There was, frankly, a lot of excitement surrounding the recent re-opening of East Liberty's Station Street hot doggery. It's the second venue for Salt of the Earth's acclaimed chef Kevin Sousa; it promised exotically dressed dogs; and brought life back to a venue that had been open off and on since 1915.
The basic menu offers eight hot dogs (beef or veggie) from $4-9, and fries ($3-5). Dressed dogs include: chili cheese (with curds), Hawaii (pineapple and bacon), kimchi, sweetbreads and devil (egg salad, Tabasco and potato chips).
I took a leap on the bahn mi dog ($7), which is styled after the Vietnamese sandwich. It was generously dressed with pickled red onion and cucumber, cilantro, sliced jalapeno peppers and pieces of pork liver. For me, the liver was a squishy meat too far, but I loved the bright freshness of the salad toppings. The pickling liquid ate through the toasted bun pretty quick, so this is a messy, multi-napkin dog. But the fries were golden and crisp, holding up well to the drenching of malt vinegar I gave 'em.
Station Street splits the difference between two current dining trends: upscaling fast food and celebrating the authenticity of cheap eats. You can get a fancified dog — or a basic weiner with mustard or ketchup. And while the venue has been brightened up, the space retains its slightly goofy retro vibe — from the late-1960s orange-yellow-brown color scheme to some more recent airbrushed art.
6290 Broad St., East Liberty. 412-365-2121 or www.stationstreetpgh.com. Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Monday through Saturday.