F, M, R at Fourth Ave.-9th St.
15th St. to Lincoln Pl., Prospect Park West to Fourth Ave.
This venue is closed.
This cheerfully idiosyncratic Brooklyn arrival, is by far the most ambitious entry to a crowded wiener market, its menu a sociological study of the appetites and apprehensions of the modern eater, Park Slope genus. They’re a skittish bunch, those Michael Pollan–reading, Co-op-shopping Slopies, and Willie’s menu caters to all their ecogastronomic neuroses. There is a tofu dog, a turkey-and-chicken dog, and even, most profanely, a carrot dog—yes, a whole carrot, boiled and marinated and griddled, topped with avocado and Cheddar cheese. Willie’s might be the only East Coast purveyor of Let’s Be Frank, the San Francisco haute dog made from all-natural, grass-fed beef pastured on the Hearst Ranch. It’s brownish and spicy, with a dense, grainy texture more reminiscent of a finely ground meatball than a hot dog. One step down on the hot-dog chain is Willie’s “Pedigree” dog, a thicker, skinless tubesteak with the familiar pink hue and frank flavor. Evolved eaters as we thought we were, we have to admit that our favorite Willie’s dog is the “Mutt”—an all-beef Karl Ehmer with a natural casing and a good snap—and our favorite way to eat it, despite the range of toppings (like Swiss cheese and bacon), is with a swipe of mustard, of which there about a dozen obscure varieties to choose from. Willie’s, which promotes local dog-rescue organizations and animal adoptions, gets points for effort (not to mention excellent onion rings and bake-sale-style desserts), but house-baked buns are better in theory than in practice: They dwarf the dogs, and never quite coalesce with them. Still, Willie’s has a lot of heart and a mighty Mutt.Ideal Meal
Plain “Mutt” with mustard on a challah roll or Mutto de Mayo (with Cheddar, cilantro, onion, tomato, tortilla-chip “dust,” and chipotle mayo), onion rings.