, no crust on the sides and slit on the top – which have been toasted and, of course, buttered. For those faint of artery, there are all beef hot dogs and veggie hot dogs as well and they are not brushed with the nectar of the gods.
This trip to Bark was to celebrate Jam Spoon’s birthday. Fork, Shish Kebab Stick and Knork decided Jam Spoon should have an all American birthday celebration.
Knork – being a hot dog purist – ordered the Bark Dog, which is topped with sweet pepper relish, mustard and chopped raw onions. It was gone in seconds so Fork is assuming it was liked. The only remark? It’s a regular sized hot dog for a foot long price. Perhaps it’s pricey, but Fork dares you to find a hot dog this good anywhere else!
Fork ordered a Bacon Cheddar Dog. Already knowing that this meal was not going to be calorie conscious, Fork figured go big or go home. Really, what’s a 20,000 calorie meal between friends!? So what if the tines don’t fit into the jeans anymore! Truthfully, this hot dog was worth every single calorie laden bite. The hot dog was grilled to perfection. The skin crisp from the griddle with that perfect snap you want when you bite into a hot dog. Dripping on top was a wonderful, gooey cheddar cheese sauce made from Grafton Village Cheddar in Vermont. Sprinkled on top of that was braised bacon, crisp, salty, adding another amazing layer of flavor to this wonderful hot dog. And just when you thought the fun was over – chopped, pickled red onions . Look at that hot dog! Is that a beautiful, mouth watering sight or what!?
Now, for some reason Shish Kebab Stick and Jam Spoon ordered Bark Burgers. Why? I don’t know. But from the look of the burgers, the silence that was coming from the two of them, and the blink of an eye way the burgers disappeared, they must have been good. The burgers are made from organic beef from Wrighteous Organics in New York. They are a mixture of beef short ribs, beef top round and pork jowl. After being grilled to perfection, the burger is served on a sesame seed bun with shredded lettuce, chopped Bark dill pickles, Bark bread and butter pickles, red onion and a secret special sauce. Burger King watch out, there is definitely a NEW Whopper in town.
Fries. Did we mention the fries? The basic building block of Bark Fries are the salt and pepper fries. Dark and crispy on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside. Just the right amount of salt and pepper to make these potato perfection. Trust me, if you thought the Golden Arches had good fries, you ain’t had nothing yet. These need to be eaten by greedy handfuls. Bacon is a seriously recurring theme at Bark, and you can have these salt and pepper fries with bacon, like Shish Kebab Skewer did. Same yummy bacon that made an appearance on Fork’s hot dog is crumbled on top of the fries. From there, we had another order taking the fries to yet another level – fries with cheddar AND bacon. Salty, cheesey, bacony, goodness. Can it get better? Well, yes it can and Bark takes fries steps further. First you have gravy fries, same crispy goodness, smothered in a hearty gravy. You have Chili Cheddar Fries, self explanatory. Which, by the way, you can add bacon to either or both of these if you are so inclined. The head of the fry insanity at Bark are the Disco Fries – same thin cut, crispy fries, smothered in gravy AND cheddar cheese. Add bacon to the Disco Fries and you get a side of defibrillator.
There is definitely a trip back to Bark for Fork and Spoon. There’s a Crispy Pork Sandwich on the menu! Bark takes Heritage’s pork shoulder, belly, and jowl and press it into a seriously porky patty and deep fry it to a noisy, crispy perfection. The patty is topped with a crisp slaw and thin rounds of Heirloom hot peppers to give it an extra kick. As if it needs more, it’s then topped with whole-grain mustard and bread-and-butter pickles, and served on a soft seeded bun. There is so much going on here it has to be tried!
There is Brisket Chili and Baked Beans – both made in house each day. Onion rings. And they make breakfast! So many things to still try. They may need to make bigger stools by the time we’re done!
Bark is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner from noon to midnight. Breakfast is served only on the weekend. Friday and Saturday you can get your bark on until 2:ooam.
Bark Hot Dogs ~ 474 Bergen Street ~ Brooklyn, New York ~ 718.789.1939
Filed under: Brooklyn | Tagged: American, Breakfast, Brooklyn, Dinner, Late night, Lunch, Park Slope, Take-Out, Website | 3 Comments »