Legendary | Worth driving from anywhere
Review by: Michael Stern
The Amazing Ripper
Fans of Rutt’s Hut in Clifton, NJ know the hot dogs served here as rippers because their skin tears and crinkles when they are deep fried. The oil bath makes the pork-and-beef links rugged, dark, and chewy on the outside. And yet, the interior remains soft and juicy. Weenie wimps ask for an “in and outer.” The cooks pluck that one from the fat more quickly. It remains thoroughly pink and plump. Extremists get one well-done. It reminds me of fried pig skin. They call that a cremator.
Combine onions, finely chopped carrots, cabbage, and mystery spices in a mustard-yellow mash. This dense, spicy-sweet condiment puts rippers into hot dog Nirvana. Or, instead of relish, top your dog with chili. Rutt’s Hut makes a chunky mid-Atlantic brew. Clods of ground beef with an occasional bean among it crowd a vividly spicy tomato emulsion. Add crumbled crackers on top and it becomes a very satisfying dish.
Square Meals, Too
Rutt’s Hutt serves hot-lunch meals as well as real drinks in an adjoining tap room with its own separate entrance. Here, amidst wood-panel décor, one quaffs beers or shots and beers. The beers accompany platters of such blue-plate fare as chicken croquettes, stuffed cabbage, and chili by the cup or bowl. The extensive tap room menu includes fried seafood, roasts, steaks, and burgers. Prices are low and the food I have tasted is mighty satisfying.
But if you come to Rutt’s Hut in Clifton, NJ only once, eat hot dogs at a counter. You will have a Roadfood experience to remember. Dine in a wide-open mess hall with high counters at the windows that provide a view of the parking lot. Stand and eat off paper plates, and for entertainment, enjoy the calls of the counter men as they sing out, “Twins, all the way.” They’re asking for a well-dressed pair of rippers.
Hot dog explorers also should visit Blackie’s up in Cheshire, Connecticut. Blackie’s doesn’t call their hot dogs rippers, but they are.
|Meals Served||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner|
|Credit Cards Accepted||No|