As plump Polish sausages sizzle on the grill, the counter man dips a ladle into the fryolator to get some hot fat to pour over the grilling tube steaks. The grease helps give them a blackened, crisp skin; it also produces a look of glistening, sinfully swollen avoirdupois. These are some of the most cumbrous Polish sausages in a city where Polish sausages, along with their all-beef brothers, hot dogs, are matters of serious culinary consideration. If you are a Polish sausage fanatic, it isn’t likely you will be blasé about the big, charred tubes they serve up at Byron’s Dog Haus; you will love them or hate them.
The hot dogs are less outlandish; we recommend them to all who appreciate a substantial, all-beef frank. They are Vienna brand, steeped to plump succulence, with a faint crackle as you sink your teeth into them. Sadly, the buns are a bore – small, plain (no poppy seeds), forked straight from their plastic-wrapped container (not well-warmed).
On the other hand, Byron’s condiments are fine: eleven different toppings that include strips of green pepper, cucumber discs, piccalilli, squeeze-on yellow mustard, onions, sport peppers (hot!), and whole tomatoes that happen to have been cut into slices. Yes, there resting atop your hot dog and all its other condiments is one tomato, not quite still round, because it has been cut into slices; but because the slices don’t go all the way through, it stays in one piece … until you try to eat the dog, at which time everything falls into a splendid mess. The tomato is customarily gilded with a sprinkle of celery salt.
Alongside this good frankfurter, you want French fries. They are skinny and crisp – a suitable spuddy companion to the highly-seasoned sausages that are this restaurant’s specialty. Unless you really love French fries, one order is plenty for two.
There is a second Byron’s at 1701 Lawrence Ave., Chicago, IL. 773-271-0900.