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Wednesday, July 3,2013

Snoopin' out the Dogg House

By Clay Fong
Photo by Susan France

How strangely fitting that my entrance into Geisty’s Dogg House with my friend Dan was delayed by a leashed-up canine that needed to sniff us out before granting us entry. A quick examination of the dog revealed it to be more friendly pooch than cut-rate Cerberus. Once this would-be hellhound was off our trail, we were able to take in the offerings at this University Hill joint.

Given the name, it’s not surprising Geisty’s serves up a variety of sausages, but it also offers tavern staples like burgers, fries and wings. I suspect this isn’t a first for this kind of place, as Geisty’s also has a full bar, complete with cocktails and pitchers of beer. Around noon, though, things are reasonably quiet in this stripped-down space, and Dan and I had no problem finding a table, and our server quickly took our order.

For $12.50, we started lunch with 10 bone-in chicken wings (boneless are also available), evenly split between those coated in standard strength “Angry Buffalo” sauce and teriyaki. The wings consisted mostly of pleasantly plump drumettes, and the Buffalo poultry rigidly adhered to the classic recipe of vinegary tang and noticeable but not disconcerting heat. My personal favorite was the sweet and salty teriyaki, although it didn’t make for a good match for the expected side of blue cheese dressing.

Next up was a $4 basket of skin-on French fries, which were plenty for the two of us. These medium-gauge spud slices may have benefited from a crisper fried texture, but I was otherwise appreciative of the flavor and light salting. Overall, these were a notch or two above what you’d find in most bars.

Our main events were a pair of sausage sandwiches. Dan went for the $4.75 Hawaii Dogg, a decent-sized Polish sausage garnished with garlic lemon sauce, Hawaiian mustard and a pineapple relish. I’m not exactly sure what makes mustard Hawaiian, except to say that like most things related to tropical islands, it had a mellow profile. This certainly wasn’t a nostril-clearing condiment heavily laced with horseradish. Subtly peppery qualities of the Polish dog itself pleasantly contrasted with the mild sweetness of the fruit garnish.

Sausage fans preferring a more traditionalist tack may favor my choice of the $5.75 Topp Dogg. This consisted of a beer brat accompanied by mustard, kraut, peppers and onions. Compared to the Polish, this brat had a smoother, creamier taste, which made for a balanced counterpoint to the assertive mustard and tangy caraway-perfumed kraut. Given the compelling pungency of the cabbage, the soft onions and peppers contributed more to texture than taste. Lastly, it’s worth noting that the bun tended more toward the soft type one usually finds with a straight-up hot dog versus, say, a hard roll. This bread was fresh with some light chewiness.

Prices and the menu firmly establish Geisty’s as an archetypical student hangout, and it ably succeeds in this role. While the offerings here don’t break any new culinary ground, one quickly realizes that’s well beside the point here. Eating a specialty sausage sandwich here is akin to enjoying a similar meal at a cool friend’s well-appointed cookout, and there’s nothing at all wrong with that.

Geisty's Dogg House is located at 1116 13th St., Boulder. Call 303-402-5000.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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